Season-opening NFL primetime TV ratings more than double CFL’s in same week

Photo: David Mahussier/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

That’s the National Football League’s music: the NFL opened its 2022 season with a hard beat drop on the Canadian Football League.

There was lots of hype leading into Week 1 of the NFL regular season and the inimitable machine produced high-end television ratings in Canada, especially compared to the CFL.

The Buffalo Bills, betting favourites to win Super Bowl LVII, kicked off the season on Thursday, Sept. 8 in Los Angeles with an impressive 31-10 win over the defending champion Rams.

Franchise quarterback Josh Allen was spectacular while totalling 353 offensive yards and four touchdowns to lead his Bills to a 1-0 start. Allen helped attract 960,100 average viewers on TSN and CTV 2, which was the highest-rated game of the season-opening week.

Courtesy: AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Sunday Night Football featured Tom Brady directing Tampa Bay to a rather uneventful victory against the Cowboys in Dallas. There was only one touchdown scored — Brady to Mike Evans — in a 19-3 final in favour of the Buccaneers that drew an audience of 956,200 on TSN.

Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle resulted in a 17-16 loss for his Broncos as the Seahawks pulled off a stunning upset at home. Brandon McManus missed a 64-yard field goal that could have given Wilson the result he was looking for. The tight game had 765,600 people tuned in on TSN and CTV 2.

Week 1 NFL primetime games averaged 890,966 viewers across Canada.

All three standalone NFL matchups outrated every CFL game in Week 14 on TSN, including the Banjo Bowl. The Blue Bombers beat up on an undermanned Roughriders team that had a stomach flu running through both ends of the players in green and white. Winnipeg won 54-20 in front of a sold-out crowd at IG Field in the Manitoba capital.

The rivals saved the CFL from potentially posting its second sub-400,000 average TV audience week of the season. Some people joke about it being the prairie football league, but that statement is proving true more and more as other Canadian teams continue to experience ratings drop-offs.

The Blue Jays took the top spot for sports viewership over the weekend, recording over one million onlookers both Saturday and Sunday as the team moves closer to securing an MLB playoff spot.

2022 Week 14 TV ratings:

B.C. at Montreal — 386,100

Toronto at Ottawa — 261,500
Saskatchewan at Winnipeg — 656,500
Calgary at Edmonton — 433,700

Total Week 14 average: 434,450

(These numbers do not include viewership from RDS, TSN’s French-language affiliate, which has averaged approximately 200,000 viewers for Alouettes games in 2022.)

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.