Chris Jones’ return to Regina helps CFL television ratings record mini bounce back in Week 15

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The man in black returned to Riderville in Week 15 and it helped the CFL produce a mini television ratings bounce back.

Chris Jones had not coached in a game at Mosaic Stadium since leaving the Saskatchewan Roughriders for a job with the Cleveland Browns in January 2019. He guided his Edmonton Elks to a 26-24 comeback win over the Riders as fans booed Cody Fajardo and the offence in the loss. That was the top-rated CFL game on the slate, even with Winnipeg travelling to Hamilton in a matchup of teams who have competed in the last two Grey Cups.

Tiger-Cats quarterback Dane Evans was spectacular throwing for 327 yards and a single-game career-high five touchdowns without being intercepted in an impressive 48-31 victory. However, the TV audience fell short of expectations with less than 400,000 average viewers tuning in. The Ticats and Blue Bombers’ meeting was the first part of a doubleheader on TSN.

The Lions and Stampeders came together for a highly entertaining 31-29 overtime game which ended in favour of B.C. in Vernon Adams Jr.’s first start with the team. There was never more than one score separating the opponents on the scoreboard and it was decided on a failed two-point convert. The outcome being within doubt added to the intrigue and held viewers throughout, with the final number checking in at over 500,000.

The NFL’s hype train lost some momentum after posting an average of 890,966 viewers in Canada for the primetime games in Week 1; the four standalone contests in Week 2 averaged 645,500.

Thursday Night Football featuring the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs netted 866,100 on TSN and CTV2. Sunday Night Football between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers recorded 755,500 on TSN and CTV2, while the earlier Monday Night Football start had the Tennessee Titans in Buffalo to take on the Bills and got 580,400 on TSN. The later kickoff between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles drew 380,000 on TSN.

The Blue Jays won the ratings battle on the weekend, averaging over 1.1 million viewers on Sportsnet for hosting the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday (1,118,100) and Sunday (1,231,300).

Through the competition, the CFL was able to add over 55,000 to their tally compared to Week 14 and the opening slate of the NFL season.

2022 Week 15 TV ratings:

Edmonton at Saskatchewan — 565,400

Winnipeg at Hamilton — 385,700
B.C. at Calgary — 519,300

Total Week 15 average: 490,133

(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.