Nathan Rourke’s return attracts attention as CFL television ratings dip in final week of 2022 regular season

Photo courtesy: B.C. Lions

The 2022 CFL regular season ended on a low note on television, with an average of just 320,475 viewers tuning in for four meaningless contests in Week 21.

With no playoff spots on the line and home-field advantage already determined, the largest game ratings-wise was unsurprisingly Nathan Rourke’s return to action following Lisfranc surgery. 411,800 fans spent their Friday night watching as the B.C. Lions’ Canadian quarterbacking sensation played just over a quarter in a loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, finishing 7-of-11 passing for 68 yards.

Saturday’s triple-header had lacked intrigue, with less than 200,000 fans bothering to watch the battle of backup quarterbacks in the early game between Toronto and Montreal. Viewership exceeded 300,000 for the clash between the Ticats and Redblacks and the regular season finale between Calgary and Saskatchewan. The Riders, usual rating juggernauts, underperformed as fans ignored the conclusion to a lost season.

NFL ratings continue to perform across Canada with Thursday Night Football between the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers drawing 706,700 on TSN and CTV2 combined.

Sunday morning football from London, England grabbed 243,000 onlookers on TSN and 210,000 on CTV despite the early start. The 1 p.m. ET NFL kick-offs on CTV had 471,300 average viewers while the 4 p.m. window notched 593,900. There were 280,500 who watched the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers on TSN.

Sunday Night Football was the featured event of the week in Canada, as 1,101,100 watched the Buffalo Bills defeat the Green Bay Packers on TSN. Monday Night Football between the Bengals and Browns drew 498,500 on the three-letter network.

The CFL will expect a ratings boost when the playoffs kick off on Sunday, bringing them head-to-head with the NFL mid-day slate. However, the regular season exited with a whimper, averaging less than 3,000 more viewers than the worst week of the season.

2022 Week 21 TV ratings:

BC at Winnipeg — 411,800

Montreal at Toronto — 191,300
Hamilton at Ottawa — 319,300
Saskatchewan at Calgary — 359,500

Total Week 21 average: 320,475

(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.