Friday night lights: Bombers-Riders early-season meeting produces large CFL TV ratings on TSN

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers/CFL

It’s not often the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders play before Labour Day in Regina, but the television results make a compelling case for more early-season matchups between the rival clubs.

Zach Collaros and Trevor Harris combined to throw for 706 yards and five touchdowns while leading aerial assaults that helped put 72 points on the board. It was Winnipeg who won the showdown between prairie foes by a score of 45-27, which was highlighted by one of the best returns in CFL history from Janarion Grant.

Over 690,000 average viewers tuned in to once again show the strength of the CFL lies in Manitoba and Rider Nation. The entertaining contest was featured on TSN with competition from Sportsnet’s Toronto Blue Jays broadcast.

That strong number reinforces the probability for either the Bombers or Riders to draw over 500,000 each time those teams touch the Canadian field — regardless of the opponent. Other franchises in the three-down league need to step it up.

The Stampeders’ trip to the nation’s capital on Thursday night resulted in a disappointing number, especially considering the Blue Jays played a day game which left the evening viewing wide open for the CFL.

With the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Final finished, there was less heavy competition for eyeballs in Week 2. Although, the U.S. Open at The Los Angeles Country Club provided an intriguing prime-time weekend viewing option. Wyndham Clark beat Rory Mcllroy by one shot to win his first major. The tournament produced 263,800 average viewers on Saturday and 426,800 Sunday on TSN and CTV2 with the viewing window beginning at 1 p.m. ET and ending after 10 p.m. ET each night.

2023 Week 2 TV ratings:

Calgary at Ottawa — 273,000

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan — 690,600

Edmonton at B.C. — 529,000

Hamilton at Toronto — 264,000

Total Week 2 average: 439,150

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