New heights: Week 6 thrillers help CFL set multi-year regular season TV ratings high

Courtesy: Calgary Stampeders

The Canadian Football League has set a new multi-year television ratings mark for a slate of regular season games.

Each matchup in Week 6 averaged 62.5 points with 251 scored combined. Three games featured thrilling finishes in the fourth quarter or overtime. It was the highest-rated week on television dating back to Week 2 of the pandemic-shortened 2021 season.

Argonauts’ quarterback Chad Kelly threw a touchdown pass with less than two minutes left to lift Toronto over Montreal 35-27. Redblacks’ rookie Dustin Crum scored a walk-off touchdown to cap an improbable 19-point fourth-quarter comeback versus Winnipeg 31-28. Veteran kicker Rene Paredes hit a 50-yard field goal on the final play in a 33-31 win at Mosaic Stadium.

The Stampeders last-second win over the Roughriders produced the highest-rated English language broadcast so far in 2023. What was most notable was the game pulled in more people in the 25-54 age demographic (230,900) compared to the Blue Jays (228,700) on the same day.

The Major League Baseball All-Star break made for wide-open Thursday sports viewing and the CFL took advantage with the Tiger-Cats and Elks drew nearly 600,000 eyeballs despite the 9 p.m. eastern time kickoff. The Jays returned to action on Friday night and produced 1,050,700 viewers for Sportsnet. The Argos went head-to-head against Canada’s only MLB team and did reasonably well. The Blue Birds had 859,000 onlookers on Saturday afternoon and that game finished in time for Crum to take centre stage on Canadian television.

The three-down league has seen a 46 percent increase in its average weekly English TV ratings from Week 1 to Week 6 and a 41 percent jump with French included.

2023 Week 6 TV ratings:

Thursday
Hamilton at Edmonton — 578,800

Friday
Toronto at Montreal — TSN 480,200 and RDS 169,900 (650,100 total)

Saturday
Winnipeg at Ottawa — 490,800
Calgary at Saskatchewan — 721,600

Total Week 6 average: 567,850 (French included: 610,325)

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