Roughriders upset win over B.C. Lions produces largest CFL single-game TV rating in 2023

Photo courtesy: Liam Richards/Electric Umbrella/Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders pulling off a stunner in primetime on a sweet Sunday night at Mosaic Stadium caught the attention of Rider Nation and CFL fans across the country.

It was a highly entertaining tilt that included a late surge from the visiting B.C. Lions, though the Green and White did enough to secure an upset win. The matchup featured 63 points, 783 net offensive yards, and six passing touchdowns, one of which was a catch-of-the-year candidate by Canadian target Sam Emilus.

Over 750,000 average viewers tuned in on television, which made the game the highest-rated contest of the 2023 season to date. It was the fifth time a CFL broadcast crested the 700,000 mark this year.

1) Week 11, B.C. at Saskatchewan — TSN 756,700
2) Week 4, Winnipeg at Montreal — TSN+RDS 735,000 total
3) Week 6, Calgary at Saskatchewan — TSN 721,600
4) Week 10, Saskatchewan at Montreal — TSN+RDS 705,300 total
5) Week 5, Montreal at B.C. — TSN+RDS 704,500 total

The Riders and Alouettes have been involved in three of the top five rated games with the Lions in two, and the Blue Bombers and Stampeders in one. Saskatchewan has set the standard for TV ratings for the last number of seasons, but what stands out most is the Als’ ability to draw large audiences.

The Alouettes and Redblacks competed with the Blue Jays on Saturday night as Canada’s only Major League Baseball team edged all-star Elly De La Cruz and the Cincinnati Reds 4-3. The first pitch of that game flew at 6:40 p.m. eastern time while kickoff in Ottawa was shortly after 7 p.m.

The Jays recorded 912,700 average viewers with 257,200 in the 25-54 age demographic. The three-down league had all of its games surpass six-figures in the same category this past week: B.C. vs. Saskatchewan, 238,100; Montreal vs. Ottawa, 183,800; Winnipeg vs. Calgary, 159,100; and Edmonton vs. Hamilton, 103,900.

It’s important to note that the 90-minute halftime storm delay at Tim Hortons Field surely lowered the Elks and Tiger-Cats’ average TV rating on TSN.

2023 Week 11 TV ratings:

Edmonton at Hamilton — 337,600

Winnipeg at Calgary — 558,500

Montreal at Ottawa — 347,200 TSN and 206,600 RDS for 553,800 total

B.C. at Saskatchewan — 756,700

Total Week 11 average: 500,000 (French included: 551,650)

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