Riders overtime win in Labour Day Classic helps CFL record highest average TV ratings week since before pandemic

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The first-ever overtime game in Labour Day Classic history helped the Canadian Football League record its highest regular-season single-game television rating since the 2021 edition and boosted the league to a pre-pandemic television level.

Nearly one million average viewers watched the Roughriders upset the rival Blue Bombers 32-30 in OT. Winnipeg was trying for its unprecedented third straight win on the September holiday weekend, but it was not to be. The Bombers beat the Riders 23-8 during the pandemic-shortened season with 979,700 tuned in.

The CFL produced its best average ratings week since before COVID. That’s impressive considering the perceived amount of cord-cutting going on. The league has had a definite uptick on TSN and RDS this season with the stretch drive towards the Grey Cup playoffs to come.

The Argonauts’ domination of the Tiger-Cats was the lowest-rated game, but it held up decently considering head-to-head competition with the Blue Jays. Canada’s Major League Baseball team drew 775,100 for Toronto’s 6-5 extra-innings win against the Oakland Athletics.

There were 195,800 who watched the Jays in the 25-54 age demographic. The CFL had two games with better numbers in that category during Week 13: WPG-SSK 326,000; EDM-CGY 219,900; B.C.-MTL 181,300; TOR-HAM 161,000.

2023 Week 13 TV ratings:

B.C. at Montreal — TSN 457,300 and RDS 173,800 for 631,100 total

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan — 975,000

Toronto at Hamilton — 466,600

Edmonton at Calgary — 628,800

Total Week 13 average: 631,925 (French included: 675,375)

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