If you thought there was intrigue in Chris Jones’ first return to Riderville, the sequel did even better.
During the same week in the CFL schedule last year, Jones travelled to Regina for the first time since leaving the Roughriders for an NFL job. Last year Jones’ Elks won 26-24 and this season his green and gold team earned a 36-27 victory. The ratings on TSN went up by 15 percent year-over-year.
Perhaps Canadian quarterback Tre Ford played a role in the increase in viewership. TV viewership increased for games featuring Nathan Rourke in 2022 and the three-down league has seen a boost since Ford was named Edmonton’s starter. Saskatchewan’s lights-out game led the way for the week in the 25-54 age demographic: EDM-SSK 197,200; TOR-MTL 143,800; OTT-B.C. 119,800 and WPG-HAM 110,800.
The Elks and Riders matchup was the second game of a doubleheader and did not have to compete with the Blue Jays who brought in 794,200 average viewers Friday night for Sportsnet. First pitch for the Jays went at 3:07 p.m. ET on Saturday, overlapping with the Hall of Fame game, as 1,130,800 watched Toronto win 4-3 in 13 innings over American League East Division rival Boston.
Sunday Night Football between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots drew 865,500 on TSN. That’s over an 11 percent increase from the Week 1 SNF game featuring the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Perhaps the NFL kicking off its season has impacted Canadian fans’ appetite for football as the CFL’s numbers have decreased for two straight weeks.
2023 Week 15 TV ratings:
Toronto at Montreal — TSN 372,300 and RDS 207,000 for 579,300 total
Edmonton at Saskatchewan — 653,100
Winnipeg at Hamilton — 410,600
Ottawa at B.C. — 397,700
Total Week 15 average: 458,425 (French included: 510,175)