Tuned out: Roughriders post lowest TSN television rating since last year in loss to Redblacks

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are usually a powerhouse when it comes to television ratings, but the green and white posted the smallest total English television audience since last year in Week 16.

The Riders lost to the Ottawa Redblacks by a score of 36-28 — the team’s third straight loss. The game kicked off at 5:00 p.m. Saskatchewan time on a weekday, which may have hurt the average TV audience.

The Toronto Blue Jays drew well on television that night with an average audience of 1,031,600 tuning in to watch them defeat the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 6-2. The Blue Jays currently sit second in the American League Wild Card race with only five regular season games remaining on the schedule.

The key 25-54 age demographic appears to be more keen on baseball these days as 225,600 tuned in to watch Toronto, as opposed to 120,000 who watched Saskatchewan-Ottawa and 129,400 who watched B.C.-Edmonton during the CFL’s doubleheader.

The week marked only the second time Saskatchewan’s ratings have fallen short of 500,000 this season. The Riders pulled an average audience of 494,000 against Edmonton in Week 5 but still lead all CFL teams with an average per-game rating of 631,500 in 2023.

The Riders had only one rating under 400,000 in 2022, which came in the final week of the regular season after Saskatchewan was eliminated from playoff contention. The green and white lost to the Calgary Stampeders by a score of 36-10, drawing an audience of 359,500.

The CFL struggled against Canada’s only Major League Baseball team again on Saturday as the Blue Jays drew 1,055,900 for their 7-6 loss to Tampa Bay. The Montreal-Calgary game produced a strong French language rating on RDS but the English language broadcast was among the lowest of the season so far.

Sunday Night Football between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders had an average audience of 901,900 on TSN, which beat the ratings from the first two weeks of the season. English language television ratings for the CFL have declined by 18.7 over the past two weeks, so it appears the NFL is succeeding in stealing some eyeballs away from the three-down league.

2023 Week 16 TV ratings:

Saskatchewan at Ottawa — 390,300
B.C. at Edmonton — 531,300

Montreal at Calgary — TSN 246,700 and RDS 202,600 for 449,300 total
Hamilton at Toronto — 453,700

Total Week 16 average: 405,000 (French included: 456,200)

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