Season-opening Hockey Night in Canada delivers hip check to CFL television ratings

Photo courtesy: Bob Butrym/RFB Sport Photography

The Canadian Football League had its television ratings chopped down like a solid hip check at the blue line.

During Week 19, the Redblacks and Argonauts game went head-to-head with the first Hockey Night in Canada games for the 2023-2024 NHL season. That resulted in the game at BMO Field drawing the lowest rating of the CFL slate over the weekend.

The Maple Leafs, Canadiens and Flames were featured in the 7 p.m. eastern time window on HNIC and pulled 2,018,400 average viewers. Vancouver travelled to Edmonton and the Canucks recorded a 4-3 win over the Oilers with 1,229,300 tuned in.

What’s more, the CFL was hurt in the 25-54 age demographic as 766,300 in that category watched HNIC’s 7 p.m. ET games and 476,100 the 10 p.m. matchup. Meanwhile, the Argos had the worst tally among CFL franchises: SSK-CGY 127,800; B.C.-HAM 127,100; MTL-EDM 116,400; and OTT-TOR 81,500.

Sunday Night Football in Western New York was a hit. The Buffalo Bills’ 14-9 victory against the New York Giants had nearly two million onlookers at 1,804,600 with 710,600 in the 25-54 demo. The Chiefs’ 19-8 win versus AFC West Division rival Denver produced 791,000 on Thursday Night Football. Meanwhile, on Monday Night Football, the Cowboys beat the Chargers 20-17 in Los Angeles with 460,200 watching.

2023 Week 19 TV ratings:

B.C. at Hamilton — 521,500
Saskatchewan at Calgary — 543,200

Montreal at Edmonton — TSN 266,100 RDS 178,000 for 444,100 total
Ottawa at Toronto — 301,600

Total Week 19 average: 408,100 (French included: 452,600)

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