article: Toronto DOES care about CFL**

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The time has come to debunk an urban legend that's been hanging around for some time.

Interest in the Canadian Football League, the legend goes, is restricted mainly to those who live in places like Corner Gas' Dog River and bear strong resemblances to Hank, that fictitious village's official idiot.

Football fans living in the Toronto area are far too sophisticated to care about the likes of the Toronto Argonauts, the legend says, and are focused more on the National Football League.

It's a good legend, but there's one problem with it: Like all urban myths, it's not true.

A look at detailed television ratings shows Argonauts games are substantially more popular than any NFL match-up among Toronto-area viewers.

But they also show that if the Argos don't win the East final on Sunday, CBC will have trouble improving on the 3.2 million viewers who watched last year's Grey Cup game.

According to BBM Nielsen Media Research ratings, the seven Argo games aired over the past two months averaged 138,000 viewers in the Toronto area. NFL games carried by Global and TSN averaged 97,700.

Both averages indicate a lot of interest, but certainly no lack of interest in the Argos.

It should be noted this is an unscientific poll. The fact there were only seven Argo games compared with 31 NFL games means there's much room for error.

Since American network ratings aren't tracked in Canada, nobody knows how many viewers are watching NFL Sunday night games on NBC instead of TSN.

But since only eight Sunday night games were played as of last Sunday, the difference wouldn't significantly alter the outcome.

There are many other factors that could warp the numbers a bit. The CFL is at the end of the season and the NFL is just starting, for example.

Two Argo games were on Saturday afternoons when ratings are at their lowest, while the NFL has a more viewer-friendly schedule.

Regardless, based on those numbers, it's time those CFL-haters started admitting the old league isn't just a prairie thing.

This doesn't come as a surprise to Reginald Bibby, a University of Lethbridge sociologist who has been tracking Canadians' sports interests for years. Bibby's studies have consistently shown interest in the CFL is higher than interest in the NFL.

And he always felt the media underestimate the CFL's power in Southern Ontario. Neither does it come as a surprise to the league.

In the west, next to the NHL, the CFL is the most popular by a long shot," says Chris McCracken, the league's vice-president of broadcasting and media assets. In the east, we're on par with baseball and the NFL."

But there is a downside to the ratings. They show there's little interest here in the rest of the league among Toronto-area football fans. Even if you factor in the number of 10 p.m. and Saturday afternoon games, interest here is basically limited to the home team.

The 24 non-Argo games played since Sept. 1 regularly outdrew the NFL nationally, but averaged only 40,000 viewers in Toronto. That's less than half of what the NFL drew here.

So if the Argos lose Sunday, the CBC won't be able to count on all those Toronto fans who helped push the Grey Cup ratings over 4 million the last time they were in the final.

THere is a similar thing already posted.

I don't want an NFL team.

Well, one thing I will say is that these numbers make for a very interesting sociological research project. It's a whole bunch of things, confusing, interesting, exciting etc. Of course, things are always changing and people are changing how they look at themselves and define who they are. Remember, Canada is a young country really and we are continually trying to define who we are with this big neighbour to the south and our place in the world. Very interesting stuff.

What seems to be happening is that those in the media, like Chris Zelkovich, who respect the cFl, are bringing out facts to show how it really is up here.

CFL fans already knew about the popularity of the league. Looks like the media is finally catching on.

The thing that stands out to me is what a bunch of bandwagon sports fans in Toronto.
Boo-hoo, my local team is not in the big game, so I’m not gonna watch.
Beleive me, I live in the general Toronto area, and this is exactly how they are when it comes to the ARgo’s.
None of them go to the games all year, but if the Argo’s make the Grey Cup, suddenly everyone is a fan.

re-A look at detailed television ratings shows Argonauts games are substantially more popular than any NFL match-up among Toronto-area viewers.
if 10%of the tv viewers would buy Tickets the Args would sell out ALL home games!

Maybe that's the key. Advertise Argo tickets during the Argo telecasts!

i've always wondered why teams dont do that.

Maybe they figure that they would be wasting a lot of money buying ads when 50% of the viewers are outside the GTA. :expressionless:

they should even advertise more on toronto radio stations…102.1 the edge, and such.

Before the big games they have occaisional ads on the Fan 590. But I agree 102.1 would be better. Fan 590 is mostly Americana.

on thefan 590, they have a football show on friday mornings, discussing CFL, NFL and CIS...

every commercial break should feature argo adverts. tsn friday nite football adverts, and CFL on CBC adverts...

why they beyond me!

Good ideas. You should e-mail Cynamon or even Pelley!

like i have thier e-mail

if i did, and they listened to me ( make me an ), they'd get 40,000 every game easy!

an idea for spreading the CFL word:...anyone who uses MSN messenger, always make your name something about the CFL....mine this week: TOM CFL Division Finals CBC 1pm...then i have the pic that is my signature below.

i did similar stuff all season.

think, everyone with MSN prolly has 40 people or more on thier list, and everyone will see your name...

I like the MSN idea. I do that a lot myself.

I think Sokolowski’s e-mail is

I say this because my friend got a free ticket voucher from him and I think that’s the e-mail address it gave.

They survey didn't ask about the CFL, very typical, but I would wager the CFL would be in the 10% hardcore fans if baseball was 8%. The Leaf nation was at 15% or approximately 450,000 fans to draw from, based on 3,000,000 population. Using those numbers that would put the CFL at 300,000 hardcore to draw from in Toronto and GTA. So it looks like only about 10% of these fans actually buy tickets.
I wonder how many people in Saskatchewan consider themselves hard core Rider fans. Maybe the 25,000 they draw is less then 10% of their hardcore after all.

You should try those e-mail addresses D_G.

already done!


Good luck getting a response!

Since American network ratings aren't tracked in Canada, nobody knows how many viewers are watching NFL Sunday night games on NBC instead of TSN.
What an ignoramus this writer is. I repeatedly read comments from the Toronto media on this mystical Canadian audience that watches American channels and "nobody" knows how many they are...and use it to prop up dismal NFL ratings.

The fact is that all American stations received in Canada are allocated to a specific market and their ratings are tabulated by BBM/Neilsens just like any other channel.

When a Canadian station "simulcasts" an American program at the same time, the ratings points of the U.S. station are always added to the Canadian channel's ratings number.

Do you think when a Global TV ad salesman goes to an advertiser he says, "well, there were about 2 million Canadian viewers watching the Super Bowl, but that don't count an extra million or two watching your ads on the American channel broadcasting the game. Nobody knows...?"

Duh, of course they know. Global, like all stations, always includes those watching their signal on the American channel in their ratings, when the program is simulcast. The CRTC requires that the Global broadcast be substituted on the American cable channel if the program is broadcast at the same time. This is done to boost the audience for Canadian advertisers, so Global can charge more for their advertisments. These ratings are gathered electronically by meters in people's homes. Global would have to be really stupid not to count these viewers when they set their advertising rates or release their rating numbers.

I wish these Toronto reporters who repeatedly publish their ignorant theories about all these unknown NFL viewers would grab a brain and do some simple research before they spew this completely false information to an unsuspecting public.