CFL (and other sports) TV Ratings

I think a lot of people just didn't take an interest this year with the late start and shortened season.
But yes it is a concern for the league that a steady decline in viewers for a number of years

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NFL night game only received 358 k .

The later start Buffalo /Tampa Game at 4:30 pm pushed into the CFL game a bit and may have eroded a small audience share .

That's still a huge win for the CFL game that started 6 :30 finished past 10 pm .

Football numbers all considered it wasn't that bad at all .

Just like the CBC who had similar numbers maybe just having it on TSN has ran it's course .

I am sure if CTV also aired it ; it would have bumped the audience up .

smartphone + social media + video games = continued declining interest in sports all around

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CFL has been here before a few times now the sun still came up and it changed just 2005 on CBC a 5: 30 PM .START

01 CSI (CTV) Thu @ 9PM – 3,053,000 viewers
02 CFL Grey Cup (CBC) Sun @ 5:30PM – 2,885,000
03 CSI: Miami (CTV) Mon @ 10PM – 2,877,000
04 Survivor: Guatemala (Global) Thu @ 8PM – 2,693,000
05 Desperate Housewives (CTV) Sun @ 9PM – 2,508,000

3.1 million Grey Cup viewers and approx 8 million reach




The 108th #GreyCup continues to be one of Canada’s biggest sporting events, attracting an average audience of 3.1 million viewers on TSN and RDS on Sunday evening. Overall, a total of 7.9 million viewers watched some or all of the Blue Bombers’ victory over the Tiger-Cats



Grey Cup Streaming increased by 75% compared to 2019 - Most streamed CFL game ever

I caught it even with more going on than usual in December with much of it not related to holidays.

I'm convinced that I don't want to see a Grey Cup in December again though thankfully we had a full shorter season after all.

December is way too late for the Grey Cup. Get it done by mid-November after reforms are made if able to return to play on time in 2022.

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It's scheduled for November 20th tentatively.

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Curious what the numbers were for ESPN2 and BT Sports. CFL always forgets to mention those two.

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129k on ESPN2, the 2019 Cup averaged 110k so a slight increase. Biggest Grey Cup ratings on ESPN2 came in 2017 with 238k viewers.

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Though a small bump, in this pandemic viewing era with volatile and less predictable viewing habits after years of challenges with ratings before the pandemic but for the biggest of the games and many of the playoff games, such news is encouraging.

We all hope a year from now is far better progress than we have had in the last year as of course we are slipping quickly back right now.

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Thank you. Those are very low numbers given the size of the football fan demographic in the U.S. .5%.

More people watch the game where they throw balls at the guy juggling the bowling pins

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Wow. What a great find @Grover .

I would argue the NFL is NOT keeping cable TV alive at all in the US. That was the case until perhaps 2018 or so.

And the NFL had the foresight as far back as 2004 to definitely not put themselves in such a situation, as have too many sports, with ESPN calling the shots for them.

Only a small number of games are on ESPN and the NFL Network exclusively, with all games that involve local teams broadcast free in those markets no matter what, such that these days most diehards who really want to see some Monday night game or some crappy Thursday night game that is not on for free just go find a stream quite easily. ESPN overall still is dealt the worst games. They even brought in the Mannings to try to help their staid production on Monday nights.

From what I have read, the heaviest transition to drop cable, as in altogether not only the TV part as began back in 2010 and was blamed on the Great Recession by the industry for years with little improvement made in the prior decade, began in late 2020.

I myself held out until November 2021, as I had posted about in the NBCSN thread, and now even the cable company is trying to counter with a new and belated offering (and Xfinity/Comcast/NBC Universal even has a cheaper pre-paid offering now too I have learned) given the flight of subscribers to other internet access solutions with unlimited access (short of flagrant abuse of course) and built-in access to viewing apps including those that are free TV and programming.

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Interesting although I suppose the main denominator here is advertising that is very relevant whether one is watching free over-the-air or via cable or streaming, any way you cut it people are going to be exposed to advertising and it is possible for ratings to be had even if nowadays it's more difficult I suppose for the number of viewers to be tallied very accurately, but it is viewership that drives price per ads, any type of viewership, at least that is what I'm assuming at any rate.

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When you look at the CFL/TSN agreement, TSN is doing well
CRTC rules are 60% Canadian content
the TSN gets terrific #'s from CFL telecasts across the Country
Think about it, The news, Marketplace plus other like shows, CFL and sports in general are the most watched programs in Canada, Does anybody really watch all those other shows, Schitts Creek was great, but all those other shows are pathetic.
TSN needs the CFL just as much as the CFL needs TSN, maybe even moreso


In terms of can /con CFL is great but it's not right that the Blue Jays is considered the same value can /con with lack of actual can/ con entertainers .

The same for the Raptors . If they had to adjust their line up to show x amount of sports entertainers are Canadian on the roster I can get on board as actual can/con and not just because they wear a city name in Canada .

The CPL , CFL , NHL , national teams , amateur sports etc.... should have a greater value than a US or foreign content pro team in can con value if the entertainers have zero or a small amount of percentage of Canadian entertainer content on a pro teams roster .


No doubt and the NFL knew back then, and this is still the reality wherever aired, that a broadcast via free TV not only draws the highest ratings but also generates the highest advertising and sponsorship revenue.

Even with all the other options but for broadcast TV, this reality remains true for mainstream live sports and other leagues should take higher note accordingly, in my opinion, and most of all definitely not let any one media outfit have most of the say.

The advertisers actually spending the money have always their own proprietary methods in making these decisions as well, whatever the "reported ratings" are otherwise.


Makes total sense to me, unfortunately for a number of years the CFL head honchos didn't get this concept and I think the league did and has suffered somewhat because of this with the blackout rules as the league did at one time.
People can say all they want "the CFL is a ticket driven league" but losing sight of the fact that the main driver in the major leagues is advertising and sponsorship and broadcast to the masses, well the CFL better pull up it's bootstraps if it truly wants to operate like a major league and not seem to rely on bums in the seats and make fans think it's all about bums in the seats. That's a vision for disaster for this league IMHO.
There is a reason why the NFL is able to give big contracts for a league that only plays 17 games now a season, 16 more the past many years, and with total number of people attending games per season much lower compared with the other leagues that have many more games per season, well, it ain't all about "bums in the seats" that's for sure.


The future is in streaming and tv viewing.

The NFL is already ahead as they don't have a sell a single ticket and still won't effect their bottom line.

Huge TV and streaming deals with tickets being a bonus.

Why did the CFL owners at the time not embrace the concept of television is beyond my understanding.


They were operating out of an older paradigm that was changing rapidly, sort of like tobacco farmers not getting out of tobacco soon enough even though the writing was on the wall as health concerns with smoking were becoming more evident and in the news more and more. Some were smart and changed crops proactively but many didn't and lost a lot of money. One of the many media pieces on this below for interest sakes:

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