CFL Looking to add Thurs Night Games

Making the rounds on Twitter today.

Personally, I couldn't make Thursdays work if they went to that for the majority of games. Apparently the CFL wants to make Thursday and Friday 'their' nights.

I personally feel they are scrambling to get out a schedule that works around the PanAm games and Womens World Cup, and this is the way they are doing it and this is all spin to make it seem like they aren't being forced into doing this.

However, I could be way off base.

For me, my job just wont allow me to keep season tickets if they games are weekday games. I just don't have a typical 9-5 job. How are people with young children (a demographic they are chasing) supposed to keep there kids out from 7-10 and then get ready for school and work? Doesn't make sense to me, but interested in what others have to say.

Thursday games have been commonplace in the league for years. There aren't as many of them as Friday nights and Saturdays, but IIRC the Als have to play at home on Thursday nights during the fall, and the Argos have had a ton of Thursday games over the years -- partly because they get lousy dates at RC and partly because there's a belief Torontonians all get out of town (or try to) on summer weekends.

If the league is looking to host more games on Thursdays, they need to split it up evenly among teams. Fanbases have gotten frustrated because their team gets way too many. It was Winnipeg in 2014 (four straight Thurs home games to start season), Montreal in 2013 (four of five home games to start), Montreal/Winnipeg in 2012, Montreal/Winnipeg/Toronto in 2011, Montreal/Saskatchewan in 2010, Edmonton in 2009 (four straight home games to start).

I remember that Edmonton fans had such a revolt, that the team had to request no more Thursday games after that 2009 season. If the league wants Thursday games throughout the season, it would have to be each team hosting 2-3 games throughout the 20-week schedule.

If I remember right CFL has toyed with the Thursday Night games and seems that they occur in the summer months. with reason’s mentioned above about kids and School.
Where Thursday may be a great for CFL ratings with people being home. It does not balance well for attendance at games if teams play it on a regular basis.

I've been saying for years the CFL should have games on Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sunday nights. Then fans will always know when the games are on. :wink: Plus fans in the stands will be able to watch 3 other CFL games on TV each week, which is not always the case with double-headers on the same day. This would increase TV ratings and make each game an "event". :thup:

Hopefully TSN can come up with a catchier name than the competition on Sportsnet, "Monday Night Football Thursday Edition", which also had games on Saturday this year under that same name? :oops:

I don't like Thursday.
Especially for the attending fans who have to worry about work or kids going to school the next day.
There are not enough teams to make it work, if we were to get the 10th or heavens forbid eventually 12 teams, then I could see it making more sense.

Not a huge fan of Thursdays myself, but as long as there is consistency then it could be a good TV spot at least for the summer.

In September, I don't think they would want to go head with the NFL but I would think they would want more weekend games in the fall.

Thursday night games have been/are inferior to weekend games when it comes to drawing butts into the seats so until the TV deal doubles or triples, shelve this idea

I agree with Eastvanmark on this. Maybe Thursday Night Football on TSN every Thursday night might build up an audience eventually - but even that is questionable as there were a lot of Friday Night games this past season - for which TSN has been trying to build an audience for years and yet it often was one of the lower rated games of the four that weekend.

And not sure about other areas but in Southern Ontario Friday nights and Saturdays/Sundays get more butts in seats than Thursday night sporting events - one only has to look at Blue Jays attendance figures to see that. Friday nights usually a few thousand bigger than a Thursday crowd and Saturdays and Sundays usually thousands more on average than Friday nights.


I can understand the idea of wanting a CFL night, make it easier for some people to make the CFL appointment television like their favourite shows. And the idea is obviously to try draw in some people who normally head out to cottages or camping or vacations on weekends. However switching to too many Thursday night games may backfire in the long run. Some people that have to work the next day may stay at home. Some of those that work the next day may still show up but may cut down on their concession purchases, specifically beer. As others have said, it's probably best to rotate any Thursday games around or focus on keeping the consistent time slots on Fridays and Saturdays.

When it comes to increasing the TV audiences, they could possibly increase the numbers by moving one game a week off of cable to CTV to make it easier to access if people are in more remote areas where they don't have cable access and haven't splurged for satellite. They could also allow greater accessibility to games on other formats such as smartphones and online. People are more connected regardless of where they are, and correct me if I'm wrong but a lot of the digital access is not only geo restricted but also limited to only some specific providers? Ease of access is important.

I'm not a fan of Thursday games as it's hard to get down right after work, and get up on Friday to go to work. It's especially bad when the Argos host the Ti-Cats because even catching the GO can often be an impossibility to get to the game. However Thursday games leading up to a long weekend I don't mind. That way, I can still potentially go up north for the long weekend, or have the Friday off to recover.

That wouldn't make much difference at all to TV ratings. TSN has the highest subscription rate at 9.5 million which roughly gives access to 27 million viewers, out of 27 million potential viewers the CFL attracts around 650,000 average viewers. It's available everywhere, satelite, cable or on the internet, if you are a sports fan you subscribe to it.
If CTV thought they could get more viewers by putting the games on CTV too they would have done it.

Wouldn't it make more sense to try to get more of the existing 27 million that already subscribe to TSN??????

As for Thursday games, we get the fans that say they won't go because they have to work the next morning and if they take public transport it takes forever to get home. Then you get the fans that say they want the Thurs games because they go away camping/cottage etc on the weekends.

TSN does not reach 27 million Canadians. It just does not. It makes a difference and will even more so going forward.

My Cable provider only carries TSN1 as part of the expanded cable package. The other four TSN channels are extra.

If you don't have an HD package you can't even get TSN2 through TSN5 at all.

So last week I could not watch a UFC fight night for the first time in 10 years because it was shown on TSN2 (previously it was on Sportsnet or Spike). In order to get TSN 2 I'd have to get in addition to already paying for HD and an HD package, add the Sportspack on top of that. At least I had access to all of Sportsnet channel with my expanded package.

That means that games shown on TSN2 (sometimes double headers overlap and the second game will start on TSN2 I can no longer watch.

Also young Canadians are going away from Cable, they prefer streaming packages and gaming networks like STEAM. Which will compound the problem the CFL has getting new fans.

Well I'm just going by the TSN website which states there are 9.5 million subscribers and I was assuming just under 3 viewers per household. TSN has a million more subscribers than Sportsnet. I don't know what you want to use in "viewers per household" but the fact is that putting CFL games on CTV doesn't guarantee higher ratings than TSN.
The fact is if you like CFL football and you can only get it in on TSN you will pay for that package.

If you want higher ratings, switching networks is not going to help, they have to figure out how they can more than 650k viewers out of the possible 27 million viewers.
Look at RDS, if you go Numeris and look at the ratings you will see that they can get 900k for a Canadiens hockey game, yet they only have 2.5 million subscribers and the RDS subscribers outside of Quebec are blacked out. That is roughly 40% or so of RDS viewers watch hockey, that is a huge percentage. The numbers are higher than when they were on SRC (French CBC). The bottom line is if you like sports you will subscribe to a sports package.

I agree young Canadians are going away form cable and prefer the streaming packages. Right now you can stream games on TSN GO, there is no doubt they will make TSN streaming part of future packages if they see a trend with young people. One reason why Bell media has the CFL on TSN and not CTV, they see more sports fans subscribing and watching the sports networks

I can’t even get TSN GO. Only two cable providers jumped on to that POS.

When they say 9.5 million subscribers it is still less than a third that of “regular” Channels have.

There has been numerous articles about how Cable penetration is shrinking. I believe it will continue. My cable provider has been threatening that analog cable is going away at the end of the month for 5 years now. They can’t reach the minimum percentage of digital subscribers demanded by CRTC in order to pull the plug…

Internet Providers Bell in particular have tried everything to charge per “byte” in order to fight streaming services. Kind of like how they fought Long distance providers a couple decades ago. Luckily for us the CRTC is keeping them in check at least to a certain extent.

You are getting the term subscribers (which means households that have TSN) confused with people. When they (TSN) claim to have 9.5 million 'subscribers', that means they are in 9.5 million households in Canada. The average household has 2.5 people over age 2 in it. So they would be available to approx. 23.75 million Canadians. (9.5 million x 2.5)

As of the end of 2013 overall there were approximately 13.5 million total TV households in Canada (13.5 million x 2.5 people per household = approximately 33.75 million viewers. So assuming that 9.5 million figure is accurate TSN is in 9.5 million of the 13.5 million households in Canada that have TV.

With the way the Argo games have been scheduled the last two or three years I would be ecstatic to have a regular Thursday night game instead of bouncing around every night of the week. But that's another story/complaint all together.

It's not like they would get rid of every other day and schedule just Thursdays. Consistency is the key as proven by Monday Night football years ago and Friday night for us here over the last five or however long it has been on. If every team had two Thursday night games properly spread out over the season and it allowed a weekly broadcast of Thursdays I think it could work.

And question to all .. Would you pay $10 or $15 a month to get TSN (all five of them) on line in HD. That basically what it is to get a streaming service that shows every NBA game. It would still have all the commercials as per cable just on line instead. I know I would but I do not have cable at all so would be worthwhile option.

Good explanation, but also remember that 13.5 million households would include all households English and French. Then there would be 3.5 million Franco households or roughly 8 million would be watching French language TV.
Therefore 26 million out of the 34 million viewers would be Anglo. If, like you say there are 24 million that have TSN then there would only be 2 million in English Canada that don't subscribe to TSN.
So just under THREE Per cent of TSN viewers watch CFL football.

If you assume that potentially a CTV broadcast would reach 2 million more viewers and if you use the same percentage of viewers that would watch CFL football, that would be at the most 60,000 extra viewers.

The only argument I would have with that slimjim is that would not really account for channel surfers who would not always get as far as the location of their sports channels (if they had them). Sure there are certain programs or games I know in advance I want to watch and I seek them out. But there are tons of other times where I just flip on the TV to kill an hour or two and hit the guide button to see what's on and may end up watching the first 'good' thing I come across. It might be a game, a sitcom, a movie - who knows.

For example I just got Bell Fibe TV this week and haven't figured out where all the channels I get are yet. So I hit the guide button and start scrolling through from Channel 1200 where the English language HD channels start. And they start with the CTV, CTV2, CITY, Global CBC etc. The sports channels don't start until 1400. If I stumble across something that sounds good on one of those first few channels and am not aware of a CFL game that night up on Channel 1401 - I end up not watching that game. If every once in a while that game is on Channel 1200 - I may very well end up watching at least part of that game.

For that reason I think having one game a week on CTV (maybe Saturday nights during the summer) it might very well gain that game a couple of hundred thousands viewers - who might get hooked and then seek out the games on TSN the next weekend.