CFL ratings soar in absence of CBC announcers

Take a look at this article I just pulled from CTV's news website:

[b]CFL ratings soar in absence of CBC announcers News Staff

Ratings out for the second CFL game broadcast without on-air announcers suggest Canadian couch potatoes just may prefer the sound of silence.

An average of 580,000 fans, the largest audience this season, watched the B.C. Lions' 19-15 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday.

Because of an ongoing labour dispute at the CBC, the public broadcaster has locked out 5,500 members of the Canadian Media Guild, leaving it without camera technicians, directors, announcers and commentators.

Without any on-air commentators, Saturday's game featured management-operated cameras and the lone voice of the Taylor Field public address announcer.

And still, the game attracted the CFL season's largest TV audience, marking the second consecutive weekend of above-average ratings.

The first broadcast without announcers on CBC drew 449,000 viewers for an Aug. 20 game between Edmonton and Toronto.

According to CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald, the number of viewers peaked at 746,000 in the fourth quarter and was well above the season average of 412,000.

Despite the prediction that frustrated viewers would turn off their TV sets without announcers, the audience grew as the game developed.

According to CBC spokesman Jason MacDonald, the number of viewers peaked at an amazing 746,000 near the game's conclusion.

Last week, Lions owner David Braley suggested CBC should not be included when the CFL conducts its next round of television contract talks, arguing the network is broadcasting an inferior product.

The CFL is in the third year of a five-year deal with CBC.

But MacDonald dismissed the suggestion that it was only the absence of on-air chatter that attracted more viewers.

"Certainly there's the matchup," he told The Canadian Press.

The Lions entered the game undefeated and Saskatchewan has a strong fan base across the nation.

"People were excited. There's probably also an element of novelty too still."

The labour dispute has forced the CBC to hand off the CFL's Labour Day Classic game between the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats to TSN.

The game will air Monday, Sept. 5, 2005 at 6 p.m. ET on TSN. Veteran broadcaster Chris Cuthbert and analyst Glen Suitor will front the TSN telecast from Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Instead of hosting a double-header, CBC will now only show Edmonton at Calgary.

"It was a resources issue," said MacDonald.

"We're doing this with a management crew. It made sense to do one."

There is no word yet on whether TSN will take on more CFL games.

"We're still week by week," MacDonald said.

The sky-high ratings have some observers wondering whether networks will take the opportunity to take on-air talent off the payroll.

But Cuthbert dismissed the suggestion, arguing that sports fans still prefer to have someone tell them what is going on.

"If they were doing that and there was also a channel with commentary of the same feed, I really don't believe very many people would be watching the non-commentary feed," he told the Toronto Star.

"It has all of us thinking a little bit on what's the right amount, but I'm not a believer yet."[/b]

I wonder if the big ratings spike is coincidental or not? I'd be interested in seeing a feed with announcers and one without at the same time and see which attracts more viewers.

I for one actually don't mind the absence of the announcers - besides the questionable camera work, it almost felt like being at the game.

i think more people are starting to follow the CFL....the ratings rise follows the trend of attendance growth this year....more people going to games means more people watchin them at home. and if 3 games a week are on TSN, then u dont mind sitting through 1 game without announcers on CBC.
each week ratings seem higher than the previous week....
i think the ratings during this silent game shows how CFL crazy this country is slowly becoming!

I thought it was an improvement over Walby any day!

Seriuosly though, it was like being at the Stadium. The PA announcer in Regina did a good job. I didn't mind it at all.

People would have watched the game regardless. No announcers just made it seem unprofessional and boring at times. I don't think CBC should be patting themselves on the back for the high viewership, because I don't think no announcers caused a peak of 746,000 for Saturday's game. I'm with Braley on this, the CBC is a joke.

no press is bad press

I think you have to look at the game that was on. Football fans could have been watching to see if the Lions would go 9 and 0. Plus, it was a Riders game. Both of those things have to factor in. Would the numbers have been the same if it was Winnipeg vs Ottawa? I believe that those numbers may be misleading because of the 2 teams playing. Just a thought.

i think the game was ok, but only got the huge ratings because the cfl is again "hot" and because of the 2 teams playing. don't forget, sask games on the tube always have a huge viewership!

game was ok, but i miss the announcers. the cfl should hire their own announcers and broadcast it on the radio or the 'net so that u can watch the game and have the voice from the radio doing the color commentary.

just my 2 cents worth!!!

High T.V. ratings are high T.V. ratings............this is good news. Noveity may be an excuse for 1 game , but 2 games?
What is also great is that the media hates this , but few care.The numbers don't lie. I wouldn't blame the CBC for this.........lets give them some credit for showing these game at all. :smiley:

I am sure that the ratings for the CALGARY/EDMONTON game will be huge, as well. It will be interesting to compare the CBC T.V. ratings with TSN's
on the same day. :smiley:

thats an unfair comparison ( comparing TSN ratings to CBC rating ) because CBC gets in more households than TSN does. thier numbers SHOULD always be better than TSN.

they should compare ratings for games on CBC to OTHER games on CBC.

EXAMPLE....TSN only gets in 10 houses and CBC gets into 25.
tsn shows a game and gets 10 viewers...cbc shows a game and all the same 10 people watch plus another 10 who dont get tsn....then cbc's ratings will be higher.

u get it now?
they are comparing CBC ratings to the season average, but 3 outta 4 games a week are on tsn, which has less access to homes!!!!

Well , I am sure that the CBC and the CFL will take the good news.

Yes, but TSN still has the capacity to have 1 million people watch any game.

TSN's highest rated shows are always the WORLD Jun. Hockey championships.

TSN.... [for the ARGO/HAMILTON game] also has the population in that area and CALGARY and EDMONTON, do not.

BUT I am sure allot of people will check out both games. :smiley:

Combination novilty factor and I agree with you drumming god, the overall CFL ratings are going threw the roof. Which I beleive begs the question even though we are in year 3 of 5 TV contract, if the TSN was smart they would start negotiating now to sign a longer term deal. How does $20M per year for 5 years sound. Or, this may be too low?

last time it was for 35 million.

do stations make money based on the number of viewers they get?

and i heard of the US getting exclusive announcers. So if they announce the CBC games then why can't we get them too.

Yes , the more people watch , the more money the networks can ask from advertizers for showing commercials.

The CBC doesn't the same budget as the NFL , which is in the billions.U.S.

if they are in year 3 of a current 5 year television contract.....and the numbers for ratings are growing as fast as they are...imagine the ratings in 2 years when the current contract is up....and imagine how much money the CFL is set to make on the NEXT deal!!!!

things are lookin UP

great point

any chance TSN will lockout their guys????

That is a very good question.............I wonder how their union will respond to this?


We can always hope.