CFL’s slumping ratings cause for concern - G&M

Bruce Dowbiggin - Globe and Mail

[url=] ... le2230487/[/url]


Even in its darkest days, the Canadian Football League could always point to TV ratings to prove it was a relevant sports attraction. While franchises failed and expansion cratered, the numbers from the box always belied those salon types writing obits for the league. That’s why the steep drop in the league’s average minute 2011 TV ratings on TSN/ RDS-- 876,000 (+2) in 2010 down to 700,000-- is concerning for a league that’s been trending upward for the past decade. (TSN’s ratings number alone is 637,000.)

The hints of trouble came when TSN and the CFL declined to release ratings before season’s end. Sources had told Usual Suspects privately of hearing of drops from 15 to 20 per cent year over year. There were concerns this might mean that an anticipated spike in rights payments next time (2014) might be in jeopardy. But it wasn’t till Monday’s release that the decline was officially confirmed.

Both the league and its sole broadcast partner were quick to spin the puzzling drop. “Attendance is up, licensing is up, TSN’s sales are up and is up,? CFL commissioner Mark Cohon told Usual Suspects Tuesday. “The ratings numbers are not tracking along with our other businesses.?

It's been mentioned before in a few threads by myself and others... it is getting boring.

To me, it is as simple as that. I watch every game and go to plenty in person, and if I am even getting bored imagine how bored casual fans are getting.

Time for some new blood, and fast.

The league has just killed its chance at a great TV deal by getting complacent.

It's there own fault really. It will take some hard work to reverse this new trend, hopefully they can manage.

many games this season look like they are over at half-time. many people probably change the channel and miss the comeback ( which is why they are advertising "no lead is safe" commercials now ). or the game IS over, but garbage time gives a final score that flatters the losing team.

and if people on these boards -some of the most die-hard CFL fans there are- are saying the 8 team league has gone stale, it probably seems stale to the casual viewer as well. i know i can only watch montreal play winnipeg so many times.

and the reg.season doesn't mean too much when a team can lose more games then they win and still make the playoffs ( which is why i hope montreal makes short work of the tabbies ). the cats could have made it into the post-season with a 7-11 record.

Well, this should put a final nail in the “triple the TV contract!” nonsense.

Back when people were posting the weekly ratings, some games did a lot better then others. In particular, some teams did better then others. Who really wanted to watch the Argos this year? They weren’t just bad, they were mind-numbingly boring most of the season. That’s going to hurt the numbers because in the second half of the year the lowest ratings were usually the Argo game.

But the most interesting part was probably this:

This was a new system last year, so we’ll have to see where it goes next year,? Cohon added. “We were the biggest beneficiary of PPMs last season, up over 100 per cent in some areas. I think a three-year average will help us see where we are.
I wonder how much of this is actual decline and how much is just a correction caused by the gigantic jump last year from the new system? Cohon essentially admitted that CFL ratings jumped more then other sports did by the meter change.

the rating system hasn't changed from last year, so i can't see that being the problem.
i think it is simply a decline in viewers.

i feel this season just wasn't very interesting to watch.
it happens from time to time. 2008 or 2009 ( or both? ) wasn't interesting to me.

maybe next year will be a bounce-back year in both on-field quality and ratings.

Boring? Are you kidding me?

Maybe in Ti-Cat land. I went to four Lions games this year. What a picture perfect ending against Calgary when McCallum kicks a 53 yarder to win it, and I was in the stands for. AWESOME! The whole game was exciting because it’s the CFL. We also have Arland Bruce and Geroy Simon who always make the game exciting to watch. I went to the last game at Empire Field where Geroy Simon broke the Lions record for TD catches i believe it was. I also was at the BC game in Calgary where Arland Bruce juked and jived into the end zone in one of the many amazing plays I saw just in that game. There was also the game against the Eskimos on the 29th which was a very exciting game all the way through. My buddy never liked football till that night. 2 quick TD’s to start for the Lions.

I have to just disagree with you there brother. Maybe Ti-cats aren’t exciting to watch these days, but this has been so exciting for me over here in BC that as a die hard Canucks fan i’m not even interested near as much as I am about the Lions, when usually i’m really pumped when the Canucks season starts, this year the Lions were on a roll going into the start of hockey season and they were more exciting to watch hands down. I’m really pumped for the West Final at BC place.

You’re right tho, they do need some new blood… in Hamilton.

It makes no sense to me why ratings are down, but from what i’ve been watching all year they’re still doubling up on the NFL and MLB playoffs even.

Your right, I was implying that I am bored with Ticat football and thats my reasoning as to why ratings are down across the board... :roll:

Nice critical thinking there...

Anyhow, I think the numbers do still prove that, whether you want to wear blinders or not, interest is down.

Spin it anyway you want, it will not change the facts. If everything is rosy, then the CFL would be boasting as they did the last 2 years.

I will take there word for it that attendance is up, but I find it hard to believe (without checking).

I would say Hamilton, Toronto, Montreal, Saskatchewan, and Edmonton have got to all be lower on the year, or at least not higher.

Hamilton, not one sellout. Toronto, only averageing near 20k. Montreal never sold out one single solitary game. Saskatchewan did not sell out everygame as they did last year (despite the play game last year). Edmonton has not had as large a crowd as usual.

The only upside is the Lions, and Winnipeg.

It's all in the numbers.

boring my ass!

god 1 year of tv rating slipping a little and everyone cries out in disgust! sheeesh.

did you ever think for one second the decline of the Riders in 2011 had something to do with it?? :stuck_out_tongue:

heck even in this forum, the #'s in the Rider game threads were down.

things change, nothing ever stays the same!

if next year they're up you'll all be singing a different tune.

Regular season attendance last year was 27,132 on average. Regular season attendance this year was 27,767 on average.

Hamilton’s attendance figures are 23,890 and 23,676 for 2010 and 2011 respectively. The 2011 number includes the Moncton game, though, which drags the average down, as does the fact that we didn’t host the Argos on Labour Day. If you average over the 8 in-Hamilton games, you get 24,117, which is higher than last year’s.

All numbers come from

...I'm blaming benji and his constant infernal negativity

It is highly unreasonable to expect the CFL (or any Pro sports league for that matter) to experience sustained exponential viewership growth year after year, season after season, game after game.

Sports interest is predicated on many factors, and like the stock market, works on ebbs and flows.
In fact, the sustained growth of league viewership in the past decade has surpassed the S&P ROR % during the same period.

This is just a transient blip my friends. Nothing to see here. :cowboy:

I say we blame Rod Black :twisted:

Rod Black plays an integral part in the success of the CFL by explaining the game to people who have just arrived on earth or have recently been hit in the head by a baseball bat.

Read the whole article, it explains why !!!!!!!!!

Cohon and TSN both concede that they have no sure answers for where the viewers went. “Our reach remains the same, but viewers are just not staying as long,? suggests Cohon. For certain, both Toronto and Saskatchewan tanking - plus B.C. starting 0-6 - did the CFL no favours. Along with Montreal, those teams are major generators of ratings for the league. Cohon also points to the vagaries of the new Portable People Meters which assemble the data. “In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the sample size is so small (fewer than 100 people) that people coming in and out of games has the effect of skewing numbers. If just 10 nor 12 people come out it can have a profound impact.

“This was a new system last year, so we’ll have to see where it goes next year,? Cohon added. “We were the biggest beneficiary of PPMs last season, up over 100 per cent in some areas. I think a three-year average will help us see where we are. The CFL is still the No. 1 summer TV property out there. We draw bigger Canadian television audiences than the NFL, Blue Jays, and MLS.?

I dont know if it has already been mentioned, but does online viewing get counting in tv numbers??

and what if more people are getting together to watch, or going to pubs and such. Less tvs, but more viwers, maybe.

The problem with TV ratings is that the Eastern & Atlantic timezones are asleep when BC is playing.

If Hamilton is boring, Toronto is boring, and Winnipeg is boring for the second half of the year, that’s what the Eastern half of the country sees most often. People without a PVR won’t be watching BC play Calgary at 1:30am in the Maritimes.

I hate to say it, but I'm landing the blame on Ontario's feet, mainly at Toronto.

Toronto is the largest market and the organization needs to do something to convert spectators into fans. Every Argo game I've been to this year, there are only a few brief patches of people decked out in Argo attire. Fans watch away games religiously and buy the merchandise. Spectators might go to an occasional game, might watch when nothing else is on but the emotional (and financial) attachment just isn't there to the team and thus the league and game. As far as Hamilton, even though their hasn't been a sellout, the average attendance is slightly higher the last years, and the new stadium debate I think hurt a lot of the casual CFL viewers.

Thankfully, next year the CFL can hopefully push the Grey Cup festival and the league's agenda a lot more fiercely. Also Ottawa getting back into the league may also help things too and lock up another population center. That and with Winnipeg and Hamilton getting new stadiums, hopefully that will also help to rekindle things.

Any other league would kill to have this years ratings of 600,000 plus.
Heck NHL overall TSN average was below this number last year.
But there is one legit point though and some of us have made it previously, new blood is required.
Teams playing one another 4-6 times per year depending on the pre season and playoffs does not create the usual pent up demand.
Dear I say friends, expansion and this should now on be on a fast track, quicker then Ottawa in 14 or perhaps 2 teams coming in at the same time.

Absolutely not, this will not kill the potential triple dollar increase in the new contract.
Other leagues would kill to have a 600,000 per game average.

There is no potential triple increase in the new contract. There’s just some people with silly expectations who are going to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen. :stuck_out_tongue: