Bruce Dowbiggin - Globe and Mail[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/bruce-dowbiggin/cfls-slumping-ratings-cause-for-concern/article2230487/]http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/b ... 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 CFL.ca is up,? CFL commissioner Mark Cohon told Usual Suspects Tuesday. “The ratings numbers are not tracking along with our other businesses.?