It is a month into the new CFL season and commissioner Mark Cohon already has plenty to be happy about, with scoring, television ratings and gameday attendance up across the league.
“It’s early, of course, but so far this season is off to a great start as we travel the road to 100th Grey Cup championship,? Cohon said in a statement from the CFL Wednesday morning.
After 16 games in the first month of the season, the CFL says each game is averaging 55 points, up 10% from 2011, which has doubtlessly been helped by the increased emphasis on passing attacks (3.5 passing touchdowns a game is, at this point, the highest in CFL history), and seven kick return touchdowns compared to eight all last season.
More points apparently means more drama, with 63% of games having been decided in the last three minutes, compared to 50% from last season.
And, as the television ratings provided by the league appear to indicate, more drama means more people watching.
After Cohon admitted in his state of the league address before last year’s Grey Cup that television ratings had taken a bit of a dip in 2011, CFL games, which are broadcast entirely on TSN, have seen an overall ratings increase of 3.2 %. There have been particular increases in important demographics, such as males 18-34 (up 37%), adults 18-34 (19%) and adults aged 25-54 (up 10%).
The league says it is happiest with the growth it has seen in television audiences in southern Ontario, but has averaged “more than one million viewers? in the final ten minutes of several games, including last Wednesday’s game between Toronto and Winnipeg.
Fans are also spending 30% more time on the league’s English and French websites.
Even though there were initial concerns with the lack of sold-out games in the opening weeks, the league also says average attendance at games is up 3.3%.:thup: :thup: