Friday's Canadian Football League game featuring Johnny Manziel and the Alouettes vs. Ticats drew the highest CFL ratings on any ESPN platform since the league returned to ESPN networks several years ago.
The much-hyped game drew an average audience of 406,000 viewers over the 178-minute duration of the ESPN2 broadcast.
The game also drew an impressive 0.12 share of 18-49's, more than doubling the normal reach of CFL games in that important demographic.
The previous highest CFL rating was 347,000 viewers for a 2012 game on the main ESPN network.
Ya, that was alot of new exposure to a terrible team. Hopefully the Cats did enough to create some interest. Then again people do love a tire fire, and if Johnny can rise from these flames that’d make for a hell of a story.
The CFL is a blip on the radar in the US and it still gets half the ratings it gets nationally here. The potential is amazing... I've always said if they had marketed the CFL the way the UFC did, it would have been a hit with Americans. The UFC started out by PAYING to be one Spike... Today they have deals with FOX, ESPN worth hundreds of millions a year. a 10 million dollar purchase they sold a decade later for four billion.
Considering the game was over by halftime with many viewers changing the channel, the 406,000 average was very impressive but not surprising considering the continent-wide hype for the game.
Most likely the first quarter averaged around 800k viewers with perhaps 150k remaining for the 4th Q. The peak audience likely exceeded 1 million U.S. viewers.
When former CFL commissioner Mark Cohen negotiated the original ESPN deal, he said it was "a six-figure contract". So that would mean $100,000 to $999,000 (but he didn't say if that was per season or over the 5-year term of the deal? )
With the new ESPN contract, the CFL likely got a cut from ESPN's new online streaming service which is carrying the bulk of CFL games. ESPN claimed they were streaming 200 CFL games this year. So the CFL's U.S. revenue could be substantially higher than in previous seasons.
I'm not sure there's a need for a cap exemption like that. I think we'd still only be getting players who couldn't crack NFL rosters. As yet, there's still no viable football alternative to the CFL for players who can't make NFL squads. No need to break the bank for them. What we'd likely see happen is just that current CFL players like BLM, Reilly, Harris, etc. would get huge contracts but not actually attract any more eyes than they already do.
Not even sure I think it's the way to go to flag yourself to foreign interests .
But when I see the franchises needing some more avenues for growth I do see opportunity if done right .
With other new leagues seeing those numbers though I believe they might think the same thing and see niche audience for those who need their name recognition to validate their interest .
With no US teams you do need a catch and a few players of interest might have them looking in with some interest .
Like you I am not sure the true value and if it the money won't just go to current players but there is now an avenue to bring in that name and some teams might use the opening to bring in that special player who brings in the star chaser audience .
A little on a personal note I do know the Manziel start opened eyes and ears in Toronto . Surprised me that it made such a slash but it did start conversations for the CFL .
People want the superficial over substance and no matter how I wish different they win .