A great end to a great TV year for the CFL
Sunday was a pretty good day for the Canadian Football League, even if its public image took a hit with the revelation that some its teams can't count to 13. Not only did the Grey Cup game score the highest ratings of anything on Canadian television this year -- 5 million plus on TSN and another million on French-language RDS -- but some of the programming surrounding the game hit lofty heights, too.
An average of 2.2 million people watched the half-hour pre-game show, a number that ranks with ratings king Hockey Night In Canada. Even more amazing, an average of 374,000 souls watched the five-hour pre-pre-game show Sunday afternoon. Taped coverage of the CFL awards pulled in more than 200,000 viewers.
It was a good weekend all-around for Canadian football, with the Vanier Cup attracting 399,000 viewers on TSN despite some awful technical glitches and generally spotty coverage.
The weekend capped an amazing year for the CFL, which appears to be the sport that has benefitted most from the new ratings system. While all sports ratings are up with the new personal people meters, the CFL's are way up.
As for the reasons, that's pretty much a guess. It could be that the old system missed a lot of CFL fans, many of whom apparently were hiding their interest in Canadian football as if it were a crack addiction. But, assuming the ratings system is accurate -- and that always requires a leap of faith -- CFL numbers have been consistently at or near the top all season.
And that means TSN and the league will have some pretty strong ammunition when they talk to sponsors about the 2010 season. It also must have them dreaming of what could be if the Toronto Argonauts could get their act together again.
Here are the top-rated English-languge sports broadcasts of the past weekend, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings.
1. CFL, Grey Cup, Alouettes vs. Roughriders, Sunday, TSN: 5,087,000
2. CFL, Grey Cup Countdown to Kickoff, Sunday, TSN: 2,200,000
3. NHL, Caps-Habs/Bruins-Sens/Flames-Avs, Saturday, CBC: 1,783,000
4. NHL, Canucks at Oilers, Saturday, CBC: 1,202,000
5. NFL, Patriots at Saints, Monday, TSN: 1,002,000
6, NFL, Early games, Sunday, CTV: 735,000
7. NFL, Late games, Sunday, Citytv: 472,000
8. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC: 644,000
9. Figure skating, Skate Canada gala, Saturday, CBC: 425,000
10. CIS, Vanier Cup, Queens vs. Calgary, Saturday, TSN: 399,000
11. CFL, Grey Cup pre-game, Sunday, TSN: 374,000
12. NBA, Suns at Raptors, Sunday, CBC: 334,000
13. NBA, Raptors at Celtics, Friday, TSN: 223,000
14. CFL, Players Awards, Saturday, TSN: 212,000
15. NFL, Steelers at Ravens, Sunday, TSN2: 205,000*
16. Skiing, Aspen women's GS, Saturday, CBC: 199,000
* NBC viewers not calculated