CFL leads the way, edging out Sportsnet One
While only one of the Canadian Football League's Labour Day weekend ``classics" came close to matching the title, it was a pretty successful weekend for three-down football.
The high-water mark came Sunday when TSN set a regular-season ratings record for CFL games when an average of 1.34 million viewers watched Saskatchewan defeat Winnipeg. The rest of the games did pretty well, too, with one topping 1 million and the other two coming close.
The Blue Jays did well, too, with Rogers Sportsnet attracting more than 600,000 for each of its two weekend games. Friday's outing, we'll assume, didn't do as well.
Assumptions are necessary because the game was on Rogers Sportsnet One and Sportsnet isn't giving out those ratings. That's because it's still available only to Rogers digital customers and 4,000 people in Fenelon Falls.
Judging by the flood of emails I've received from readers, the channel is rapidly becoming known as Sportsnet None. And it's not just angry Blue Jays fans who are airing their displeasure. A lot of soccer fans who bought Setanta Sports are more than a little peeved that some of their games have been siphoned off to Sportsnet One. Some are threatening to cancel Setanta, as well as their Rogers cable.
The most compelling come from Jays fans, though. If Rogers had had any idea who it was harming with this badly handled move, it might have reconsidered and maybe launched after the baseball season. Some of these stories are enough to melt hearts, though apparently not those at the cable companies.
In addition to the dozens of seniors whose lives revolved around watching the Jays was one man who spent three evenings a week watching the Jays while undergoing dialysis. Because the hospital doesn't get Sportsnet One, he can't. How's that for shafting your loyal fans?
This is a major fan uprising, dwarfing the revolt that surrounded the TSN2-Rogers battle. And the Jays revolution will seem like a mosquito on an elephant's butt in comparison to what will happen if this isn't settled before the first hockey games are scheduled to air on Sportsnet One.
Here the most-watched sports events on English-language Canadian TV over the weekend, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings:
1. CFL, Blue Bombers at Roughriders, Sunday, TSN: 1,340,000
2. CFL, Eskimos at Stampeders, Monday, TSN: 1,083,000
3. CFL, Lions at Alouettes, Friday, TSN: 914,000
4. CFL, Argonauts at Tiger-Cats, Monday, TSN: 879,000
5. MLB, Blue Jays at Yankees, Sunday, Sportsnet: 703,000
6. MLB, Blue Jays at Yankees, Saturday, Sportsnet: 631,000
7. Auto racing, NASCAR Sprint Cup, Sunday, TSN: 426,000
8. Tennis, U.S. Open, Saturday, TSN: 268,000
9. Tennis, U.S. Open, Friday, TSN: 153,000
10. Tennis, U.S. Open, Monday, TSN: 128,000
OTHER STUFF : TSN anchor Dan O'Toole is part of a group planning a 650-kilometre bicycle ride to raise money for charity. Among the group leaving from Long Island on Saturday are former NHLers Steve Webb and Rob Zamuner. They're headed for Peterborough, Ont. and aim to be coming through Toronto on Sept. 18. Funds raised will go to Alzheimer's research and Webb's scholarship foundation. For details on how to donate, go to www.w20foundation.org. ... NFL junkies will have more to cheer about this season, as TSN2 is now airing games. It will air an early Sunday game, giving viewers an alternative if they don't like what's on CTV or the American channels. ... They'll also be able to get 42 live NFL games and the Super Bowl on their mobile phones, assuming they have the appropriate Bell Mobility phone. The Bell package also includes highlights and NFL Network programming.