CFL ratings report: Riders-Ticats game posts massive number

So last week, I discussed how the ratings for TSN’s Thursday night broadcasts had underperformed when compared to the other days of the week. Well, there seems to be a quick and easy solution: let the Saskatchewan Roughriders play every Thursday.

The Riders game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last Thursday posted a whopping 741,100 average audience on TSN, far and away the highest-rated game of the 2018 season. There were just four regular-season games that posted numbers in excess of 700K in all of 2017. The Riders played in three of them.

Indeed, Saskatchewan posted the highest average television audience in the league last season by a considerable margin: their 612,000 number was a full 8.3 per cent higher than the next nearest club, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Here are the average audiences for each team in 2017.

Team Average
1. Saskatchewan 612,000
2. Winnipeg 565,000
3. Edmonton 553,000
4. Calgary 522,000
5. Hamilton 508,000
6. B.C. 482,000
7. Toronto 456,000
8. Ottawa 434,000
9. Montreal 396,000

The Alouettes’ number doesn’t include French-language RDS, which would likely boost them higher up the table.

The other thing that stands out: the performance of the Argos who, despite having dismal attendance numbers, still seem to draw relatively well for TSN. The Ottawa number is interesting too: is it possible that Redblacks fans like to go to games but don’t necessarily tune in on TV?

We’re only four weeks into the regular season so it’s far too early to draw conclusions in part because the teams that have played Saskatchewan – including Hamilton and Toronto – have skewed numbers.

Team Average +/-
1. Saskatchewan 652,000 +6.5
2. Hamilton 587,000 +15.5
3. Toronto 548,000 +20.2
4. Calgary 527,000 +1.0
5. B.C. 499,000 +3.5
6. Montreal 495,000 +25
7. Edmonton 485,000 -12.3
8. Ottawa 461,000 +6.2
9. Winnipeg 452,000 -20.0

Across the board, the ratings picture continues to be promising. Week four ratings were up nearly seven per cent while year-to-date TSN has seen their number climb by over five per cent.

Week 4 ratings

Thursday
Hamilton at Saskatchewan: 741,400

Friday
Ottawa at Montreal: 393,900

Saturday (early)
Edmonton at Toronto: 477,900

Saturday (late)
B.C. at Winnipeg: 466,800

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1485 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

105 Comments on CFL ratings report: Riders-Ticats game posts massive number

  1. Huff's Neighbor // July 12, 2018 at 1:53 pm //

    Thanks for sharing Drew. The CFL is awesome and something I hope to watch for the remainder of my days.

    • Puck hog // July 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm //

      Yes,awesome league. Too bad the numbers aren’t even higher for every team. Calgary’s numbers are disappointing. Their fans are probably tuned out because of one particular putz on here who makes everyone dislike the Stamps because of his asinine comments. Oh well, Canada’s team continues to lead the ratings ecause of the Roughriders solid fan base across this great country of ours.

      • Huff's Neighbor // July 12, 2018 at 4:01 pm //

        Please do give many handles credit for anything. In fact, the numbers are low because there are many more Stumps fans similar to the troll. This is not new, Riders have for many years had the better TV and attendance ratings, and the Stumps have pulled up the rear. Probably because there are a lot more many handles out there, it’s just they’re not obsessed with the Riders so we don’t get to count.

  2. Komodo Dragon // July 12, 2018 at 1:55 pm //

    As we have always known. The Riders are Canada’s team. Therefore they pull in the largest TV audience. Love em or hate em. They have a Mystic to them that you may or may not agree with.
    Numbers do not lie!

    • It’s not mystic. It’s the only thing for 1000’s of miles.

      • Red rover // July 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm //

        And because people like the team and the game. No one in Calgary cares. Not even the owners. To them, the stamps are the toy a kid never plays with.

      • Gainer1 // July 12, 2018 at 2:16 pm //

        Totally IRRELEVANT comment?

      • Gainer1 // July 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm //

        Stampeding you’re right. It is the only thing as Calgary falls within that 1000’s of miles as well.

        • lol
          Never amazes me how literal I have to be on here sometimes.
          Fine…. 100’s of miles!!!

          • True Green // July 12, 2018 at 10:07 pm //

            If you were literal you’d have nothing to say. Every comment you make is a wild exaggeration.

          • How many hundreds? Because Calgary is 180 miles from the SK border, and Edmonton is 145 miles from Lloydminster. Winnipeg is 202 miles from Moosomin, which is ten miles from the border.

            The reason I used these locations is that a) they are all close to the SK border; and b) I know people from each of these SK centers attend CFL games in Regina.

            LLoydminster to Regina = 300+ miles
            Alsask to Regina = 240 miles
            Moosomin to Regina = 130 miles

            I guess I can see why people in Moosomin choose the Riders over the Bombers, but what about Lloydminster and Alsask?

      • Jeff Garcia's Agent // July 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm //

        Except for the Two NLL Championships in the last 3 years. How the Roughnecks doing these days? I’ll answer that for you. Not winning Championships, just like every single other team in Calgary.

      • Tailgate YYC // July 12, 2018 at 3:38 pm //

        You are an ASS.

      • Komodo Dragon // July 12, 2018 at 3:51 pm //

        Kind of like the space between your ears Stampending. Nothing for 1000’s of miles

      • Ridersrule // July 12, 2018 at 7:53 pm //

        Wow that is getting to be an old overplayed excuse.

      • True Green // July 12, 2018 at 10:06 pm //

        Right. That’s why the Sask Rush sells out most home games, WHL is generally well attended (not in saskatoon), and all this football attention during the summer which is a beautiful 3 months of lake season. Let me explain what lake season is to you, as you don’t have those in Alberta. That’s when you leave the city and go spend time in nature surrounded by trees and a large body of water. It tends to be full of fish and provides lots of enjoyable activities like swimming and boating. And these lakes aren’t overcrowded because we have more than 3 of them.

        Riders football just so happens to be one of the things that the great people of Saskatchewan LOVE to support and we are a truly community based province.

        And just a reminder, if there’s nothing to do for thousand of miles and Calgary is only 600 kilometres away, I guess there’s nothing to do in Calgary?

        Enjoy your easy 4-0 start to the season. I really hope Bo isnt hurt bad you’re going to need him to keep your flow of vomit on this site.

      • I love how Rider fans in Toronto and Vancouver and Montreal will choose to attend games there and choose to watch THEIR team on TV. Despite having many entertainment choices, they follow the club. That’s passion.

    • Littlegreenfan // July 12, 2018 at 7:50 pm //

      Well said!

  3. I’m proud of Calgary’s numbers, considering our opponents to date, haven’t been big draws for us traditionally. Consider too, we are competing against Buck Shot, Stampede Wrestling and Monty’s traveling reptile show for the local viewer.

    • Huff's Neighbor // July 12, 2018 at 2:05 pm //

      And most Cowtownarians would rather watch Buck Shot, wrestling and a reptile show. Can’t blame them for that.

      • Stampeding // July 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm //

        Saskatchewan is just too boring….Thousands of miles of nothingness. There are so many attractions in and outside Calgary. Saskatchewan people are too bored…hey, lets watch th Riders lose again…lol…

        • Stumpeaters // July 12, 2018 at 2:22 pm //

          This falls on the stamps promo department. They need to seel the game to the fans and make it the “thing” to do in town. Like they did years ago. Now, its the thing NOT to do. Its an afterthought

    • Puck hog // July 12, 2018 at 2:42 pm //

      Red Jerry, you’re probably also proud of the way the Stamps choke in the big game, lol. What a schmuck!!

      • No I’m proud my team consistently content year in year out, decade in decade out.
        All the problems with QB’s and lack of depth going on in Sask, just haven’t happened in Calgary for 30 years.

  4. Stumpeaters // July 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm //

    Riders averaging over 100,000 more than the stumps? Wow.

  5. RicoBeBlue&Gold // July 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm //

    I would love to see the Als be little better (a post for another time). If we could come close to true parity I would imagine viewership numbers would look better.

  6. The Stampeders are easy to dislike.

  7. Thanks to the Riders and the western teams for driving the TV numbers.
    There is no breakdown of the numbers to determine who is watching where. For instance the Esks at Toronto game was 477k, there could be 400k viewers from the west watching that game and 77k in the east, we don’t know, all we know is a total across Canada was 477k.
    We also don’t know what age group is watching either. The US ratings usually have it broken down by age group. We never see that with the Canadian TV ratings.

    But it’s obvious that when west teams are playing the TV ratings are higher, which is not surprising.

    • Still better than your soccer team drawing 38k across Canada

      • But, but, but TFC is a wildly successful big league team. Just ask the media who desperately try to pump them up (just like the Raptors).

  8. I hate the doubleheaders.Play one game on Sundays before the NFL starts

  9. Can someone tell me the methodology used to get these numbers? If I am watching at home, how do they know if I am by myself or watching with 8 friends? Or if there are 10 people or 100 people watching at a bar? What if everyone put the next game on 2 TVs in their house? Would ratings double? Thanks to anyone who can answer.

    • Because they are watching you back through the TV. They can see your entire livingroom, bedroom and any other room you have a TV.
      TV was created by the US government in the 1940’s to spy on us.

    • all great questions

  10. The Rider numbers are easy to explain.
    1. Once a Rider fan always a Rider fan.
    2. Saskatchewan’s biggest export is it’s people (sorry Brad Wall, this is true – even a snake oil salesman / ex-Disc Jockey like yourself moved away). So Rider fans have moved everywhere.
    3. Rider fans care about the CFL and will watch other teams play as well.

    • Steve J. // July 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm //

      Not just Rider fans, Newt. I’m a Tiger-Cat season ticket holder and I watch almost every other game on TSN, including Saskatchewan’s (Hsssssss!) Its so much more entertaining than that other leagues down south. I love the Canadian ratio and the fact it gives our kids a place to play the game at the Pro level.

    • Not so. I know from school, people who moved here in their mid-teens, were rider fans and some had parents who held rider season tickets,,,,, I’d say 80% eventually became Stamp fans.
      And why wouldn’t you? You came here for a better life, why wouldn’t you embrace everything about it eventually??

      • If they “became stamp fans” they were never a true Rider fan. We don’t switch allegiances – plain and simple!

      • Ridersrule // July 12, 2018 at 8:01 pm //

        You constantly pull random figures out of your butt . Oh never mind you watched it on family feud , makes sense now .

  11. NFL usually starts at 11 a.m. on Sundays. That said, I would watch a CFL Sunday game over NFL in a blink.

    For those who are NFL and CFL fans there’s always PVR.

  12. These numbers are kinda fascinating and tell a story… These are some giant numbers this week. And, it’s great that Sask is Canada’s team… NFL has the Cowboys, we have the Roughriders.

    Montreal… is probably right in there once you count the RDS numbers (which you should include pls). If Montreal had an amazing stadium and fan experience like Sask… they’d prob be selling out too!

  13. If the CFL can post big numbers on TV consistently and draw bigger attendance… the next broadcast deal should be HUGE! Like $60,000 next time around.

    • Yeah, I’m suprised the CFL TV deals aren’t worth billions like the NFL. I mean, lets ignore the silly details like population etc. That’s just business stuff. Amazing how little people understand of how the world actually works.

  14. Great job reporting on this Drew.

  15. Tailgate YYC // July 12, 2018 at 3:47 pm //

    I’m seeing the Stamps lower attendance and tv numbers so far this season as a sign of how little our ownership cares. Apart from QR77 radio, I do not see or hear any advertising or even the slightest buzz in this city.
    Now I do blame some of the negative energy on our local blogging dolt but Our ownership seems to be absent. I fear we are returning to the Feterik days.

    • YYC – Actually just saw a really decent TV commercial pumping the upcoming Montreal game. Talking about a big tailgate/beer gardens etc.

      It is Montreal….but it’s a start.

    • Littlegreenfan // July 12, 2018 at 8:18 pm //

      Even 960 doesn’t care lol!!

  16. While the Riders are my favourite team, I watch less of their games on TV than any other team as I have a season ticket so go to half their games. I’m a CFL fan in general though, so I watch every game. Go Riders!

  17. Those are actually really good numbers when you consider that the SSK offense that Chris Jones is putting on the field is very underwhelming. The offense is basically a timeout until the defense can get back on the field and maybe we get a chance to score again.

  18. I love the CFL. I love it more than NHL or NFL and I certainly care more about the Stampeders than I do the Flames. However I’m a realist, and I know the CFL is considered a small time, 2nd tier league by the majority. The inverse relationship between a markets population and CFL attendance in that market, is not a coincidence.
    Sask can brag about attendance all they want, but the CFL is not everything nor are local sports in general.
    Lets face it, and this isn’t a knock, it’s reality; the CFL brings Sask to the table with the larger cities in terms of popular cultural significance. They embrace it and that’s great!!!!! But don’t think lower interest in other places is the ultimate judgement on a city.

    • Huff's Neighbor // July 12, 2018 at 5:22 pm //

      The obsession continues. Let’s face it, you’re a loser with no friends, no talents, no job, so this is as good as it gets for you. At least it’s something.

    • MR. Green // July 12, 2018 at 5:30 pm //

      Saskatchewan is not a wannabe follow city. We don’t care what others do or have. We have all that here but a smaller scale. We don’t need that fancy BS. We have our own things going on here every week, from festivals, to sports. Our camp grounds are always packed. We have more lakes than any place in the world and great fishing. Many of us miss games through the season during to commitments, but are following our team.
      This province resembles community and we have our rivlaries but have each other’s support.
      Don’t disrespect us. You dont Live here. I’ve been to big cities and stayed for a while one time. They IMO, would suck to live in. They have nothing special more than here. Just more of it. In fact I prefer Sask from over 15-20 years ago than now. Too many have moved here in the last 15 years.

      • I’m not disrespecting you. If you don’t care what others have, why the need to boast about your new stadium and belittle Calgary in the process?

        • You truly have no idea of what you sat DAILY. 100% of the time you start on Sask, their fan base and the Province. Always first to post and last to leave.

          Then you play the old “I didn’t say that” card. Most comments here are directed back at you. They are not ditected at all Calgarians, fans, and often not the team. It’s because you are pompous and have an unhealthy hate on for all things Saskatchewan – period!

        • Ridersrule // July 12, 2018 at 8:12 pm //

          Do you ever think before you post ? You belittle the riders our province and our stadium numerous times.

    • Lets face it, the Riders are the largest draw even in the larger cities where fans supposedly have so many better things to do.
      Stampeding is a small time, 2nd tier fan.
      Go Riders.

    • You are right.

      That’s why Rider fans are superior to Stamps fans in the CFL. It doesn’t really matter how Flames fans match up; that’s apples to oranges. When you compare apples to apples, the Riders do better.

      It isn’t really any different from counting Grey Cups. Calgary has more, that’s all there is to it.

      Riders have more CFL fans. End of story.

  19. Margaret Marshall // July 12, 2018 at 5:34 pm //

    Stampeding makes some good points. We are all CFL fans here and growing our viewership is important. We may not be top tier in the scheme of things but we need to pursue and protect our share of the pie. Advertising and promotionals are important to grow our viewership. The US market is a juggernaut and we can’t compete against it but we can cater to and develop a smaller base that should be viable over time. Stats don’t tell the whole story. We have a good product in the CFL. It takes time and foresight to grow a franchise. I think we are going in the right direction.

    • We have/are establishing our place in the market. Every team can survive because of the TSN deal. Yes attendance needs to be higher, but 30,000 plus at every game like the riders have is not realistic.

      • Still don’t understand, Thursday games as opposed to Sunday?. With the economy the way it is, more families are choosing staycations in the summer months. What not hit a football game ?

        • Stampeding // July 12, 2018 at 6:22 pm //

          I don’t see Sunday afternoon games in the summer as popular draws. There is just so much more people like to do in the summer. Have you noticed there are a lot less people around in July and August???
          After Labour day, I love the Saturday afternoon games and would enjoy some Sunday afternoons too (of course we know there is always at least 1 Sunday afternoon game in mid-November)
          Unfortunately,this year, we only have Friday or Saturday nighters, which suck in the fall!

      • For whom?

  20. Drew, could you do an article (articles?) about what works in various CFL sites to bring fans to the site? I’m thinking about the total experience, the game plus tailgating or a restaurant meal before or after the game, maybe a shopping center at hand. I hear that Ottawa got this right but I haven’t visited and don’t know the details. My preference is success for every team.

  21. Rude4life // July 12, 2018 at 6:31 pm //

    Hey stampeding it should be reality for every team to hit 30000 plus like Saskatchewan. As Saskatchewan a province with a million people hits 30000 fans a game. Cities with close to a million should be hitting these numbers. As in Saskatchewan a person can drive up to 5 or 6 or hrs or more to see a game spend money on hotels food ect. As in city you can drive to game and go home after game. So yes I’m see Saskatchewan as Canada team standing behind a team with a whole province of a million people. It’s the support the team gets and it should be every team standing behind their team. We have had crowds of 30000 people even before the new stadium. Just cant figure out why the other teams can’t pull the crowds to cheer on their team. Explain that to me stampeder lol

    • Again. You just don’t understand…. bigger population doesn’t mean more people should be attending the game. It doesn’t work that way. It’s not that simple

    • I’ve had season tickets for over 15 years and drive 6 hours each way for Riders home games… some fans are just more committed.

  22. Rider4life // July 12, 2018 at 6:33 pm //

    Sorry it should say Rider4life dam keys.

  23. Alright guys. logging off soon. Time to get into my pregame prep

  24. Rider4life // July 12, 2018 at 8:38 pm //

    Lol not simple stampeding.1 million people cant have 30000 people at a game in a city. But a province of a million can draw people from over 6 hrs away to support their team. I say that’s pretty simple. It’s called RIDER PRIDE WIN OR LOSE we stand behind our teams. The Rush came to saskatoon from Edmonton and we pull in 10 to 15000 fans as Edmonton wouldn’t support them along with 3 championships since they got here 4 yrs ago.

  25. Rider4life // July 12, 2018 at 8:40 pm //

    Hey Sean I use to drive the last 8 yrs from north Edmonton to games in regina just over 8 hrs. But lived in meadowlake and brock sk drove from there before that. Now lloydminister and only 5 to 6 hrs lol.

  26. I’ve even met American season ticket holders at Riders games, from places like North Dakota. They say it’s cheaper to pay for travel/accommodations and tickets here than it is NFL season tickets. I’ve heard some crazy figures for NFL season tickets before, like $20k in some places for some seats.

  27. OldBaldGuy // July 12, 2018 at 9:50 pm //

    I’m a Rider guy and many of the peeps here are pretty ignorant toward Stampeding. Save your vitriol for some red trolls who actually deserve it.

  28. Ratings are up because attendance is down ——tickets too expensive across the board

  29. Philski // July 13, 2018 at 3:14 am //

    That’s nice. More importantly, as a TC fan…let’s go kick some Rider ass next Thursday…I don’t believe we’ll see another repeat of Bridge (over troubled waters) again.

  30. Harrison // July 13, 2018 at 12:35 pm //

    Drew – how hard would it be to add in the RDS numbers to get a true picture of who is watching across the country? The numbers are skewed for every team that plays Montreal (and Ottawa to an extent). Next time you do ratings, can you add TSN + RDS for a true number?

  31. Backside shoulder // July 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm //

    In Calgary tickets can be had for 10 bucks with good seats (well McMahon quality seats). I was at a sports store and saw a wall of Rider jerseys as well as Eskimos and Bombers. I said where are the Stampeders jerseys and was told that he Stamps can’t sell merchandise so they limit its sales. Most sales are for road teams coming into Calgary.
    The fact is the Stamps are not relevant in calgary. With over a million people in it, 25,000 shouldn’t be a problem to sell.

    Riders have marketed themselves as a brand and as something to build on. They have taken their franchise and made it like the Yankees, Maple Leafs of the CFL. Lots of fans and polarizing. Seeing stampedeing and his multiple personas is proof that the Riders have made themselves relevant

  32. Colin Unger // July 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm //

    Edmonton and Winnipeg are negatively skewed due to the longest game in tsn history due to lightning storm.

  33. Just came back from having spent a day in Calgary while on holidays. Couldn’t wait to leave! City does nothing for me. Couldn’t think of one think I liked about it. Best thing about Calgary is seeing it in the rear view mirror as you drive away.

  34. Sliders nothing else to do in Sasksy tip some cows Mickey mouse yup yup yup yup yup

  35. Cleveland Steamer // July 18, 2018 at 4:42 pm //

    Imagine if Johnny Football was starting QB for Hamilton? I bet they could have broken the 1,000,000 mark.

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