CFL ratings report: Redblacks (and Stamps) drag the whole week down

After a stellar start to the 2018 season, the CFL’s TV ratings took a minor hit in Week 5, largely due to the low numbers generated by one game.

Thursday’s match up between Calgary and Ottawa posted an audience of just 278,000, easily the lowest-rated game of the season and the poorest showing since a Week 13 game last September.

That contest – which drew a paltry 190,000 viewers on TSN – also featured the Redblacks who were in Montreal to face the Alouettes. In fact, when we looked at TV ratings for the 2017 season last week, one thing that stood out were the surprisingly low numbers for the Ottawa Redblacks whose 434,400 average audience was the second-lowest in the CFL (trailing only Montreal, whose numbers don’t include French-language RDS.)

That trend has continued into 2018: the Redblacks currently have the lowest average TV audience in the CFL with just 415,375 viewers (Montreal is next at 494,725.) And despite a tough week, the league’s overall numbers are up more than three per cent while Ottawa’s numbers are down almost 4.5 per cent.

Now, the game was a blowout – Calgary won 27-3 – so that was likely a contributing factor and, as we showed a couple of weeks ago, Thursday games typically perform worse than games on Fridays at Saturdays: even with a ginormous, Rider-fuelled number on a Thursday in Week 4, Saturday games are still tops this season.

Comparing numbers on a week-to-week basis is also a challenge: in 2017, there were five games on the slate while the addition of a third bye week this season means there were just three on the schedule in 2018. Average viewership for Week 5 was down almost 10 per cent year-over-year.

Week 5 ratings

Calgary at Ottawa: 278,000

Toronto at Edmonton: 517,500

Winnipeg at B.C.: 499,000

Week 5, 2018 (three games) vs 2017 (five games): -9.8 per cent
Year-to-date vs 2017: +3.3 per cent

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.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1570 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.

95 Comments on CFL ratings report: Redblacks (and Stamps) drag the whole week down

  1. Gainer1 // July 19, 2018 at 3:17 pm //

    Not too many folks have “the cable” in ole McMahon stadium town. Just like their stadium they are back in the 60’s

  2. Stampeding // July 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm //

    Don’t forget, you’re talking about the last weekend of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.. I’m sure that harmed Calgary’s rating.
    World Cup, apathy of watching a predicable result, all played factors too.

    • Green&Gold // July 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm //

      And no one in Calgary cares about the stamps and the CFL.

    • Ya…that must be it. Couldn’t possibly be that nobody gave a sh*t.

    • Si1ver Fox // July 19, 2018 at 5:21 pm //

      Team Home Avg. % of Capacity
      BC 20,182.0 73.39%

      Calgary 23,585.5 66.16%

      Edmonton 30,637.0 55.09%

      Hamilton 23,721.0 97.62%

      Montreal 18,108.0 77.06%

      Ottawa 24,224.0 98.25%

      Sask 31,230.0 93.64%

      Toronto 14,323.0 53.05%

      Winnipeg 26,012.5 78.77%

      League Ave24,202.6 72.11%

      What was that you were saying about the greatest team with the best fans?

      • MR. Green // July 19, 2018 at 5:33 pm //

        If Mosaic held only 24,000 fans too it would be 100%. Edmonton tons 55% is not a fair assessment. Its like calling Montreal the best fans when they were selling out at 20,000.
        Poor argument.
        IMOI don’t put the Rider fans above all, even though across the street country we sell ore than every team put together for merchandise, but all teams have a great fans, just more in so e places. Those Toronto fans who show up deserve credit. Thanks goodness for them.

      • Attendance is clearly falling in Regina. No more sellouts… what’s going on??

        • Si1ver Fox // July 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm //

          Sellout, surprised you know what that is in Calgary. You know the largest city in Alberta who can’t fill up 2/3’s of the stadium. Oh right, you guys sell out when the Sliders are there….

      • This is very interesting… thanks. I remember when attendance averaged 28,000 when Larry (?) the commissioner started the US expansion program. Nowadays, it’s kinda reversed where we have huge TV viewership with lower attendance.

        In Vancouver, for example – it’s a great stadium and experience, but getting to it can be such a pain with the horrible traffic in the city. People from the suburbs (who are a major demographic), need to drive and don’t want to park and ride. So it’s a hassle for them to bring their kids, fight traffic for 1.5hrs, pay $35 for parking and face a long drive home. Having big screen TV’s with theatre sound makes it so much easier to stay and enjoy the game at home.

        If I drive to Seattle to watch the Hawks, it’s comparatively easy to drive right up to the stadium and park. And getting back onto I-5 is fast. Once BC drops the via-ducts it will even be worse here.

        This in my mind contributes to the lack of attendance in BC, coupled with a not so competitive product on the field and MLS soccer.

    • World Cup games were earlier in the day

  3. Just saying // July 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm //

    Agree with all the above, the rodeo didn’t help although I do agree nobody cares for the stumps.

  4. dangnabbit // July 19, 2018 at 3:33 pm //

    Calgary had the Stampede and Ottawa had Bluesfest.

  5. Yes, and true fans follow their teams.

  6. I just realized something about Calgary:
    We have the Stampede: The Greatest outdoor show on Earth, more people come to Stampede Park than live in Saskatchewan.
    We have the Calgary Stampeders: best football team on Earth.
    We also have the band The Stampeders: one of the best bands ever. Sweet City Women is the most listened to song on Earth

    • Crooked Hillary // July 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm //

      Yes, Calgary is simply the best, just like me. That’s why I won the election. Oh wait a minute…

    • And you are the most brainless creature on the planet.

      BTW – it’s Sweet City Woman

      • Stampeder Summer // July 19, 2018 at 4:12 pm //

        Indeed it is Sweet City Woman.
        I realized that error as soon as I sent the message.
        I bet there are 1000’s listening to it right now

        • Puck Hog // July 19, 2018 at 5:15 pm //

          You’re caught in a time warp.
          And no one listens to The Stampeders. Mostly because they’re from Calgary. And no one likes Calgary mostly because that’s where you are. And it looks like you missed the morning train…….

        • Puck Hog // July 19, 2018 at 6:09 pm //

          ……and talk about banjo pickers……

    • The most listened to song is Some Kind of Wonderful and the writer of the song lives in Hamilton, Canada.

    • MR. Green // July 19, 2018 at 5:39 pm //

      Bing Crosby has the highest selling song ever in the world and most listened too. Stampeders aren’t even in the all-time top 1000. Tragically Hip are the best Canadian Band ever btw. A better lost of music.

    • Don’t forget Ottawa had that huge festival also….

      • Yep and they had it last year and the year before, Calgary had the Stampede last year and the year before. So what difference does it make this year compared to others?

        It’s like Argo fans blaming the Saturday games low attendance because the Jays are at home too. But TFC can sell out BMO when the Jays are at home too.

    • Rrider20 // July 20, 2018 at 4:56 pm //

      dude seriously just stop.. your weird I’m from Calgary superiority complex over other people is sad and pathetic. just because some people don’t live in/ or even like to be in your cesspool of a city, doesn’t make them less of a human being. your sad infatuation with anything Roughriders or Regina/Saskatchewan is borderline psychotic. grow up you uncultured swine! thanks.

  7. Scottsask // July 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm //

    1000’s of your personalities? Not sure that counts.

  8. Green&Gold // July 19, 2018 at 4:26 pm //

    Winnipeg/BC game even slaughtered the stamps game

  9. TicatTO // July 19, 2018 at 4:37 pm //

    Trolls trolling trolls.
    Perhaps it’s time to shut down the comments section altogether.

    • MR. Green // July 19, 2018 at 4:45 pm //

      TSN lost a ton of people to Sportsnet after they shut commenting down. 3down needs a comment section for more regular and repeated site visits. There’s trolls on every site, will never change. People like Red and 51 are why TSN shut it down. Just amxiuosly waiting for when he gets the boot again and we can have a couple days of sensible and respectful conversations.

  10. Do you slider fans slag the stumps just because of one poster ? Are you rednecks all the same or besides being very thin skinned, you are notoriously envious of the stumps? Guys like YUP/DORK are so jealous of the stumps you use manyhandles as a scapegoat!!
    What a bunch of l$$sers!!!

  11. Leo Lewis // July 19, 2018 at 4:48 pm //

    For the most part, this has been the dullest opening few weeks to a CFL season in recent memory. Far too many uncompetitive games, and even most of the close games haven’t been terribly exciting.

    It may only be a coincidence, but 14 out of the 19 games played to this point have been non-divisional games. Given the systemic imbalance between the two divisions, it’s time to have each team play more games against divisional opponents and fewer against teams from the other division.

    • dangnabbit // July 19, 2018 at 5:03 pm //

      It’s not a coincidence. They tend to save divisional games for later in the season. This means that more teams late in the season control their own destinies – rather than having to hope for their rivals to lose, they have the chance to deal them a loss in person.

  12. Evil Empire // July 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm //

    200K-300K ppl did not go to the Stampede on one specific night. Which automatically begs the question. What were the folks in Ott doing ?

    Ppl probably tuned in and considering Cgy has fallen in love with black. Folks thought it some weird intra-squad game. Get rid of the stinking black, and go back to white. How in a league of 9 teams can you have two teams wearing the exact same colours ? It’s bush league.

    Face it. Ppl expect Cgy to win most games. Nobody wants to watch a sporting event where the outcome seems predetermined. Everybody knows that if you want to see Cgy lose. You tune in during October, and November.

    • Puck Hog // July 19, 2018 at 5:17 pm //


    • There were over 32,000 at the Western Final last year

      • Lmao, that’s nothing to brag about. Can’t even sellout a playoff game… pathetic “fans”..

    • Agree, the similarity of uniforms is a huge error in judgement, and fails utterly to promote the game, while even making the game difficult to watch.

    • Do ONLY people in both cities watch the CFL when their teams are playing. Do CFL fans in other cities watch CFL when their team isn’t playing??
      Never mind “what were people doing in Ottawa”, we know that 22,000 of them were actually at the game.
      But what were people in BC, Edmonton, Sask, Man and Ontario outside of Ottawa watching?
      Was it blacked out ??

  13. Dundas dude // July 19, 2018 at 5:12 pm //

    The Calgary/Ottawa game was pretty bad. When Scheer becomes PM in 2019, Ottawa will be a more popular place.

  14. Backside shoulder // July 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm //

    Say what you want about the events in Calgary. If the fans are as dedicated and passionate as Stampeder bummer says they are, more would watch the game. Fact of the matter is Calgary thinks it’s a much bigger city than it is, and the fans have no love for anything in the city.
    When I can go to the stadium and buy tickets for 20 bucks. When I walk downtown and there is not a single stamps jersey.
    When I go to Jersey City in south centre mall and they say that stamps jerseys and paraphernalia does not sell that is why it’s in the back of the store. It’s not about events, it’s about no one caring.

  15. Good thought Dundas…

  16. Hey backside…sounds like more fake news. I dont live in stumpland, but, i have visited stampede and it is huge. I saw many flames and Stamps ball caps this STAMPEDE. Do you want to wear a jersey in 31c heat? Be real, not envious. Are you from Regina?
    Huge stamps and flames sale of goods and it is not hard to see. You have only one game in town.

  17. TouchDownBC // July 19, 2018 at 5:28 pm //

    Lions unbeaten in BC Place…next victim up?

  18. Good comment MVP
    Here is something to know
    The daily Stampede rodeo and chuck-wagon races each bring in approx 25,000 people. That’s 10 days X 2 events per day.
    Imagine holding 2 CFL games per day for 10 straight days. Could you do it Regina?????
    We also support 4 events at Spruce Meadows every summer.These can draw 80,000 per day and over 225,000,000 for an entire weekend event.

  19. Next weekend, over 50,000 will attend the Folk Music Festival. This year it will feature Joe Jackson, so the crowds could grow even larger

  20. White Horse // July 19, 2018 at 6:06 pm //

    The STAMPEDE attendance is annually around 1.2 million. People don’t wear sports team gear but there are more cowboy/cowgirl hats and boots than all of Texas in 10 day event. Nothing looks better than a cowgirl in hat, boots and some wheat a skirt too!! Yahoo
    Thus, no Stamp home game for two weeks.

  21. White Horse // July 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm //

    Oops…wheat is WEAR…

  22. Backside shoulder // July 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm //

    I am referring to being a resident of southern Alberta and my observations of the people of Calgary.

    Flames fans are visible when the only when the team is winning. Stamps fans are virtually unseen.

    Though I missed this years stampede as I was in Las Vegas for work, my statements are observations and experiences.

    I have got tickets for 20.00 on game day at the stadium. I was at Jersey City when the clerk said Stamps gear does not sell; hence it being in the back.
    Game day is noticeable in Edmonton, or Winnipeg. You see fans wearing gear. You see people talking about the game in restaurants and bars.
    Again my experiences and observations are what I am basing my statements on. Calgary has marketed themselves like Toronto, Montreal, and Hamilton as a niche experience.

    • Stampeder Summer // July 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm //

      Guess what….. most employers in Calgary would frown on employees wearing Flames/Stamps jersey’s on game days!

      • Glue Factory // July 19, 2018 at 7:32 pm //

        Totally wrong. Its encouraged. Just like jeans on Friday. But since you are unemployed you wouldn’t know.

        • Stampeder Summer // July 19, 2018 at 10:12 pm //

          Umm no it’s not.
          Maybe if you’re blue collar or work in a very casual environment. If you think you’re going to where a flames jersey to work each flames game in corporate Calgary, you are sadly mistaken- expect maybe a designated day.
          Jeans on Friday? That was the 1990’s buddy.

  23. Well maybe if they had the 69 group performing like they did tonight at halftime theyd have better numbers lol

  24. Calgary fans take their outstanding football team totally for granted.

  25. Why are these people judging ?
    So many haters against the Stamps….but guess what… That makes me realize, that y’all don’t have a life and nothing better to do than knock teams down….I have opinions on some other teams…but they stay to myself. And what’s this ? We take our football team for granted? HOW??

  26. Tailgate YYC // July 20, 2018 at 3:06 pm //

    Small crowd for Montreal this week.
    Looks like under 25000 again.
    Not good. Ownership better take note…!!

  27. McMahon Stadium in Calgary is a dump #1. The Mayor Nenshi is not a sports guy in the least, he likes ballet & the arts. They keep adding more overpriced food at McMahon thinking that matters. It does not. #2 biggest problem is the Stampeders choking in so many Grey Cups and big games over the years. I gave up tickets in disgust after last 2 Grey Cup chokes. Bo Levi Mitchell is endless talk and freezes up when it matters.

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