Early Start to the Season Gives CFL a TV Ratings Bump


An earlier start to the season may have provided the CFL with a quick boost in their television ratings.

Rights holder TSN posted a 12 per cent increase in their Week 1 viewership numbers over 2017, despite the fact the season has been moved up by a week. The 2018 campaign kicked off on June 14 while last year’s regular season began on June 22.

The most-watched game of the week was Friday’s contest between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Argonauts at Mosaic Stadium in Regina with an average audience of 660,500 English-language viewers. That was followed closely by the Calgary Stampeders’ game with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which drew 651,700 on Saturday.

Thursday’s season opener between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Edmonton Eskimos was split into two separate segments because of a weather delay that caused TSN to go to SportsCentre. The second portion of the game actually drew a higher rating (505,000) than the first (457,000.) For the purposes of the overall average, we’ve split the difference (481,000.)

Saturday’s late game between the B.C. Lions and the Montreal Alouettes drew 547,600 – a very respectable number, given that both teams missed the playoffs last season and saw some low TV numbers.

The average audience for the four-games was 585,200, an 11.7 per cent jump from the 523,750 the opening slate drew in 2017.



  1. Agreed Bagoverheadguy. Perhaps you can enlighten why the BC Lions back in the 80s could attract 50,000 plus and today have trouble filling the lower bowl. The lower attendance cries out for Empire Stadium or some sort of smaller outdoor venue


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