Canadian TV Ratings [Sports]: November 6-8, 2015

TSN (image via Bell Media)

TSN’s five feeds strategy might be hurting the CFL (image via Bell Media)

With baseball officially out of the picture, things are back to normal. I hate to say it, but things are actually quite boring — everything is pretty much where you’d expect it to be.

Hockey Night in Canada topped the weekend (of course), and it seems to be in recovery mode after being completely decimated by baseball the week before (or possibly baseball and those dang trick-or-treaters). The early HNIC games drew a pretty much disastrous 1,580,000 viewers on Halloween, and that’s way off the 2.2 million HNIC would normally draw for its early matches on a good or average weekend. November 7’s games did better, but the numbers still aren’t great. Only 1,888,000 bothered to watch HNIC‘s early matches across the CBC and various Rogers channels.

Sundays have been football night in the US for a while, but it looks like we might as well consider it football night up here, too. Well, you can consider it football night as long as you’re talking about the NFL not the CFL. The 4/4:25 p.m. NFL games on CTV, CTV Two Atlantic and TSN4 drew 834,000 to become the weekend’s second most-watched sports event, and it more than doubled the still rather sad Hometown Hockey numbers. 

Actually, according to Yahoo Sports Canada, the CFL has hit a particularly rough patch in the ratings, too. They say that Canada’s football league is drawing an average of 590,000 viewers per game for its TSN and RDS broadcasts. Over the weekend, Friday’s Blue Bombers-Argonauts match underwhelmed with 357,000 viewers, but it’s not all doom and gloom as Saturday’s Tiger-Cats and RedBlacks game drew 634,000.

Yahoo seems to think that the overall ratings drop is due to the Pan Am Games uprooting the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats from their stadiums and brutal Jays competition. I’m not too sure why playing home games elsewhere would affect TV ratings — that seems more like an issue that would affect stadium attendance numbers than anything else.

I think TSN’s new five feeds approach is more to blame. Sometimes TSN might bump a CFL game on one feed for a regional hockey match or something random. That game might not air at all on the feed or might air a bit later. That’s gotta affect the CFL’s numbers, right? Not only does the CFL have to compete with something else, but if viewers don’t have access to digital cable or satellite and the game gets pulled from their local feed, they might not have an opportunity to see the game at all!

I’ve been catching instances where CFL matches don’t air on a team’s local TSN feed, too. It happened over the weekend when Saturday’s Tiger-Cats and RedBlacks match didn’t air on TSN4, Hamilton’s primarily feed, according to the schedule on TSN’s site. The CFL game was apparently bumped for NASCAR.

It looks like the CFL ratings decline is more of a TSN problem not a CFL problem. Actually, I think I’d be hopping mad if I was the CFL about games getting spiked from certain feeds. I’d demand TSN network coverage (that’s TSN1, TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5) for all games or walk (unless there’s some sort of local and national rights agreement that I’m unaware of). I bet the CBC would love to have the CFL back and would air most games coast to coast with no problem, but do they have the cash the CFL might want for game rights?

Anyway, check out my charts below and visit Yahoo Sports Canada at the source link for more on the weekend’s top sports.

Top sports events for Friday, November 6, 2015

Rank for day Rank for weekend Sports event Network Viewers
1 7 Penguins at the Oilers (NHL) Sportsnet 454,000
2 8 Red Wings at the Maple Leafs  (NHL) TSN4 451,000
3 13 Blue Bombers at the Argonauts (CFL) TSN 357,000

Top sports events for Saturday, November 7, 2015

Rank for day Rank for weekend Sports event Network Viewers
1 1 Hockey Night in Canada — early games (NHL) CBC/Sportsnet /Sportsnet One/City/OMNI 1,888,000
2 4 Penguins at the Flames (NHL) CBC/Sportsnet/Sportsnet One/OMNI* 712,000
3 5 Tiger-Cats at the RedBlacks (CFL) TSN1/TSN3/TSN5 634,000

Top sports events for Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rank for day Rank for weekend Sports event Network Viewers
1 2 NFL 4/4:25 p.m. games CTV/CTV Two Atlantic/TSN4** 834,000
2 3 NFL 1 p.m. games CTV/CTV Two*** 731,000
3 9 Oilers at the Blackhawks (NHL) Sportsnet 406,000

The numbers above are Numeris’ overnight ratings for sports events on English-language Canadian TV. If any of these games or events were also broadcast on an American network available in Canada, the viewers who watched the American broadcast are not included in the numbers above.

*CBC is listed as the only broadcaster for this game on Yahoo, but a Sportsnet press release says that the game aired on CBC, Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet One and OMNI.

**Yahoo has these games listed as airing on CTV but a Bell press release has them split between CTV, CTV Two and TSN4.

***Unlike what Yahoo has, Bell says in a press release that one of their 1 p.m. games aired on several CTV Two stations.

Source: Yahoo Sports Canada/Numeris