Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TV Numbers For CFL Playoffs Take A Nosedive

All those empty seats in Montreal and Edmonton for last Sunday's CFL playoff games aren't the only things outgoing commissioner Mark Cohon sees in his nightmares. The television ratings from last Sunday's division semifinals no doubt have him bolting upright in bed and screaming in horror.

The West semi between Saskatchewan and Edmonton averaged 1,267,000 viewers on TSN -- a 20 per cent drop from the ratings for last year's playoff game between Saskatchewan and B.C. Much more scream-inducing was the East semi between the B.C. Lions and Montreal Alouettes, which saw audiences plummet 40 per cent from the 1.45 million who watched last year's version between Toronto and Hamilton.

The only good news that came out of the weekend for TSN was the fact that the two CFL games ranked second and third among all sports programming, finishing well ahead of everything but perennial ratings-topper Hockey Night In Canada.

Nothing the NFL offered up came close, so there's that. Maybe football fans were too busy raking leaves (or shovelling snow) to watch TV that day.

But considering that the league saw ratings drop 6 per cent this season, this could be part of a disturbing trend. If fewer people watch during the regular season, it's only natural that fewer people will be interested in what follows.

There were a few mitigating factors that might help Cohon and his cohorts sleep a little easier -- or at least not wake up so often -- and still hold out hope that this year's Grey Cup will be a hit.

The West playoff game was a pretty uninspired affair, with both teams fielding shaky backup quarterbacks and little being generated in the way of offence. On the other hand, the game was competitive and the outcome was in doubt right up until the final two minutes. Regardless, any time you can draw more than a million viewers you shouldn't be too concerned.

The East semi suffered from the fact that only one team appeared to be trying to win as the Alouettes basically ran the Lions off the field. The fact that an average of 874,000 viewers watched the game isn't that discouraging. After all, there's little doubt that the only viewers hanging in for the fourth quarter were either relatives of the Alouettes or the kind of people who enjoy visiting abbatoirs on their vacations.

But even with all those factors considered, there are disturbing signs. This marks the second straight ratings decrease for the East semifinal and the audience for last year's Grey Cup experienced a 17 per cent drop from the previous year.

This could all be ancient history by Sunday if the two division finals produce great games and great audiences. The potential certainly is there with plenty of bad blood in both games.

But with so few people interested in the semi-finals, those will have to be superb games to reverse that trend.

(Yahoo Sports)


Herbie said...

It is a real mystery as to why the CFL would schedule any games on a Sunday to compete with NFL Sunday.
TSN needs to step in and tell the CFL to smarten up!

Friday Night or Saturday is the key to getting more viewers. The CFL should avoid Sunday games at all costs, save for the Grey Cup which is the only game that can compete for Canadian viewers of the NFL.

Oddly enough, NFL games are on free CTV, while the CFL games are on pay cable.

Anonymous said...

Could also be a sign of TSN screwing up Saskatoon's broadcast, put on the Winnipeg Jets game on the channel that the East Semifinal was on. So you know what there was probably a few thousand that didn't watch the game. If that happened anywhere else it wouldn't take much to have 10 to 15 k not watching the game.

Anonymous said...

If Cohon wanted to sleep maybe he should have developed some referees. I've talked to several people that quit watching CFL games this year because it seems like there is a flag on every play. That seems to be their biggest complaint.

Anonymous said...

this league will be on life support in 5 years. the popularity of the nfl is surging past anything the cfl can handle. there will less than 35 k in bc for grey cup

Anonymous said...

Cohon is getting out at the right time. Things are starting to crumble. Coincidence?

peter dalla riva

Anonymous said...

Herbie speaks the truth!

Anonymous said...

Reasons in my opinion why the CFL has suffered this season.

I used to be a diehard CFl fan. I would get pumped up about Tor vs Cal on Friday night football.It didn't matter. I knew all the scores and all the players and watched pretty much every game. This year it was different.

1. Flags. Like the one guy said - waaaaay too many flags. All these things that weren't supposed to slow the game down...well they have. name it. Games are tough to watch. (Oh and stupid tsn stats and flashback cutaways after everyplay...getting to be over the top)

2. Schedule...wasn't interested in watching games October and will not go to a home or even consider a road game when it gets to November.

3.Scoring...the games were either a blow out or less than 30 points total being scored. The quality suffered this season.

4.Ticket prices - It is a small fortune to go to the games.

5. Rider talk - The talk about the Riders on the radio and media is too much. I am so sick of dissecting every little thing. I don't even enjoy the games cause the microscope on the players all week long is just too much to take.

That's my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Regarding point #5 of Randall's list:

there is a small thing on your radio which enables one to turn it off. Also, there should be another dial which enables you to change the channel. At least there is on my radio

Those who want to listen can, those who don't can do something else, just saying.

Old Hank

Anonymous said...

@ Randall

#5 Rider talk. I wouldn't mind them analysing everything if they could do it without bias but they don't. It's like they are all sitting in the studio wearing little green cheerleading outfits.

Hank; I did find the little button on my radio and haven't listened for months.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Grandpa, tell us more about this radio. Turn a dial to turn it off? change the channel? Sounds like a lot of work, would rather not listen period, too much work. My audio listening has tap screen/remote control.

Anonymous said...

David Braley is the problem - why do you think Cohon is leaving ????? Yes, Braley helped the League survive - I will give him that. BUT, he is a dominating force at the table and whatever David says, goes. His views and wishes are not always in the best interest of the League - a bit of a bully in some respects .....