"Good for the Score to provide full coverage of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's basketball tournament last weekend. A year ago, the CIS games conflicted with the Score's coverage of the U.S. college men's basketball tournament and ended up streamed on the Internet. The Score's tournament average audience of 77,000 is a record." (Emphasis mine.)
A lot went into the improved ratings -- the double-overtime drama between Acadia and Carleton, was definitely a big factor; so was having a school with the alumni base of Western reach the semi-final and not having the tournament go up against the first round of the NCAAs.
The biggest factor might be the in-depth coverage that cishoops.ca and Streaming Sports Network Canada, provide on the web. Their service to a niche audience probably seems to have had an effect on bringing a few more average fans, and it certainly motivates newspapers to write more about the leagues and stimulate interest. People are more likely to tune in when they actually know a little about the teams and when there's a chance that they might run into someone the next day who's also versed.
Last, but not least, credit The Score. Both the behind-the-scenes people and the on-air talent (Tim Micallef, Sherm Hamilton and Arash Madani) got it right. Obviously, it's expensive to stage a CIS telecast for a niche audience, but they always treat what they're doing like a big-time property, not as something they air as an act of charity, which is often the vibe that you'd get in the past with TSN.