Deux Fans gets credit for the dig: Radio-Canada averaged 324,000 viewers (peak audience of 415,000) for the Laval-Queen's Mitchell Bowl game last weekend.
The glass-half-full is TSN averaged 264,000 viewers, so combined, you're talking almost 600,000 viewers for Canadian university football. The "however" is that those really are two distinct markets, so it is arguable whether they should be combined. Some would say not. TSN and RDS numbers for CFL broadcasts aren't combined. Quebec is Quebec and the ROC is the ROC.
Still, it's a raw total that shows the audience exists for CIS football. It raises questions of what could be done with a little more promotion and a committed media partnership. That kind of audience is not a one-off, even though it was a perfect storm of Laval with its large fanbase getting knocked by Queen's, whose alumni are very enthusiastic when motivated (a way of not having to say they can be fair-weather).
The glass half empty: The Mitchell Bowl, shown live, only drew 20,000 more viewers per quarter hour than a tape-delayed Uteck Bowl that was over at the end of the first quarter.
In other words, there are positives, but it could be so much more. Also, that Radio-Canada audience of 340,000 will be cut in half at least with no QUFL team in the Vanier Cup.
Huskies Football Outsider has been running a series on how to generate more revenue and season-long interest. Their idea of creating a national football commissioner sounds like a good one. The iron is hot; time to capitalize.