Football: Mitchell Bowl averages 264,000 on TSN (with a SRC simulcast)

There's a lot to like about the Laval-Queen's Mitchell Bowl averaging 264,000 viewers (via Chris Zelkovich, Sports Media Watch) on TSN last weekend.

For one, that total does not reflect Radio-Canada viewers who opted for the French commentary. It's possible the telecast averaged 400,000 on the two networks, which would put it ahead of several other sports offerings, including CBC's diet of winter sports and a Sunday afternoon Toronto Raptors game. For that matter, the late Sunday NFL games on Citytv averaged just 287,000 (although you have to assume there is at least that many watching on U.S. networks and RDS).

It's promising. The CFL's TV ratings are way up, as Zelkovich notes: "The CFL is turning into a ratings juggernaut. Sunday's West final topped the 2 million mark and the East still hit 1.35 million despite being all but over at the half. If anybody left the game to watch the NFL, the ratings sure didn't show it."

A personal view is that greater interest in football might spur more people to check out the CIS brand; and TSN's CFL announcers have given more play to the university game in recent weeks (easier to do when the Sasketchewan Roughriders have 3 CIS grads catching touchdown passes in a playoff game).

CIS needs to find a good media partner, whether that is TSN, The Score or even CBC if it can get its amateur sports channel off the ground. CIS might be niche much of the time, but the mass audience is there when the games matter.
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  1. We don't have raw numbers, but your 140k is probably a minimum for French television. We wouldn't be surprised if it went around 200k.

    The fact that Q football went into SRC gave a lot of respectability to the sport. The main problems are actually priorities (we were cut by the Impact-soocer) and the quality of production (quality and number of cameras, yellow line to indicate first down, etc...)

    But seeing the growing popularity of sports on TV, there's no reason why CIS couldn't take advantage of it.

  2. I'm well aware of fans in Ontario (I'm one) who get together on Saturday's at pubs to watch the OUA games on The Score. My local bar was jam packed with people watching the The Mitchell and Utech Bowl Games and The Vanier Cup will be the same. I also know that the city of Halifax when SMU plays the city basically shuts down and the bars are jammed. The same story with Laval. I would love to watch CIS games from all 4 divisions on TV and the only way is like Sager says above "the CIS needs to find a media partner" to get involved. CIS football is very popular in the OUA, AUS and The Q (I assume it is in Canada West also) and it is begging for a good station to step up and start to carry the games across Canada!

  3. Nearly half a million, not bad at all! I agree that the CIS needs to find a partner.

    The Score has teamed up with theOUA since the OUA signed a contract with them I think the CIS should look into expanding that contract. The Score does a great job.

    TSN2 is certainly something that might be viable. Hopefully the numbers stay up for the Vanier, would help sell the sport.

    Media exposure is important but overall coverage is just as important and I think if SSN can somehow get coverage from right across the country it's an initial step in the right direction. That's a great resource for CIS sports at the moment and that could be a launching pad to more mainstream appeal.

  4. I agree that vidcasting is an important element; and it's something the schools can do themselves and it doesn't have to be SSN (who do a good job). Anybody can vidcast and it's only getting easier....

  5. We have the numbers for the Mitchell Bowl at the SRC (Radio-Canada): an average of 324k with a peak at 415k at the end of the game!

    So we can crank it up to a Canadian average of 600k. Not bad...

    As for the webcasting, it's good for your basic fan, but you won't increase your followers by showing an event exclusively on the web...