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.