Sunday TV numbers shine

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

There is a CFL doubleheader tomorrow, completely avoiding the NFL on Sunday for the first time in three weeks.

Not that it seems to matter.

It was questioned in this space a week ago why the CFL put itself head-to-head with the big-money boys down south the first two Sundays in September.

That was a mistake, and the numbers prove it.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders last-second loss to the Edmonton Eskimos received a CFL-record rating of 1,127,000 million viewers, according to stats released by BBM Canada.

That means 3.33% of Canadians sat down to see at least part of an outing in which Ricky Ray had 20 straight completions and Omarr Morgan had a record 108-yard fumble return touchdown.

The extremely popular Monday Night Football is watched by 4.38% of Americans this season on average, which means the CFL is as important in Canada as NFL is in the U.S.

Our contention was that football fans shouldn't have to decide which game to watch, although the CFL is the choice of this columnist.

Clearly, there is a difference between Canadian and American football fans.

"Historically head-to-head vs. the NFL on Sunday afternoons, the CFL still does very well, routinely outperforming the NFL on TV," said one message to the e-mail inbox. "That's why everybody was floored last year when they put the playoffs on Saturday."

The NFL game on Sportsnet and CITY TV at the same time drew a combined number of 532,000 viewers.

A blowout by the Montreal Alouettes over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers drew 687,000 viewers earlier that day, while Friday's close matchup between the Calgary Stampeders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats had 863,000 spectators.

The Toronto Argonauts' visit to B.C. Place to face the Lions had 634,000 viewers, a great total considering the late start and poor records of the teams involved.

The early Sunday NFL game featuring Tom Brady and his New England Patriots facing the New York Jets drew a good number of 852,000 on CTV, while the Sunday nighter where the Dallas Cowboys opened their new palace had 647,000 Canadian viewers.

All nice numbers that justify why the NFL gets good coverage in Canadian media.

But the CFL still rules in the hearts of Canadians. We won't question that again.

Flutie finds opening

Just as he did on the football field, Doug Flutie has found another opening in broadcasting.

The former star CFL quarterback was let go from ESPN's college football coverage this season but he has landed in the new United Football League on Versus.

Around the dial

Former figure-skater Emanuel Sandhu has made it into the top 10 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada ... The Versus squabble with DirecTV affected racing fans as the IRL Indy Japan 300 wasn't covered this past weekend.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos