Return of Nathan Rourke draws attention as CFL ratings plummet in final week of 2022 regular season

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Photo courtesy: BC Lions

The 2022 CFL regular season ended on a low note on TV, with an average of just 320,475 viewers tuning in to four meaningless competitions in Week 21.

With no playoff berths on the line and an already determined home-court advantage, the biggest odds for play were unsurprisingly Nathan Rourke’s return to action after Lisfranc’s surgery. 411,800 fans spent their Friday night watching the BC Lions’ Canadian quarterback sensation play just over a quarterback in a loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, completing 7 of 11 assists for 68 yards.

Saturday’s triple header lacked intrigue, with less than 200,000 fans bothering to watch the early quarterback battle between Toronto and Montreal. Viewership topped 300,000 for the Ticats vs. Rouge et Noir matchup and the regular season finale between Calgary and Saskatchewan. The Riders, usual ranking behemoths, underperformed as fans shrugged off the conclusion of a losing season.

NFL ratings continue to perform strong across Canada with Thursday Night Football between the Baltimore Ravens and Tampa Bay Buccaneers drawing 706,700 on TSN and CTV2 combined.

Sunday morning football from London, England drew 243,000 viewers on TSN and 210,000 on CTV despite the early start. The 1 p.m. ET NFL kickoff on CTV averaged 471,300 viewers while the 4 p.m. window landed 593,900. There were 280,500 people who watched the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers on TSN.

Sunday Night Football was the featured event of the week in Canada, as 1,101,100 people watched the Buffalo Bills beat the Green Bay Packers on TSN. Monday Night Football between the Bengals and Browns drew 498,500 on the three-letter network.

The CFL will expect a ratings boost when the playoffs kick off on Sunday, bringing them head-to-head with the NFL’s midday slate. However, the regular season ended with a groan, averaging less than 3,000 more viewers than the season’s worst week.

Week 21 2022 TV Rankings:

Friday
BC to Winnipeg — 411,800

Saturday
Montreal to Toronto — 191,300
Hamilton to Ottawa — 319,300
Saskatchewan to Calgary — 359,500

Total average for week 21: 320,475

(These figures do not include the audience of RDS, the French-language subsidiary of TSN, which averaged around 200,000 viewers for Alouettes games in 2022.)

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