Wednesday, July 23, 2014

CFL Television Rankings and ESPN Contract

Chris Zelkovich who formerly at the Toronto Star had a blog about Canadian sports media and ratings is continuing that tradition over at Yahoo Canada Sports. He has the weekend Canadian sports ratings and the three CFL games held on to the top three spots, over all the rest of the sports programs including all the Blue Jays games:

1. CFL, Alouettes at Lions, Saturday, TSN: 717,000
2. CFL, Ticats at Stampeders, Friday, TSN: 692,000
3. CFL, Argos at RedBlacks, Friday, TSN: 673,000

Zelkovich points out that "Yet despite this string of awful football, the viewers haven't turned off. The Edmonton-Winnipeg game on Thursday drew an average audience of 759,000 -- 56,000 more than last year's regular-season average of 703,000."

I've pointed out in the past that the fact that the CFL is Western provinces heavy in terms of viewers is a good thing. A viewer in Alberta on average makes far more money than an Ontario and has considerably more disposable income. That also goes for a viewer from Saskatchewan. That's probably why sometimes there's some bizarre Western restaurants advertised nationally.

There's a good article in the Winnipeg Sun about the current CFL ESPN deal:

"Last year the network aired six games on ESPN2 and another package of contests on ESPN3, its digital network. Cohon said the ESPN2 matches drew approximately 300,000 viewers south of the border, and the network was happy with the results. “The ESPN2 games did adequate in the spots we programmed them,” Gregg Morriss, ESPN’s manager of programming and acquisitions, told the Sun."

That means along with the CFL TSN average of 703,000 viewers, those games could have received around a million viewers (with the caveat that I don't remember exactly which games were on ESPN 2 and they could have been among the least viewed). That's not bad.

"Cohon is shooting for the stars. ESPN was part of a new broadcasting deal with Major League Soccer in May. Three networks, including ESPN, are reportedly paying a combined $90 million per season for the MLS broadcasting rights."

That's interesting that with considerably more teams and games the MLS rights in the US aren't that much more than the Canadian CFL rights (around $40 million).

"The current deal with ESPN is only just the beginning, as Cohon said it is netting the league only six figures. The fact every game can be seen on one network is likely the best news for the CFL, which ESPN aired often during its early days."

 So that could be at most just under a million. I hope that's per year. Too bad that ESPN had to move the Hamilton home opener from the main network. I would have been curious to see the ratings.

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