99th Grey Cup a huge draw for TSN and RDS

The Grey Cup was a huge draw for TSN on Sunday night, as the BC Lions victory pulled in an average of 4.6 million viewers and a peak of 5.8 million. For those scoring at home, that makes it the most-watched sports program of this broadcast year and the fourth-highest rated Grey Cup ever. However, it’s also a slight drop from last year’s totals.

On other fronts, TSN’s broadcast was an online success, with 118,000 watching TSN.ca’s live streams and 925,000 unique visitors to the website on Sunday. Ratings for TSN radio were not included in the release.

TSN’s full media release follows, after the jump:

The GREY CUP continues to be one of the biggest celebrations and television events in Canada. Preliminary overnight data from BBM Canada confirms that an average audience of 4.6 million viewers watched the BC Lions win the 99th GREY CUP last night on TSN and RDS with a convincing 34-23 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Place. It was the most-watched television program of the week in Canada and the most-watched sports program of the broadcast year.

Overall, more than 11 million Canadians, or more than 1 in 3 Canadians, tuned in to watch some or all of last night’s broadcast on TSN and RDS. In the Vancouver Market, more than half the population watched some of the game, while 65% of people watching television viewed the 99th GREY CUP.

“The GREY CUP is a national celebration like no other and last night’s impressive audience is a testament to the impact the game has on Canadians,” said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. “Our CFL team delivered another outstanding broadcast capturing all of the excitement that makes the CFL so special. We can’t wait to kick off the 2012 season as we look to the 100th GREY CUP next year in Toronto.”

“The 99th GREY CUP in beautifully refurbished BC Place Stadium, captured so magnificently by TSN and RDS, was a special moment for our league,” said CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon. “We’re thrilled that millions of Canadians shared it with us. That’s what the Grey Cup is all about: bringing Canadians together around the great game of Canadian football.”

The 99th GREY CUP capped off a full weekend of Canadian football coverage on TSN that included the thrilling 2011 VANIER CUP, which has been widely regarded as one of the most dramatic Canadian football games that has ever been played.

Audience Breakout
• The 99th GREY CUP becomes the fourth most-watched GREY CUP game on record.* The 98th Grey Cup had an audience of 6.1 million viewers on TSN and RDS.

• The audience for the 99th GREY CUP peaked at 5.8 million viewers in the fourth quarter as the BC Lions wrapped up the victory.

• TSN’s 99th GREY CUP average audience of 4.4 million viewers ranks as the fifth highest audience ever recorded for the network.

• In the Vancouver Extended Market the game recorded an impressive 29.3 Rating. More than 1.9 million viewers tuned in for some of the game, representing more than half of the population.

• TSN.ca’s live online coverage of the 99th GREY CUP recorded an impressive 118,000 live streams. An increase of 65% compared to last year (source: Omniture).

• TSN.ca had more than 8.5 million page views with 925,000 unique visitors on GREY CUP SUNDAY – a more than 50% increase compared to last year’s totals. The site’s live GREY CUP blog demonstrated the CFL’s world-wide appeal, attracting more than 55,000 users from all over the world (source: Omniture).

• TSN’s support programming also had impressive audiences with the GREY CUP SUNDAY PRE-GAME SHOW attracting 2.5 million viewers and the GREY CUP POST-GAME SHOW averaging an audience of 2.1 million viewers.

• The thrilling 2011 VANIER CUP on Friday attracted an average audience of660,000 viewers. Overall, close to 3 million Canadians tuned in to watch some or all of McMaster’s double OT victory over Laval. 

Final audience numbers for the 99th GREY CUP will be available in the coming weeks. The 99th GREY CUP is available on-demand at TSN.ca.

A couple of quick notes: while this year’s broadcast was down from 2010’s – which, according to an older release,  drew an average audience of 6.1 million on TSN and RDS – it’s worth noting the Grey Cup went head-to-head with NFL football and a Toronto Maple Leafs game on Rogers Sportsnet Ontario. I’m interested to see how the they all add up, although I have no doubt the Grey Cup still beat both in the GTA.

Also, I’m pleasantly surprised the game’s live stream did so well. If they can keep attracting viewers, maybe someday soon, TSN will lunch a similar service to what Americans already have with ESPN3.

Finally, TSN’s release makes no reference to some of their earlier projections on Swaggerville mentions, total tweets and time-telling.

Mark Milner is a freelance writer and contributor to The Good Point.

One thought on “99th Grey Cup a huge draw for TSN and RDS

  1. Globe and Mail says Leafs-Ducks got 600,000 viewers for Sportsnet Ontario. According to them lower than the usual Leaf rating but doesn’t say what the GTA ratings for Grey Cup were. Quebec’s GC viewership was down to 225K which is to be expected when Montreal isn’t in it. Last year was 1.1 Million for Quebec.

    I’d guess the Leafs game might’ve beat Lions/Bombers. From my Twitter feed that night a lot of people in the Toronto area were talking about the Leafs game which surprised even me for a Sunday game against the Ducks. Leaf diehards will watch them over almost anything. Let’s hope they don’t schedule a Leaf game against the Grey Cup next season. :)

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