The Canadian Football League is building on early momentum as it looks forward to a #DoubleDouble this Canada Day Weekend: big double headers Thursday night and on the holiday Friday.
Television ratings and online fan engagement were up for the CFL’s opening weekend compared to a year ago. Scoring was up and penalties were down. And for a second straight year, more than 100,000 fans attended #CFLKickoff.
Now the stage shifts to Montreal, Saskatchewan, Hamilton and Calgary as the Alouettes, Roughriders, Tiger-Cats and Stampeders host their 2016 home openers.
KICK OFF LIFT OFF
• Ratings for the CFL on TSN and RDS combined were up 9% on opening weekend compared to the same weekend a year ago.
• They were up 13% from the season long average in 2015.
• Ratings were up 20% in the 18-49 demographic compared to the same weekend a year ago.
• They were up 26% in that demo from the season-long average in 2015.
• The average audience per game was 665,000.
• An average audience of more than 760,000 watched the Toronto Argonauts launch a new era at BMO Field in the league’s opening game.
• Almost 3.2 million Canadians watched at least part of that game – with a peak audience of 900,000 in the third quarter when the Argos cut the Ticats’ lead.
• More than 5 million Canadians watched at least part of a CFL game last weekend.
• Visitors to CFL.ca are up 80% in June compared to a year ago.
• U.S. traffic on CFL.ca was up 96% for June compared to a year ago.
• The total number of fans who have signed up for CFL Pick ‘Em is up 24% already – compared to all of last season.
• Six out of every ten Pick “Em Players are under age 34.
• #CFLKickoff was used on social media more than 14,000 times last week between Thursday and Saturday.
• The Hamilton and Toronto game had the single greatest concentration of #CFLKickoff mentions of the four games and the Calgary vs. BC game was the most-tweeted game.
• An average of 54.5 points per game last weekend represents a 24% scoring increase over last year’s opening weekend.
• The average number of accepted penalties per game was 20 – down from 25.5 in Week 1 a year ago.
• The percentage of plays with a penalty was 11.9 – down from 14.1 a year ago.
• The average number of plays per game was 163 – up from 154 a year ago.
• Alouettes receiver Nik Lewis’ 51 receiving yards against Winnipeg took him over the 12,000-yard mark, moved him past Derrell Mitchell and into 9th on the all-time receiving list, and moved him within 322 yards of Don Narcisse and 8th place.
• Toronto’s Vidal Hazelton scored touchdowns 46 seconds apart – the quickest back to back TDs since at least 1989, when the league started keeping detailed records on the accomplishment.
• If Ricky Ray passes for 262 yards Thursday night, he will reach 53,000 yards in his career. He currently sits at fifth all-time, just 517 yards behind Danny McManus and fourth place.
• Justin Medlock didn’t take long to make his mark in Winnipeg: his 58-yard field goal in his Winnipeg Blue Bomber debut tied a franchise record, the longest field goal ever made in Winnipeg, and matched the fifth-longest field goal in league history.
• The REDBLACKS’ win in Edmonton last Saturday night was their first ever against the Eskimos.
• Ottawa quarterbacks each passed for more than 250 yards in the REDBLACKS opening win: Henry Burris had 251 and Trevor Harris had 292.
• East Division teams are off to an early 2-0 lead in matches against West Division teams. Last year, they were 22-18 against Western opponents, marking the first time since 2004 that the East bested the West.
• Ottawa’s overtime victory in just the third game of the season begs the question: might we see more overtime? Five CFL games went to OT last year – the most since 2010. From 2011 to 2014, the CFL saw only one OT game in each season.
• The last time an opening week game went to overtime was July 1st, 2010 in Saskatchewan when the Riders beat Montreal 54-51 in a classic.
• Hamilton’s defence held the Argos to a single rushing yard on seven attempts last week – their lowest rushing total since the Argos had zero rushing yards on eight attempts against Montreal on November 7, 2009, and the lowest by any CFL club since Edmonton was held to minus-one yard rushing by Montreal on August 11, 2011.
• In Edmonton, Alan Eck became the first NFL official to work a CFL regular season game as part of the NFL / CFL Officiating Development Program exchange.
FAREWELL MOSAIC STADIUM
• The Saskatchewan Roughriders, coming off a Week One bye, launch their final season at Mosaic Stadium tomorrow night when they host the Argos.
• That site has hosted 602 games – the largest number in CFL history.
• The field there opened in 1910 with the first grandstand added in 1936, when the old Western Interprovincial Football Union was founded.
• Saskatchewan last played the Argonauts in their home opener in 2000, losing 36-28.
• Overall, the Riders have hosted the Argos in their home opening game four times; 2000 (TOR win), 1998 (SSK win), 1984 (TOR win) and 1972 (SSK win).
• Since 2000, the Roughriders are 12-4 in their home openers at Mosaic Stadium.