Grey Cup magical for RDS

Meanwhile, TSN market penetration crawls behind over-the-air competitor CBC, but is up 23% from last year in NFL viewership.

RDS emerged as the big winner of the 2008 Grey Cup, achieving its highest audiences ever for a football broadcast, though on the English side the CFL final was down 27% from last year following its move to TSN.

TSN – airing the Grey Cup for the first time after more than 50 years on CBC – managed 2.4 million viewers, a lower but still respectable number for a cable channel that doesn’t have the same market penetration as its over-the-air competitor. The Ceeb, which last year scored 3.3 million viewers for its telecast, reaches 13 million homes compared to nine million at TSN (all ratings 2+).

RDS nabbed a record-breaking 1.2 million viewers for the championship final, which saw hosts the Montreal Alouettes take an early lead, only to lose 22-14 to the Calgary Stampeders. The game, which got underway at 6 pm ET, drew a combined 3.6 million viewers to TSN and RDS.

TSN says its online coverage during Grey Cup week (Nov. 17-23) paid off with nearly 1 million page views for CFL content on

Overall, TSN aired 72 regular-season CFL games with an average 393,000 viewers per game, versus 371,000 in 2007. TSN will continue its broadcasting duties as exclusive rights holder of the Grey Cup for another four years through the 2012 season.

Meanwhile, over in the National Football League, the sportscaster is averaging 380,000 viewers for its Sunday, Monday and Thursday broadcasts for the first 11 weeks of the season. A spokesperson says the numbers are up 23% from last year.

From Playback Daily