CIS football: Desjardins Vanier Cup hits million-viewer mark

CIS football: Desjardins Vanier Cup hits million-viewer mark

OTTAWA (CIS) – An average of 706,000 football fans watched the Desjardins Vanier Cup on TSN and Radio-Canada last Saturday while 1,021,000 viewers witnessed the final 30 minutes of Queen’s thrilling 33-31 victory over Calgary, setting a pair of all-time combined audience records for a CIS event.

The previous mark for combined viewing audience for a Vanier Cup final dated back to 2006 when an average of 589,000 fans tuned in to watch Laval edge Saskatchewan 13-8 at Griffiths Stadium in Saskatoon.

Last Saturday, TSN averaged 421,000 viewers while Radio-Canada averaged 285,000.

In the last half hour of the broadcasts, with the Gaels holding on to a slim lead en route to their first Vanier Cup title in 17 years, an average of 690,000 fans were watching on TSN and 331,000 on Radio-Canada.

“It is very satisfying to see a key CIS property such as the Desjardins Vanier Cup attract such a large audience. Not only was it a great game but a real showcase of Canadian university football highlighting our star players,” said Peter Metuzals, CIS Director of Marketing.

“With the game being played in front of a capacity crowd of 18,000 fans in Quebec City, the celebration of university football could not have been any better. With over a million viewers watching the last 30 minutes, we believe a solid foundation has been prepared that will help not only the 2010 Desjardins Vanier Cup but all of CIS football.”

A standing-room only crowd of 18,628 was on hand at Université Laval’s 12,300-seat PEPS Stadium in Quebec City for the first-ever CIS football final staged in the Province of Quebec.

“It was an absolutely thrilling game. It’s wonderful to be able to partner with CIS and give its marquee event national exposure on TSN,” said Stewart Johnston, Vice President of Programming for TSN. “Queen’s and Calgary put on an incredible display that will help to grow the Vanier Cup and CIS sports for years to come.”

“This first season met all our expectations, not only in terms of ratings but also in terms of the quality and intensity of the football games featured on our network. This was never more evident than in the Mitchell Bowl between Laval and Queen’s and in the Vanier Cup,” said François Messier, Director of Sports for Société Radio-Canada, which completed the first season of a two-year deal with the Quebec University Football League and CIS. “For the Vanier Cup final, despite the absence of a local team, our average of 285,000 viewers was very impressive.”

The Desjardins Vanier Cup returns to PEPS Stadium in 2010 on Saturday, November 27, live on TSN and Radio-Canada.