The Great Canadian Ratings Report: CFL wins Thanksgiving gold

·Chris Zelkovich

The anti-CFL crowd will have you believe that, given a choice, Canadians would prefer to watch the National Football League than the game played with three downs and a rouge. It'll be interesting to see how they explain what happened on Thanksgiving Day (ours, not theirs), which isn't really anything out of the ordinary.

A matchup between Hamilton and Toronto, the league's weak links, drew the biggest long-weekend TV audience among sports that don't involve sticks and pucks. The game drew almost 1 million viewers to TSN while the earlier Canadian Football League tilt between Winnipeg and Montreal pulled in 686,000. Both easily topped the 545,000 viewers the Monday Night Football offering attracted to TSN.

Of course, all that football stuff pales in comparison with perennial ratings leader Hockey Night In Canada. An all-Canadian matchup between Toronto and Edmonton drew 2.58 million to CBC, pretty much on pace with all of CBC's prime-time NHL offerings this season.

A further testament to the drawing power of Hockey Night In Canada is that two weeks ago it was the second most-watched offering on Canadian TV, second only to The Big Bang Theory. I'm not sure exactly what that says about Canadians.

Here are the most-watched shows from last weekend, according to BBM Canada overnight ratings.

1. NHL, Oilers at Leafs, Saturday, CBC: 2,258,000

2. NHL, Habs at Canucks, Saturday, CBC: 1,374,000

3. CFL. Argos at Ticats, Monday, TSN: 956,000

4. CFL, Eskimos at Riders, Saturday, TSN: 778,000

5. NFL, 1 p.m. games, Sunday, CTV: 712,000

6. CFL, Bombers at Alouettes, Monday, TSN: 686,000

7. CFL, Lions at Stamps, Friday, TSN: 659,000

8. NFL, Colts at Chargers, Monday, TSN: 545,000

9. MLB, Tigers at Red Sox, Sunday, Sportsnet: 509,000 (Fox ratings not calculated)

10. NFL, Redskins at Cowboys, Sunday, TSN: 455,000 (NBC ratings not calculated)

11. MLB, Dodgers at Cardinals, Friday, Sportsnet: 317,000

12. NFL, 4 p.m. games, Sportsnet: 292,000

13. MLB, Dodgers at Cardinals, Saturday, Sportsnet: 285,000

14. MLB, Tigers at Red Sox, Saturday, Sporsnet: 278,000 (Fox ratings not calculated)

15. Soccer, England vs. Montenegro, Saturday, Sportsnet: 167,000

THREE TO WATCH

* Sochi here we come: CBC kicks off its tub-thumping for the Sochi Games with coverage of Skate America as part of Sports Weekend: Road to the Olympics. It will continue with Olympic-themed coverage every weekend until the torch is lit in Sochi. Saturday, 4 p.m. , Sunday, 1 p.m.

* Prairie playoff battle: With only three weeks to go, the CFL playoff picture is less settled than the Buffalo Bills quarterbacking situation. Things should get clearer in the West after B.C. visits Saskatchewan, Saturday, 7 p.m., TSN.

* Peyton's place: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning hasn't said that he's circled this date on his calendar, but you know he can't wait to step into Indianapolis and play the team that got rid of him two years ago. Broncos at Colts, Sunday, 8:15 p.m., TSN and NBC.

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