In the wake of surprisingly poor CFL playoff audiences last week, the league will review its decision to air the games on Saturday, the league's commissioner Mark Cohon said on Thursday.

"We're going to look and see how the numbers perform this weekend and take that into account," he said. "And in the off-season, we will decide where they should be."

At TSN's request, the CFL moved its divisional semi-finals and finals to Saturday from Sunday.

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For last week's East Division semi-final, Edmonton Eskimos-Winnipeg Blue Bombers, TSN drew 610,000 viewers, down 38 per cent from 2007, when the CBC aired the semi-final telecasts. The West semi-final, B.C. Lions-Saskatchewan Roughriders, was watched by 862,000, a drop of 15 per cent.

Cohon cited several reasons for the decreases. For the first time in the league's history, a team from Ontario was not in the playoffs. Ontario viewers, particularly those in the Toronto market, tuned out.

What's more, neither game was particularly compelling.

But, even with competitive games in the divisional finals today, TSN will face challenges.

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Interest in Ontario isn't going to increase, at least not by much. And there is the question of Saturday. Is that the right day to air playoff games?

TSN asked for Saturday mainly to get away from NFL telecasts on Sunday, TSN president Phil King said.

The network also had programming conflicts involving NASCAR. Another factor might have been TSN wishing to avoid head-to-head competition against its parent company, CTV, which airs NFL games.

Whatever the case, by going to Saturdays, the CFL abandoned the leading sports afternoon of the week. Sunday is traditionally the day for fans to kick back and watch TV.

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King said it's too early to declare Saturday a failure.

"Common sense tells me if you put [Esks-Bombers]on at 1 o'clock on Sunday up against 530,000 viewers watching the NFL [Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots] I don't know how anybody could sit there and say that would be way better," he said.

"The rule of thumb in sports broadcasting is, if you find a window where there isn't other sports competition, that's usually a much better idea."

Cohon noted that ticket sales for the games last week improved from sales in 2007, when the games were played on Sunday. The Roughriders sold out both years. In Winnipeg, Bombers sales increased by 15 per cent.

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"It's early on," Cohon said. "It's an experiment. We looked at the idea of creating a new tradition. That was part of the thinking."

Cohon said he isn't concerned about the optics of CFL playoff telecasts drawing poorly in Ontario just a few weeks before the Bills are scheduled to play, amid plenty of enthusiasm, their first regular-season game in Toronto.

"If you look at our ratings through the entire year, they have been very strong in Southern Ontario," he said. "The Labour Day classic between Toronto and Hamilton did three quarters of a million viewers, with a peak of over 800,000. So, our numbers for Toronto were very strong this year, even when the team wasn't playing very well."

Hogging the mike

Toronto Raptors TV voice Matt Devlin needs to slow down, relax and pull back.

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He overcalls the games. He not only describes every touch of the ball, but too often takes over the colour commentary, which is what game analysts Jack Armstrong and Leo Rautins are supposed to be doing.

Armstrong, on TSN's telecasts, and Rautins, on the CBC and The Score, try to get a word in, but are clearly having difficulty. For the viewer at home, it adds up to wall-to-wall talk.

This isn't radio. We don't need the announcer telling us everything. And there is nothing wrong with allowing the viewer to listen, for a second or two, to the audio from the court, whether it's the crowd, the players or Raptors coach Sam Mitchell yelling from the bench.