CFL could alter schedule to accommodate NFLN deal

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The CFL could be coming to NFL Network. And as part of that deal, the CFL may alter its schedule to move the Grey Cup from late November to the middle of October.

“I’d like to see the Grey Cup earlier, it won’t happen for 2018, but for 2019 it’s possible,” CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said Friday, via the Ottawa Sun. “I’d like to see it maybe the third week of October. That week, almost everywhere in Canada is a fantastic weekend. I’ve traveled — we’ve lived in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Oakville, Montreal — the third week in October is amazing. The leaves are changing colors. It’s autumn, it’s not cold.”

Of course, that would require starting the season sooner, which could cause problems with TSN, the CFL’s primary Canadian broadcast partner, given a little something known as the Stanley Cup playoffs. TSN, which doesn’t have Stanley Cup playoff rights, wouldn’t want to put CFL games up against high-stakes hockey games. However, an adjustment to the season would give NFLN game content during the slow months, if a deal can be done between the CFL and the NFL.

“We’ve talked about the idea of what are they doing for programming on the NFL Network, could we be a positive source of amazing content?” Ambrosie said. “I’m entirely on board with sharing our game with more people around the world . . . and I’m not just talking about the U.S. market. We should stop being so Canadian and shy about this. With three downs and a big field and it’s wide open and these are world-class athletes — we’ve got the greatest game in the world.”

The NFL may disagree with that one, but the CFL is good enough to potentially take a spot on the NFL’s platform during the months when NFLN is a wasteland of NFL Films programming, Hard Knocks reruns, and the goofy top 100 player list.

28 responses to “CFL could alter schedule to accommodate NFLN deal

  1. TSN doesn’t have the national NHL tv contract. It’s on Sportsnet through at least 2025-26. But programming against the NHL playoffs would be a problem. I don’t watch much CFL, but I’m guessing that a lot of the CFL and NHL fans crossover, so having a local NHL team in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal or Ottawa in the playoffs would have a very negative effect on CFL ratings and attendance early in the season. Toronto doesn’t care much for the CFL to begin with, so for them it wouldn’t matter.

  2. Stanley Cup shouldn’t be in the summer anyway! Ice hockey – the clue is in the name – was always a winter sport. The finals used to be in February, and good old Queen Victoria’s governor, Lord Stanley of Preston (who funded and presented the original trophy) would turn in his grave at the thought of ice hockey in June.

  3. I admit, I watch CFL in the summertime.

    I would totally watch it on NFL Network as well. I love baseball live but man the summer months are brutal when the only thing you watch on TV is sports!

  4. I’d like more cfl on tv in the summer when there is nothing but MLB on. I want to like baseball but it just doesn’t do it for me. I used to watch a little Arena league but id much rather watch CLF if available

  5. I went to the Grey Cup in 2014 in Vancouver. It was great. And not just the game. But it was indoors. The outdoor ones in late November are ridiculously cold. How about a Tuesday night Grey Cup with some good promotion in th US? That would be something.

    I urge everyone e to give the CFL a shot. Fun stuff and good for gambling, if people ever decide to start gambling on football since we all know point spreads are for entertainment purposes only.

  6. Not the NFL Network, please! I don’t want to pay a higher satellite bill just to watch the CFL. Keep it on ESPN so I can at least watch the games on the app.

  7. Reduce 2 games from 18 to 16, NFL contribute a few mill to make up revenue, allow for NFL teams to carry and play several squad players

  8. That’d be great if they could move it earlier. The time between the NBA and the NFL is a dark time. I’ve watched the CFL games that are on plus the streams and it sure the hell beats baseball. Maybe the NFL can offer them enough to change to NFL rules and be the second division they need. Would only increase NFL interest up north.

  9. This could be good for both sides. The CFL gets a kick in revenue and the U.S. fans get some football to fill the sports void in summer. The CFL may even improve as a league as more guys from the U.S. become willing to play there (being on the NFL Network will help with that).

  10. CFL is an exciting Canadian version of football. For all those naysayers the game was invented in Canada.Games go down to the last minute and are not decided shortly after the coin toss.

    For all those uneducated about the game …..

    It’s 3 down football
    Wider and longer field
    Can only use X amount of USA players
    Many US players come to Canada and stay after their careers are finished because of quality of life
    Back in the 50s, 60, and early 70s CFL paid more money to its US players
    18 game schedule with only 2 exhibition games

    I enjoy the NFL but CFL is more exciting

  11. Yet another bad idea from the CFL League Office. First they tried US expansion teams which was met with extreme indifference in the cities they played in and next was not helping or sanctioning Canadian software firms making a CFL computer game to promote the game with younger fans(which are becoming fewer and fewer). Now they want to move training camp into April where it is still winter in most parts of the country and have preseason in May which still cold to they can start the season in June and have a Grey Cup game in October. Going to all that inconvenience for a NFL Network audience is not worth it and will be counterproductive on the local level. Maybe the commissioner should worry more about falling Canadian attendance and tv rating before trying to export the game to place that could hardly care.

  12. purplepeople1 says:
    November 24, 2017 at 9:29 pm
    I live in Canada and I have to say the CFL is awful, can’t watch a game that awards you a point for doing nothing.

    joetoronto says:
    November 25, 2017 at 5:23 am
    The CFL is as bush league as it gets, just shut it down already.

    gregbeau says:
    November 25, 2017 at 8:40 am
    The CFL is quite minor league and has been on life support for many years. Not many people watch it even in Canada.

    Fairly safe bet each of the above live in Toronto. CFL’s a great game. If you like football you’ll love it.

  13. This idea really caught me by surprise by the new commissioner is making good on his pledge to reexamine everything. As far as I know, the CFL’s ESPN deal is more for exposure than revenue: for the league to be even considering this suggests there’d also be $$ involved.

  14. (I live in Canada and I have to say the CFL is awful, can’t watch a game that awards you a point for doing nothing.)

    If you’re too stupid to understand the advantages and disadvantages of how field position works relative to the Rouge, you’re probably better off not commenting.

    (The CFL is quite minor league and has been on life support for many years. Not many people watch it even in Canada.)

    This is false. Roughly 10% of all Canadians watched this year’s Grey Cup at some point, for a 34 Share. As with the NFL, CFL ratings are consistent proportionally, outside of the NHL the CFL remains the second most valuable brodacast sports property in Canada.

    Only two franchises can be considered financially disappointing and one’s owned by a billionaire. (British Columbia). The league isn’t on life support anymore. The 1990s are over.

    The suggestion the league reduce itself to a 100 yard field is so laughable it isn’t worth the comment. If anything, the larger field actually makes the game more appealing from a pure entertainment standpoint than the NFL game.

    As to the topic at hand, the ESPN contract has been a mixed bag. They show games in July and August and then, once college season kicks in the league disappears and is relegated to online streaming services. If the intent is to build an international fanbase this isn’t terribly useful.

    They went the NBCSN route a few years ago and that gained almost no traction at all. They went the NFLN route a few years ago and that gained almost no traction an revenue at all.
    They’ve gone piecemeal across multiple regional sports networks in the US and that gained almost no revenue at all.

    “I’m entirely on board with sharing our game with more people around the world . . . and I’m not just talking about the U.S. market. We should stop being so Canadian and shy about this.”

    First and foremost, the C in CFL stands for Canadian and the Commissioner needs to understand this. One of his complaints is about the weather. The per-game average attendance before Labor Day versus after is roughly 500 people per game (21,760 pre labor day versus 21,200 after). The weather negatively impacts in game attendance by all of 2.2%, and that hardly seems worth nuking the entire schedule over.

    Second, while I’m not opposed to a full season commitment to over air broadcasting of the entire season in any market, there’s no need to nuke a season that has run from Canada Day to US Thanksgiving for the better part of 60 years in which to do it. The revenue pie is big enough with domestic rights that you shouldn’t have to retool the league to accommodate international revenue sources. As the 1990s proved, this is folly. Weather isn’t a significant problem currently.

    Finish the work of getting a team in Halifax.
    Get a sustainable plan to market the team in Toronto.
    Find new ownership in Vancouver.

    Stop with the nonsense of fundamentally shifting the game to appeal internationally, and for heaven’s sake divorce yourself from the idea that you need to use traditional delivery platforms to do so. Understand what the C stands for and focus on it. chasing significant international revenue is fools gold and has been for 25 years.

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