The CFL Now on NBC Sports
The newly branded NBC Sports Network and the Canadian Football League recently announced nine CFL regular season games, along with all playoff and the Grey Cup Championship final, would be carried by the network in the United States starting on August 27th.
The NFL Network carried CFL Games in the US the past three seasons with decent ratings. But it decided to opt out of carrying CFL games this season, because is has committed to televising more of its own league games. I cannot blame the National Football League for wanting to promote its own brand of football first.
Many football fans across the United States love any kind of ball that involves the pigskin, whether it is Pop Warner, high school, college, semi-professional or professional. Back in the early 1980′s ESPN carried CFL football games during the NFL labour dispute, which garnered some fans south of the 49th. In addition, the CFL developed a small US following during its ill-fated two year US-expansion experiment. Seeing as how the majority of CFL players hail from the United States, many family members of these athletes will watch games on television. Many players from top US colleges end up playing in the CFL, so it might be interesting for college fans to see how some of these players have continued their career.
For these reasons, it makes sense that CFL games are carried in the United States. I think it’s a great opportunity for NBC Sports to carry the games. CFL games in Canada are televised on TSN. Both TSN and NBC already have established a working relationship in broadcasting hockey games. Both networks share commentators (ie. Gord Miller, Pierre McGuire, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Jones) and game feeds in their hockey coverage. TSN also airs weekly Sunday Night NFL Football in Canada, which is produced by NBC Sports and shown on the main US NBC Network. Hopefully this partnership will continue to prosper.
I have to believe that more cable subscribers in the US will get NBC Sports then they did the NFL Network. I know NBC is now owned by Comcast, which is a huge provider of Cable to millions of homes in the north-eastern US and beyond. This means the Canadian Football League will be on display to many more people, and hopefully we will see appreciation for the Canadian game grow.
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NBC Sports Network’s 2012 CFL schedule (all times ET):
|August 27||Edmonton @ Toronto||7:30 pm|
|August 31||BC @ Montréal||7:30 pm|
|September 3||Toronto @ Hamilton||1 pm|
|September 3||Edmonton @ Calgary||4:30 pm|
|September 7||Calgary @ Edmonton||9 pm|
|October 5||Hamilton @ Edmonton||9 pm|
|October 19||Edmonton @ BC||10 pm|
|November 1||Hamilton @ Toronto||7:30 pm|
|November 2||Calgary @ Edmonton||9 pm|
|November 25||Grey Cup||6:30 pm|