A CFL video game has been in the talks for a long time, and better coverage of the league has been needed since the advent of the Internet. This is a message to the CFL — is a CFL game and network yet to come?
People ask why the CFL doesn’t broadcast all of the related events online like other leagues do. In the past the league and the television rights holder TSN have said things like, “Well at this time of year there simply isn’t the content…” or “… considering the seasonal nature of football…” or maybe “Someday soon we’ll take a look at it.”
Someday is here! The fact that the current YouTube channel is well done, and that there are tons of media personnel to fill the roles, should make a CFL network happen. The CFL is an impressive product and they have a lot of the pieces in place.
YouTube is the worlds most recognizable name when it comes to free streaming video online. The cord-cutters and web surfers everywhere have made it so. The site is typically where millions of Canadians, including kids, go to search for something good to watch.
Currently the CFL’s YouTube channel would like you to watch repeats every 20 hours because there is only about 20 hours of content worth watching. Some people will do a ten hour binge-watch once or twice a week and there are also several people that watch more than 30 hours of online content like YouTube every week.
Network space is too expensive and the CFL’s partners, TSN, have shown time and again they won’t budge on events like the combine unless there’s a million or two to be gained. We’re done imploring, and even begging, the rights-holder to do more.
Instead, the CFL has to prove the viability of increased coverage well before the next round of negotiations with TSN. What better place to go for a swim than in the pool you’re already in?
The CFL has a long-term rights deal with TSN in place but contracts don’t last forever. The CFL should take the attitude that their fans have the desire, based on the existing product, for more coverage. New fans are made daily by the NFL be-it a combine, a draft, or a free-agent special on The NFL Network. Why is that? Simply because it’s there and better than the available alternatives.
The CFL commissioner says, “we want to engage the youth“. Among the content producers on YouTube are ten-year-olds who run channels they created and star in. Some of these kids channels have millions of subscribers. From toy reviews to tutorials, these kids fill the gaps for other online kids who might only have an hour or two of TV time per diem. That doesn’t mean these kids aren’t on a phone, a tablet, or a computer. The content consumers, your “younger” target audience, are there and they are just waiting to be impressed. The CFL needs to apply the same marketing strategy with young CFL fans. Canadians love YouTube!
In the 1980s the CFL did establish their own network. It was called the Canadian Football Network and its creator was then CFL commissioner Doug Mitchell. Mitchell is a former player, and current CFL board of governors member. The CFN was a direct reaction to CTV dropping CFL coverage in 1986. It aired mostly on Atlantic Satellite Network and pre-Global affiliate’s like STV in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better than nothing. We have a similar situation today with TSN’s refusal as we did with CTV, granted it’s on a different scale.
Mitchell brings experience and should work with Orridge and others on the YouTube file.
CFL Video Game
Between expanded coverage of CFL events and the exciting news that a Peterborough, Ont. gaming studio has developed a CFL video game using a Microsoft kit for Xbox One, Jeffrey Orridge might be looking pretty cool soon. Canuck Play Inc., wants to partner with the league, the CFLPA, and league partners to release a Canadian Football League game. Check out their website and the Let’s Talk CFL podcast for an interview with David Winter of Canuck Play.
The Time Is Now
It’s not a matter of developing a network from the ground floor. Just simply use what is there! The fact that the YouTube channel is there and decent, that there are personnel who’d be excited to fill the roles, should make a CFL network happen right now. The same goes for a CFL game. The CFL has a really impressive product and they have a lot of the pieces in place so it seems to be the next logical step. Don’t wait any longer. Make it happen?