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TSN/CFL Partnership


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Doesn't look like it's been mentioned on this board yet, but it was announced on Wednesday (12/20) that TSN/RDS will become the exclusive TV partner of the Canadian Football League beginning in the 2008 season. This means that TSN/RDS will have exclusive rights to all CFL telecasts--regular season, the playoffs, AND the Grey Cup, and that for the first time in decades, the league championship will not air on CBC.

More here from the CFL website...

and more here from the Globe and Mail. (Watch out for the comment blog; the CBC's detractors are gleeful.)

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You can really tell what kind of class act Tom Wright is.

He's a lame duck commissioner who has been forced out as of next year, and yet he still pulls of coups like this on behalf of the league.

This is a great deal, almost double the size of the last one.

I'm glad TSN got it too. CBC's on-air team, apart from Khari Jones and perhaps Elliotte Friedman, was bruuutal compared to TSN's.

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I'm glad TSN got it too. CBC's on-air team, apart from Khari Jones and perhaps Elliotte Friedman, was bruuutal compared to TSN's.

And I'd even go so far to call that an understatement. This is a great move, no doubt about it. TSN does an excellent job covering the CFL and the Friday Night Football has been a big success since they keep a constant date...unlike a couple years ago when you never knew when CFL on TSN was going to be on..

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So where's the part where TSN buys time on CTV to air select games? Oh, it's not in the deal? You mean the CFL willingly moved its championship to cable? This reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit. "Well, he's an ex-free base addict, he just got out of prison, and he's looking for a place to stay for a few months; so I figured..."

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I was just thinking since TSN is partially owned by ESPN and already shows NFL Network and ESPN NFL games that maybe there will be more games and footage available for the ESPN channels in the States.

Probably something along the lines of ESPN2 and/or on a time delay, but it would offer a more consitent coverage throughout the country. Obviously this is all speculation.

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It was the best move for the CFL, and hopefully, Jones and Friedmann will be picked up by TSN or CTV to handle some games.

The CBC is in the silly predicament of having to be all things to all Canadians. If they pre-empt a football game to show Coronation Street, they get angry phone calls and letters from viewers. If they pre-empt Coronation Street to show a football game, they get angry calls and letters.

And yes, I stole that whole point from the morning men on Team 1040 in Vancouver, mainly because it's an excellent point. The CBC needs to get out of the sports business, and focus on doing what it does best: show softcore Quebec movies at 9 pm on Saturdays.

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The CBC needs to get out of the sports business, and focus on doing what it does best: show softcore Quebec movies at 9 pm on Saturdays.

Sure as hell beats their back-to-back reruns of that George Strombodopogopolopogus... or whatever the hell his name is... over and over and over again. That dude is all they got left now...

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I was just thinking since TSN is partially owned by ESPN and already shows NFL Network and ESPN NFL games that maybe there will be more games and footage available for the ESPN channels in the States.

Probably something along the lines of ESPN2 and/or on a time delay, but it would offer a more consitent coverage throughout the country. Obviously this is all speculation.

That'd be nice, but I doubt that ESPN will sacrifice prime time slots for poker and darts coverage for a foreign sports league that Americans don't know/care about.

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So where's the part where TSN buys time on CTV to air select games? Oh, it's not in the deal? You mean the CFL willingly moved its championship to cable? This reminds me of a Saturday Night Live skit. "Well, he's an ex-free base addict, he just got out of prison, and he's looking for a place to stay for a few months; so I figured..."

I was just as stunned that there were no plans in the new TSN contract that would've allowed Grey Cup coverage over-the-air. If the CFL wants as many viewers of their product as possible, the least they could do is dictate in the contract that the Grey Cup (clearly the league's biggest event) be simulcast on a conventional TV network. Instead, they allow TSN (and only TSN) to carry the game--leaving out a few million Canadians who don't have access to satellite or cable. I wonder how the folks in Ottawa (the MP's, not the fans or prospective owners) feel about that.

BTW, William Houston brings up an interesting point in today's Globe and Mail... many media analysts say that while it's a nice deal, the CFL made two big blunders:

(1) They didn't keep the digital media rights to themselves, selling them instead to TSN.

(2) The league may have alienated CBC, Global, and other potential future bidders by not soliciting any other bids (casting their eyes only on TSN).

In other words, the CFL went for lots of cash now at the risk getting a less favorable deal when this new package expires.

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This is about as dumb a move on the league's part as the CFN. I think history will judge it so. And before anyone brings up the fact that the Premiership doesn't have a terrestrial broadcast agreement, I would point out two things. First, if the top flight soccer league in England wants to play hard to get it can. The fans will go the distance to get their football. Second, the Premiership doesn't have playoffs. And anyway, the most important knock-out competition in England does have a terrestrial agreement.

Does anyone actually believe that if CTVGlobemedia wrests the NHL rights from CBC they'll put the Stanley Cup on TSN? I wonder if the CFL didn't get some kind of "lateral escape clause" in this deal, that dictates that if the audience for the '08 Grey Cup is below a certain level, TSN has to agree to place games on CTV.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I look at it this way... CFL on CBC was falling apart... they went through the motions... u know their broadcast was in trouble when last year during thr strike the live games where they ran with no commentary did better ratings than thr previous games...

cbc has not really inovated their boradcasts... and thay are losing all their good comenators... atleast 2008 I will no longer have to listen to Chris Walby... bomber or not... cant stand him... khari jones is ok though... tsn runs a tight ship when it comes to football and they are using the same approach to their NHl broadcasts... i really think its only a matter of time when HNIC comes over to TSN...

btw i believe its now about 80% of canadians have dish or cable now as it is... so the free tv argument is kinda deadweight...

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