Late Friday, ESPN announced that it had signed a multi-year deal with the Canadian Football League to become the US outlet for the league’s games. Overall, 17 games will air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNews. ESPN3 will stream 69 games including the Grey Cup.
Since 2010, the CFL has bounced from network-to-network going from NFL Network to NBCSN to finally ESPN this year.
NFL Network would only air games in June and July, then not air any games starting in preseason and completely ignoring the league as it would focus on the NFL on Sundays.
NBCSN started to air games in 2012 and last year shared the package with ESPN2. However, NBCSN chose to drop the CFL this year.
ESPN has maintained a presence with the league by streaming games on ESPN3 since 2008. With the new contract, ESPN3 will be the main carrier of games.
But for American CFL fans, this provides a consistent home for the games. As our own Andrew Bucholtz wrote in Yahoo’s 55 Yard Line, the ESPN contract gives the CFL more exposure, more live games and a consistent schedule for the next few years.
The early TV schedule shows ESPN2 carrying most of the games with ESPNews and ESPN airing one game each:
|Sat, June 28||3 p.m.||Montreal at Calgary||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|Sat, July 5||3 p.m.||Saskatchewan at Toronto||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|Fri, July 11||10 p.m.||Ottawa at Edmonton||ESPNEWS, WatchESPN|
|Thu, July 17||8:30 p.m.||Edmonton at Winnipeg||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|Fri, July 18||10 p.m.||Hamilton at Calgary||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|Thu, July 24||9 p.m.||Calgary at Edmonton||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|Sat, July 26||10 p.m.||Toronto at Saskatchewan||ESPN2, WatchESPN|
|Thu, July 31||7 p.m.||Winnipeg at Hamilton||ESPN, WatchESPN|
Games that aren’t aired on TV will be streamed live on ESPN3. Canada’s TSN will provide the production and announcers for all games.
For CFL fans who have been wanting to watch games live without having to resort to using a scorecard, this new ESPN contract is finally the gift they’ve been looking for.