Amid so many startup football leagues coming out of the woodwork, the Canadian Football League is the original league that NFL fans would watch to get their fix of non-NFL action in the offseason.
The CFL doesn’t look like the NFL, but for our friends north of the border and those who watch in the United States, the unique field dimensions and rules make for a unique and entertaining experience that’s a change of pace from the norm. The CFL actually makes kicking cool and entertaining; the NFL can’t even do that.
Anyway, according to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand, the CFL and ESPN are set to continue their relationship with a multi-year deal to keep the league on ESPN networks in the United States. At least 20 games, including the Grey Cup, will be shown on a linear network, while the rest of the games (over 65 games) will be available on ESPN+. (ESPN later confirmed with a release.)
That’s a similar ratio of games being on TV compared to streaming as last year so that didn’t change but it’s implied that ESPN paid more money in this renewal. While exact terms were unknown, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie told SBD that it’s “an improvement in economics for us reflective of last season’s ratings.” Ratings in 2018 were up 19 percent over the previous season, averaging 163,000 viewers per game.