Canadian Football League

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

TSN scores exclusive Canadian Football League TV deal

The Grey Cup has a new home on TSN.
In a joint announcement today, TSN and RDS, together with the Canadian Football League (CFL), revealed details of a new 5-year broadcast partnership (plus a one-year option), making TSN and RDS the home of the Grey Cup, divisional playoffs and all regular-season games. The landmark agreement begins in 2008 and delivers an exclusive all-encompassing suite of broadcast and digital rights in Canada, in both English and French. All told, it's the most comprehensive rights package ever secured by either TSN or RDS for a single sports property.
Under the agreement, TSN and RDS acquire:
Broadcast rights for the CFL's entire 77-game package annually, comprised of 72 regular-season games, 4 divisional playoff matches and the Grey Cup
Digital rights for these games, including broadband, mobile, video-on-demand and interactive TV
Exclusive rights to host content and sell advertising on the CFL's websites and
For the first time ever, the playoffs and Grey Cup will be a TSN/RDS production with TSN/RDS crew and commentators working all the games. In the current expiring contract, TSN was obligated to sub-license a number of regular-season games, playoffs and the Grey Cup to conventional television.
TSN and RDS also confirmed they will provide live and on-demand coverage of CFL games across numerous digital platforms. Complete details will be announced at a later date. The deal also provides ESPN Classic with greater access to the CFL archives, allowing for expanded coverage of classic CFL match-ups, including legendary playoff games and Grey Cups.
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"This is a groundbreaking deal of enormous magnitude for TSN. The CFL has recognized TSN as a fitting home for all its games, and for the first time in history, the coveted Grey Cup will be produced and televised on TSN," said Phil King, President, TSN. "It is our intention to air every single CFL game on TSN, TSN HD and TSN Broadband. The CFL is a valued partner of ours and we look forward to growing the sport and brand to an even higher level and reaching new audiences with expanded coverage on multiple platforms."
"This new agreement allows RDS to extend its existing exclusive French-language coverage of the CFL while simultaneously providing a brand new component for our viewers with digital media initiatives. We will be able to deliver CFL games to Francophones in Canada in more ways than every before," said Gerry Frappier, President, Le RĂ©seau des sports.
Commenting on the scope of the new deal, Rick Brace, President, CTV Inc. said: "For Canada, this deal represents a mammoth sea change in how major rights-holders regard English specialty television. The Grey Cup is traditionally the most watched TV sports event in Canada, eclipsing even the Stanley Cup Final. This is akin to the Super Bowl moving to ESPN and is a tremendous credit to the teams at TSN, RDS and our CFL partners."
Today's announcement underscores TSN's and RDS's commitment to the CFL and to securing the rights to marquee sports properties. Millions of fans from coast-to-coast can look forward to five more years of continued profile and growth of the CFL on TSN and RDS.
"The Canadian Football League and TSN have forged a very strong relationship in recent year, mutually reinforcing the connection our game and players have with our fans and viewers," said CFL Commissioner Tom Wright. "We are thrilled to strengthen this partnership and are excited to be working with TSN and RDS to further build our brands and our businesses."
TSN's relationship with the Canadian Football League dates back to 1986. Since then, TSN has worked tirelessly to grow its CFL telecasts to marquee status through an ambitious broadcast strategy including the creation of the weekly staple Friday Night Football, integrated marketing campaigns such as TSN Top 50 CFL Players and award-winning promotions such as Wendy's Kick for a Million. Along the way, audience levels soared and today, the CFL on TSN's Friday Night Football is one of the most popular sports brands in Canadian television.
RDS's commitment to the CFL dates back to the network's launch in 1989 when it first started producing and televising games to the French-language market. For the past 11 years, RDS has been the exclusive home of Alouettes football, the divisional playoffs and the Grey Cup.
In 2007, TSN will broadcast a minimum of 50 regular-season CFL games, while RDS will televise all 18 Montreal Alouettes games, the divisional playoffs and the Grey Cup. Next season marks the final year under TSN's and RDS's current deal with the League.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Stokes returns to his Canadian Football League glory days

Montreal Alouettes' Vice-President, General Manager and Head Coach Jim Popp announced today the acquisition of spectacular receiver and kick return specialist Keith Stokes in a trade that sends free safety Richard Karikari to the Toronto Argonauts.Stokes had two very productive seasons with the Alouettes in 2002 and 2003, as he set several records on kick returns. In 2002, he returned 25 kickoffs for gains of 527 yards and 76 punts for gains of 896 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 43 passes for 572 yards and three touchdowns. He was named East Division rookie of the year and top special teams player.In 2003, he returned 23 kickoffs for 455 yards and 60 punts for 539 yards and a touchdown. In these last two years, he also returned 16 missed field goals for 861 yards (avg. 53.8 yards per return) including two for 115-yard scores. He added 429 yards on 33 pass receptions.He was then traded to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers where he had two excellent seasons. In 2004, he was named on the CFL All-Star team and was the CFL's Most Outstanding Special Team Player. He had his best year as a receiver in 2005 with 58 catches for 832 yards and three touchdowns.In 2006, Stokes caught 20 passes for 253 yards with the Toronto Argonauts.Keith Stokes and Jim Popp will both be available for interviews at the Alouettes' football operations' office at Olympic Stadium today at 1 p.m.

Canadian Football League 2007 schedule to be released within three weeks

The 2007 CFL schedule is expected to be released within three weeks, making it one of the earliest release dates in recent memory.
The schedule will again feature eight CFL teams with a return to Ottawa not expected before the 2008 season.