Argos ownership change renews Sportsnet’s interest in the CFL

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Argos ownership change renews Sportsnet’s interest in the CFL
Posted onMarch 23, 2018byJoel Gasson

Canada’s sports television landscape is dominated by two major corporations. One, Bell, obviously has a very good working relationship with the CFL based on the money they invest in the league every year through the TV rights deal with TSN. There are certainly areas where TSN coverage can improve, but that’s a story for another day. The other company, Rogers, has long been considered by some CFL fans a “hater? of the league.
Whether you like Sportsnet or not, there’s no question they cover the league very differently than their competitors at Bell. That’s understandable when you consider both networks will always favour whatever sports they happen to own the broadcast rights to. That’s how the business works.
But over the last few months, there’s been an interesting shift when it comes to the CFL and Rogers and it involves the Argos. This winter, the team was officially added to the MLSE umbrella. For the last two seasons, the Argos were owned by two of the three entities that own MLSE, Bell and Larry Tanenbaum. Rogers was a holdout but now that’s changed.
This is good news for the league because Rogers now has skin (even if it’s just 33.3% of one team) in the game. The Argos, and by extension, the CFL’s success now matters to the company.
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This will only help Argos. Great city with long history of success in CFL

Never a bad thing.

I watch Sportscentre over the Sportsnet equivalent because TSN just does sports recaps, including of course my favourite Canadian football, more professionally than Sportsnet and yet I get all the Blue Jays, Leafs etc. stuff on TSN I want.

I think Rogers is finally figuring this out.

Hopefully the CFL will split it's product up and have them bid on specific game packages . Love to see U Sports Football get a lift at the same time from Rogers grip .

A game of the week on Sportsnet would be welcome on Sunday . Sunday night football game of the week in the Summer and fall would work well while TSN plays with it's MLB game of the week , MLS or NFL properties .

The CFL needs to cross promote as much as it can . CTV which is such a big player needs to come on board for the playoffs and Grey Cup and simulcast with TSN .

Still think Rogers is looking to unload the Jays, they're worried the Jays TV package will then be too expensive, and they want the option of bidding on the CFL.

All it comes down to is business - the CFL will only split up the rights if it has a high probability of yielding bigger net $. Simiarly, Bell will only move games to CTV is they get more revenue by doing so. Now, those decisions could be based on projections over 2 or 3 years as opposed to immediate growth but in TV that sort of foresight and planning more than a season ahead is rare. Current ratings are all that matter because that is all that matter to advertisers.

Still think Rogers is looking to unload the Jays. If the new owners want too much money for the Jays T.V. rights, Sportsnet will fill the void with the less expensive CFL.

They are CYA'ing themselves.

A chunk of some of the 81 CFL games - mostly weekends June - early November would not come close to replacing 162 games almost daily April into October for Sportsnet.

Between the games themselves, the 30 minute pregame show and multiple repeats of 'The Jays in 30' every day the Jays provide as much as 7 or 8 hours of Canadian content programming six or seven days a week much of it with solid ratings. As Sportsnet PR pointed out last week over 6 million Canadians watched some part of the 4 game the opening series. I suspect Rogers would be reluctant to give that up easily.

Having said that I do think it might help the CFL if when their next TV contract comes up that they consider giving Sportsnet a game a week

I'm not saying they want to give it up. However, if someone else owns the team and they want more money than Rogers is willing to spend for the T.V. rights, Rogers wants a Plan B : the CFL.

CFL football is no longer a great television product. Way too many timeouts and commercials. The latter part of the fourth quarter is about the only time the game flows without constant interruptions. Thank goodness Randy Ambrosie took away the second coach's challenge or the ennui would have been intolerable.

For the best of Canadian football, see it live.

Even in Toronto.

Or do the MLSE principals not compete for a product that, unlike hockey, is not really a ratings mover?

The CFL package provide close to 275 hours of Canadian Content, with an average rating of about 600K. While not "great", it's very good.

Yes because you now can surround that content with more content geared at talking points and short segments on stories it gathers even more content .

I would put it up there for great when talking about Canadian and Sports content within our borders . Its 6 months that you can put on in primetime or weekends that fill up the advertisers budget .

I do get CFL Pete's thinking in terms of FLOW though it needs a bit of tweaking with advertisements on split screen or something to make sure the games dramatic effect and energy doesn't get sucked out by penalties and ad breaks .

Like I said...

If Rogers sold the Jays and the new owner wanted a fortune for the content, I am sure Rogers would not think twice about buying the CFL TV Package instead - and then filling the missing hours with .

Re : " Yes because you now can surround that content with more content geared at talking points and short segments on stories it gathers even more content ."


A 3 hour game needs a 30 minute pregame show.

TSN also had (past tense?) a "CFL in 30" show.

They rerun games.

Grey Cup Day starts in the a.m.

All for $45M/yr. Quite the bargain.

I have always felt the CFL should start games 15 minutes or so off the instead of say a 630pm kickoff it would be 615 or 645. Maybe even something like 620/650pm. This gives that 15 minute window to have a little pre-game and then has some wiggle room if it runs a bit late or to have a bit of a recap discussion. I feel like 30 minutes, 2 hours a week, of pregame might not sell well in a 4 game a week league for the average viewer. a 20 minute time frame would give them 5-6 minutes on each team playing, a couple minutes for commercials, then rolling into the game. Either way...I would prefer seeing more of an intro for the teams which included the anthem and coin toss worked in there...I feel it builds up what the atmosphere in stadium is like, and that is something the CFL games really lack on TV

There used to be a midweek coach's show in Ottawa featuring George Brancato. He was interviewed by a local media personality and broke down particular plays on game film for the audience. Not only was this informative, it was responsible on the part of the organization, and gutsy on the coach's behalf. Usually there was a feature on a new player or a fan or something else connected to the team. For the viewers who missed the game - and home games didn't used to be broadcast locally - it was an interesting watch. The television behemoth will crush the little CFL. We ain't the NFL, people, much as we may wish we were. The CFL is a little league, appealing to people who like a little football with the rest of our busy lives. We ain't the NFL. Small is beautiful.

Small is beautiful particularly in the sense it keeps the league off the map from the NFL wanting to just basically buy the league out and then taking what franchises they want for themselves and thus the CFL becoming extinct, similar to what happened with the WHA and the NHL. The CFL is no threat at all to the NFL and hopefully it will stay that way.

And it's great that Sportsnet/Rogers is now involved with the league with some ownership in Toronto.

Rough Rider Review. I was in the opening credits. Along with many others.