CFL should drop NBC Sports

As a Canadian living in the US, I (like many others) have been fortunate to be able to follow my team on ESPN3 (which is ESPNs online streaming network). For the past few years, ESPN3 has carried the entire CFL schedule live, free to anyone with an internet connection. This year they’ve even stepped up their game and are streaming live in HD.

However, for some reason the CFL has made an arrangement with NBC sports to carry a bunch of games this season, including the east and west finals and grey-cup. These games are often tape delayed and/or rescheduled with no advance warning from NBC sports. Furthermore, US based fans will have to watch the east and west finals sometime in the middle of the night. This hardly seems like a better option for getting exposure in the US market and only results in suffering for those of us who have followed teams this season.

The league needs to drop their relationship with NBC sports, and stick with ESPN. Lets focus on getting games aired when people actually want to watch them!

Why on earth would they drop them?

All the games are still on ESPN3. Problem is they only wanted to air 6. Most people still watch games on TV, not online, so NBC reaches more potential viewers. NBC is airing 12 games live and 4 delayed. So...they now have 18 live and 4 delayed games on air in the US.

If ESPN said they wanted to air more games, I would be more inclined to say this has some merit. Now the CFL (actually TSN) can negotiate, because there are 2 parties interested in the brand. TSN is not is a factor in signing the big new contract...they know the brand has grown in the US and in a year or 2 will be able to sell off some US coverage because of this competition.

ESPN3 is NOT a TV channel - it’s the internet and only available through a limited number of internet providers. The biggest internet provider in the south is Century Link and they don’t carry ESPN3. You can log on to ESPN3 and see how many providers carry ESPN3 and it’s not a lot.
If ESPN3 was available to anyone watching the internet I would agree with you but it’s not. NBCSN is not available on the basic cable or sattelite either, I had to upgrade to get it.

I just checked the NBCSN schedule for the Thanksgiving Day game between Ticats/Argos - it’s scheduled at MIDNIGHT Monday !!!
Why would anyone watch it at midnight? anyone that has the internet can watch TSN VOD and see the game about an hour after it’s televised. Anyone that has the internet can watch TSN VOD.

hence why I said "Most people still watch games on TV, not online"
It is available to anyone who has ESPN1.

As far as the thanksgiving game, yes, it sucks that it is rebroadcast late, but this is Canadian Thanksgiving, not that of the US, so I don't see how that is an overly relevant factor.

US broadcasts are increasing...that is a great sign for the league. Give it time...TSN will be selling off US rights for a healthy enough sum. These things generally take a few years to progress, and the CFL has only had a real US resurgance since the 2008 Grey Cup was aired...NBC by the way...and gained no traction until 2010. The NFL network only broadcast for 2 seasons after a promising this only 2 seasons into other networks (NBC). They are doing great at growing the brand and creating competition for games.

This topic assumes there is significant competition for US CFL broadcast rights and other carriers are willing to offer a better package. The history of CFL TV rights in the US does not support that sort of assumption. It isn’t NBC that needs to worry about the CFL dropping them, it is the other way round.

True...but having present deals with multiple networks tends to lead to the assumption there is a growing interest. The big new contract will make it all seem more attractive still. People see big bucks behind something, it draws their attention.

I don't think there is 'significant' competition, but I do believe there is growing desire to have a piece of it...especially for these smallert networks looking for niche drawings.

I watch most games "online" only because there are just too few live games on TV for me to watch. Not sure what you mean by "available to anyone who has ESPN1" ? If you mean that ESPN1 is on the basic service, yes you are right.
I have written to my internet provider to complain about not carrying ESNP3 but it's a "rights" money thing.

You don't see how broadcasting a game at midnight is an overly relevant factor??? my point was "Why broadcast the game at midnight" anyone in the US and Canada can watch the game on TSN VOD just after its broadcast.

The best ratings for the CFL on ESPN or NBCSN were back in July when there was no NFL or college games. If the CFL played games in May, June and July, i'm sure the ratings would be excellent with all live games and no tape delay games.
But that's not likely to happen.

As I said..."yes, it sucks that it is rebroadcast late"
It is obviously going to draw less viewership, but at least they are airing it, and 2/3 of the games are aired live.

I use ESPN 3 while at my California residence, and my general understanding is because I actually pay for cable in that residence and have ESPN 1 in that package that we have access to ESPN 3 online. From what I have been told in the past, if you have ESPN in your TV package, you get the online service. I do not pay seperately for the service seperately. Granted, I am not overly up on the service particulars because it is not my primary residence and I spend most of my time in me, it is just another monthly bill I pay...sigh

Perhaps that is different on other networks,but I thought it was a universal thing.

Oh, and I stumbled on this when looking up particulars:

Try it and let us know if it works for you was posted a few years back so...

I beleive ESPN owns 20% of TSN so they do have a connection and a business relationship. So any time that ESPN would like to up the ante with more game like at least on game a week on ESPN2 then keeping NBC SN in the mix is a wise decision. A game almost every week was shown live thru July and August and even into september. Problem is that on friday nights both Networks currently have other commitments to other sports that they actually Broadcast and neither ar this point want to show game on Sat NCAA where ESPN on every network is full of NCAA and NBC SN just does not want to compete with a football audience with another football league.

But the CFL ratings are staring to grow in the US, when you have the CFL beating MLS games,in the US, that is saying something for the growth of the US ratings for CFL games

Totally agree Flutie.

The best thing that happened for the CFL US ratings wise was the NFL network, even if it was only a couple seasons. Since then there has been a pretty big spike in interest. TSN surely saw this trend, hence why that new contract gives them rebroadcast rights. Is it rolling the dice...not really. It is already about equivalent a deal as they have with the NHL, and I am sure they are making money there or they wouldn't have all the spinoff weekly NHL shows.

They have stated NHL averages less than 10% more viewership...
NHL - 70 games costs them 33 mil a was about 640000 per game average, so that is 44.8 million viewers per season, call it 45. That equates to 73 cents per head they pay.
CFL - 81games costs them 38 mil a year...640000*0.9 = 576000/game, 46.6 million viewers per season, call it 47...PLUS, they get the playoffs at no extra cost, equating to about 55mill total, so 69 cents per head.

Now sure, there is a stigma that does not bring in the same rates for add time, but that seems to be changing ever so slightly, and as simucasts are gaining popularity, that will change more. Even if they don't, if TSN can eventually get even a few mil a year for the US rights that supplements that.

And why will they eventually start making some money in the US...because more and more are tuning in. The smartest thing they could do is start a month or so earlier...then for sure more people will tune in. TSN wanted total rights for a reason...they see a golden opportunity in the US, and that is slowly coming to light.

Starting a month early would have less overlap with the NFL yes and the weather would be nicer for outdoor Grey Cups.
Problems NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.
But the biggest problem is logistics. Teams still use college campuses for Training camps and school is still in during May So starting training camp before the beginning of July just will not work

Id say the biggest issue is NFL cuts would be so late into the season.

as far as fields...sorry, it is not like the Uni players are practicing prior to 3, and you are only allowed a few hours of practice time a day...pretty sure they can work around all of that. Further, what sporting events are held in a schools stadium/track/field April on? None I am aware of.

Hockey is done what...second week of June? So have the season start 4 weeks sooner. You overlap a couple weeks...big deal, have early games on Saturday and Sunday. The NHL finals games are typically late afternoon/evening....have an 10 or 11 am kickoff. Most people at the games would still be home by 3 to watch the hockey games, and the televised games would be over in advance. The little bit that ratings would drop would surely be compensated for in US watchers, and a lot of the US fans you are targeting are not huge hockey fans... and best of Winter Grey Cup.

Other leagues seem to be able to play through major finals, I see no reason why the CFL can not coordinate the same.

Made a mistake starting training camp before the beginning of June will not work with Universities still in session during May and teams using campuses, Dorms, and facilities.

Dorms would be the only potential issue...really, all else would be available. not hard to lodge at a hotel for 2 weeks and bus everyone. You are talking like maybe an extra 60k for alternative lodging for a couple weeks...big deal. They don't use the campus except for the stadium and the gym, and potentially dorms as mentioned.

Moving the season back a month would be a mistake of monumental proportions. The CFL owns November. It likely makes more money in sponsorship in November than all other months combined. Throwing that way would be akin to cutting off your nose despite your face.

ESPN3 doesn't show every game now, and games on NBC aren't available for replay. I don't get NBC in any form, so for the first time in a few years there are games I'm missing this year. Fortunately, I can replay some games not on ESPN3 on TSN's site.

I'm pretty happy with the situation as it exists now. Sure I don't get every single game like I did last year, but many people who got NO games now can at least watch a few on NBC Sports. Maybe eventually it will mean being able to actually watch a CFL game in a local bar. Consistency is key. People need to be able to reliably find games. ESPN, ESPN3 and now NBC Sports are making that happen.

The CFL season is starting one week earlier next season, with basically two weeks of games in June. Training camps will also likely start one week earlier in May (hope the snow's melted by then). :wink:

NBC-SN (formerly Versus) is home to the NHL, MLS and CFL. If the league can't sign a deal with ESPN2, then NBCSN is probably the next best option. The problem is they believe nobody will watch the CFL if there's a NFL or NCAA game on (so they tape delay them). I'm not so sure that's true, with over 200,000 watching the recent game on ESPN2 (Edm @ Wpg), which went head-to-head against a NCAA game on ESPN (which drew 2,100,000). NBCSN ratings did drop to 54,000 for a CFL game which was up against a U.S. football game, but the schedule could be tweaked to take advantage of the American market.

The important thing is that all CFL games should be televised live in the U.S., even if they have to parcel out a "Game of the Week" to four different networks.

Busing 75 players to practice form a hotel for 2 weeks? Now we are really starting to get into those logistics and the time it will take. Just two much to move it up a whole month. If they want to move the season up 2 weeks maybe. and with the schedule going back to 20 weeks to playing 18 games then moving it up 2 weeks may be logical

logistics for 3 buses? Lord I would hope that would not be a big deal for any club...I's 3 buses....maybe 2...and 1 hotel with 40 rooms

Well you may be right. So I guess we will wait to see what happens in the future if they do indeed move the schedule up a month or even a week or two.
My guess would be possibily a week or two as I do really think that they do want to wait until the Stanley Cup playoffs are over as well. JMO