Has Bell (TSN/CTV) given up on trying to get people to watch CFL?

So I've seen a number of ads on TSN and CTV highlighting Canadians playing in the NFL. Others have commented on this as well. To be clear, I have no problem with this, in fact I think it's great.

These ads are proof that Bell Media is willing to spend money to produce ads specifically to market the NFL to Canadian fans.

My question is this: if the company which holds the CFL broadcast rights is willing to use Canadian players to market the NFL to Canadians, why have they not similarly marketed the CFL to Canadians?

Are they assuming Canadians will watch CFL just because its Canadian?

Or do they see NFL as a growth market worth investing in, and the CFL as a shrinking market, and not worth the investment?

As I said above, I like that they are highlighting Canadians. But I'd like to know their logic behind not highlighting the Canadian game.


I think they are trying to grow the CFL to NEW fans that do not partake CFL games. They cannot and should not waste marketing cash to those of us who already watch the game.
I will say one of the reasons why the riders and the bombers are so successful is that 30 years ago they began marketing to families ... People took their kids to games. Most of those kids loved the games and watched those games with mom and dad on tv if not in the stands on game day and are now life long bomber and rider fans.... Us fans hold the keys to the future generation of fans more than Bell and TSN ever will.
We also see the same 4 commercials all season long.... Ask why is that... Because the people in charge of spending advertising dollars do not see it as money well spent.... Not their fault or the fault of the fans or the players but the CFL has been mismanaged from team front offices to the league front office and nobody seems to want to hire the right people to fix it


But that's kind of my point... why aren't/weren't we seeing CFL ads during NFL games? There were plenty of ads going the other way. If they're willing to promote Canadians playing in a different country, why aren’t they promoting the Canadian game?


Every CFL ad that they run during an NFL game is an ad slot they can't sell, possibly?


Hadn't considered that. Sure, I can buy that. But even still, I'd like to see the rights holder promote their own property, and I find it quite telling that they don't seem to bother.

1 Like

The CFL season doesn't start for another 5 months. Why would bell/TSN waste those resources when it's earmarked for the spring.

When the seasons overlap, I saw adds promoting CFL games and v.v. Doesn't make any sense right now.


I get that. I was talking about during the season. I haven't seen an ad for the CFL in years.

can any american ESPN subscribers here confirm if CFL ads occur when the CFL season is on? i don’t even care if it’s during NFL games, i just want to know if there is any marketing exposure on ESPN american broadcast.

1 Like

I can confirm I've seen commercial on ESPN 2.


Because the NFL is seen as the best league.so showing Canadians playing at the top level shows we can play football.

1 Like

I get that. And I said I have no problem with it.
But I see ads for MLS games and CHL games, too. And neither of those leagues is the best in thw world in their sport. If those leagues merit advertising, why not CFL?

Though it sounds like other posters have seen CFL ads on ESPN and I assume Canadian tv. So maybe they are playing and I missed them. It just seems to me like the league could put itself out there more, and I'm wondering why the broadcast "partner" isn’t helping out with that. It's their own property, after all.


They don't have to run them on NFL telecasts but it might be a smart move and a fun precursor to the season to have a few CFL highlight style ads out there to grab some attention. Ticket info blah, blah, blah. Season starts...

Marketing 101: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

Money? NFL football on CTV over the air all weekend and Monday night.

Don't know where I am at emotionally with the new Avatar GridironGirl - I realize that is a super random thing to say but I was used to the old Avatar - taking me a minute to get used to this one. - I like it - like the new haircut but just taking a while to adjust. End of crazy nonsensical rant.


Those are NFL sponsored ads...... NFL wants the CFL gone. They have the other startup leagues dominated and are still fed a steady diet of talent they missed by the CFL but in CFL-X days the spread of a game where the play was faster and more exciting than theirs scared the hell out of them. Especially when it took off in a major metro area like Baltimore.

They are more than worried the CFL may again expand into their realm.

1 Like

Yes sir it was NFL Canada .... with the Canadians in the NFL . Nicely done holds your attention when watching .

They promote the league with flag football and go into the Canadian universities to promote the NFL .

I also notice most of the ads for the NFL games is for CTV /Crave programming .

Kinda like the Rogers ads for the Jays .

Well this much I know in 2023 here in the US.

Fox is already running USFL 2.0 promos during their NFL playoff games. Of course they are the owner and investor in the USFL 2.0 by proxy, and they can run those ads for cheaper for their own offering, but those games are 3 months away and nobody cares and who knows after the XFL 3.5 kicks off in only a month on ABC the week after the Super Bowl then later FX or ESPN2 and ESPN+ and TSN+.

Now on ESPN2, it will be interesting to see what they actually do to promote the CFL when we get to June. I'm not counting on it.

From what we have heard and read, ESPN had already been promoting the XFL 3.5 by December.

I am no longer a cable TV subscriber so I don't care about watching on cable TV any more and find the games elsewhere, but there is no way ESPN is giving the CFL even a quarter of the attention that Fox gives that USFL or that they are giving already to the XFL.

Now I would be interested to hear anything different come early June once that XFL 3.5 is over and there just is not much on ESPN channels other than lame college sports and the likes of cornhole.

At least those auto auctions of yore like on that trash NBCSN, which mercifully was taken behind the barn, are a thing of the past on trash cable TV!

We'd like to thank also Oscar The Grouch for sponsoring today's post.


They're all in with the NFL with the prove being moving the CFL playoffs to Saturdays starting this season.

Kinda of understanding Sportsnet's reasoning for not covering the CFL as much as they are shutout of the CFL along with the CBC.

Yep the CFL is second choice for Bell going forward (Great job , Tom Wright for going exclusive with TSN).

Bell might as well push for an NFL franchise in Toronto with Tanenbaum being the face of the franchise.


…and the number 7 and the letter W


They did have Mark Cohon as commissioner from 2007-2014.

But a certain influential owner at the time along with Wettenhall and maybe Young may have had a hand in driving him out.

Mind you he might not anticipated COVID in 2020 but he might have navigated the league a little bit better than how Ambrosie did.

Still a league with 9 different owners each with their own agenda.