ESPN has acquired exclusive rights in the United States to Canadian Football League (CFL) games through a multi-year agreement, beginning with the 2014 season. ESPN will present at least 86 games in 2014 with 17 or more contests to be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, including the 102nd Grey Cup. An additional 69 games will be carried on ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, ESPN3.
The TV schedule kicks off Saturday, June 28, at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2 when the Calgary Stampeders host the Montreal Alouettes, whose star wide receiver is Duron Carter, son of ESPN NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Canada’s Sports Leader TSN will work with ESPN on game productions and their team of commentators will call the games.
ESPN’s relationship with the CFL spans more than three decades. In 1980, ESPN televised its first live football telecast ever – the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts vs. Montreal Alouettes – and continued televising CFL games from 1980-84, 1986-89, 1994-97 and in 2013. Additionally, ESPN3 has carried CFL games since 2008, including 54 games in 2013.
“Since the early days of ESPN, CFL games have been a valued part of our programming lineup,” said Burke Magnus, Senior Vice President, Programming Acquisitions. “I’m proud to see our relationship continue as we strive to serve football fans 365 days a year.”
“We are thrilled for our fans in the United States that the ESPN networks will be the exclusive home of our league there,” said Mark Cohon, Commissioner of the CFL. “This is a powerful showcase for our talented athletes, our exciting brand of football, and the CFL itself, a league with a proud history but, more importantly, a bright future.”
CFL games presented on ESPN networks will also be available to audiences in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Rim. Further, games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS will be available on WatchESPN for fans with video subscriptions from affiliated providers.