CFL inks new deal with TSN
The Canadian Football League announced Wednesday it has signed a new television contract with TSN in a deal that leaves the CBC watching from the sidelines.
The new five-year contract, which includes an option year, begins in 2008 and will see TSN serve as the lone broadcaster of all regular-season and playoff games, including the Grey Cup.
Financial terms of the new contract were not released.
Under the terms of the deal, TSN has the broadcast rights to the CFL’s annual 77-game package: 72 regular-season games, four playoff contests and the Grey Cup.
“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 of TSN.
CBC spokesperson Jeff Keay expressed disappointment with the deal.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed that after more than 50 seasons of football on CBC Television that the CFL has made this decision. The CBC has a long and proud tradition of making football available to Canadians across the country.”
Keay said the CBC was not given an opportunity by the CFL to participate in the bidding process.
“We didn’t get a chance to come to the table at all.”
This new contract reflects a fundamental shift in the Canadian television industry. Under the past two TV deals, TSN sold rights to some regular-season games, all playoff contests and the Grey Cup to CBC for a fee.
However, TSN’s sale to CTV in 1999 and their subsequent purchase by BCE, which rolled them into Bell Globemedia in 2000, allow TSN to hold onto the full rights package instead of selling off a portion of them.
NHL contract still on block
The new CFL deal is the latest setback for CBC Sports, which lost the rights to Canadian Curling Association properties, such as the Brier and Tournament of Hearts, to CTV-TSN earlier this year.
Last year, a Bell Globemedia-Rogers Communications consortium won the rights to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. CBC had held Olympic broadcast rights since 1996.
CBC Sports responded to those losses by signing an eight-year agreement with FIFA that includes the rights to the next two World Cups, a four-year deal for Alpine skiing and an eight-year contract for the World Curling Tour’s Grand Slam events.
The big prize still up for grabs is the rights to NHL games. The CBC’s deal with the league expires after the 2007-08 season, and CTV-TSN is believed to be readying to table a serious bid for the rights.
CFL inks new deal with TSN