CFL on NBC was a de facto branding for the Canadian Football League (CFL) games that have been carried on American broadcaster NBC or its sports network, NBCSN.

Country of origin United States
Running time3 hours
Original networkNBCSN (2012–2013)
Original release2012 –


NBC's first attempt (1954)

NBC's first run broadcasting Canadian football involved coverage of a collection of Big Four/IRFU (the predecessor to the CFL's East Division) games and the Grey Cup in 1954.[1] NBC's coverage during this period (simulcasting the Canadian national broadcaster) provided far more coverage than the NFL's existing contract with DuMont. NBC aired games on Saturday afternoons, competing against college football broadcasts on CBS and ABC (at the time, college football telecasts were far more restricted than are today). The revenue from the contract allowed the IRFU to directly compete against the NFL for players during the 1950s; the American viewership arguably prompted the league to finally raise the point value of touchdowns from 5 points to 6, as it has been in the American game since 1912, in 1956, and to play some exhibition and regular season games in the United States beginning in 1957. Interest in the CFL in the United States faded dramatically after the debut of the American Football League in 1960.[2]

Between 1955 and 1980, only one game was televised on U.S. television, the 1962 Grey Cup (which was broadcast by ABC).

1982 experimentation

NBC (with the exception of its northernmost affiliates that were located close to the Canadian border) broadcast games in the CFL for three weeks during the 1982 NFL players' strike[3][4] The first week of broadcasts featured the NFL on NBC broadcast teams, before a series of blowout games on the network and the resulting low ratings resulted in NBC cutting back and eventually cancelling its CFL coverage. (At the time, ESPN held the U.S. broadcast rights, who sublicensed them to NBC during the strike; rights reverted to ESPN after the experiment failed.)

Interim American coverage (1983-2011)

In 2008, when NBCSN was known as Versus and not yet under the same corporate umbrella as NBC, it aired the 96th Grey Cup.

The Canadian Football League entered into a much more generous contract with the America One television network that had run from 2001 through 2009. That contract allowed for the majority of CFL games to be televised in the United States, with America One syndicating the Canadian coverage (from TSN or, prior to 2008, CBC) primarily to regional sports networks. A number of factors led to America One not renewing their contract after the 2009 season. On July 1, 2010, NFL Network began airing live Canadian Football League games, again simulcasting TSN. This much more limited package did not include any games in August (during the NFL preseason), any playoff games, the Labour Day Classic (one of the Labour Day games was carried in 2011 but not the other), Thanksgiving Day Classic, or the Grey Cup. NFL Network aired Thursday games, three Saturday games in July, and then Friday night games beginning again in September (after ArenaBowl XXIII; NFL Network also held rights to the Arena Football League and aired a weekly game on Friday nights).[5][6] NFL Network announced it would not renew its deal with the CFL on May 25, 2012.[7]

NBCSN's coverage (2012-2013)

The package was picked up by NBCSN[8][9] starting on Monday August 27, 2012 with 14 games total broadcast on NBC Sports Network including 9 regular season games (including both Labour Day Classic games) and [10] all of the playoffs and Grey Cup.[11] NBC renewed its deal with the CFL shortly before the 2013 regular season, but the deal scaled back the network's playoff coverage (the network will not air the first round games and will only air the conference finals on tape delay). The 2013 U.S. TV schedule featured 11 regular season games live (including the lone Labour Day Classic contest), three tape-delayed contests in October (including the displaced Toronto-Hamilton Thanksgiving Day Classic, which will air at midnight the Wednesday after), and the Grey Cup live.[12]

In an oddity, NBCSN only owned the traditional television rights to the league, while another network owned the Internet rights; ESPN3 has carried CFL games on the Internet since 2008. (ESPN Inc., ESPN3's parent company, holds a minority stake in TSN.) The CFL granted exclusive broadcast and Internet rights to ESPN in a multinational, five-year deal prior to the 2014 season, ending NBCSN's involvement with the league until at least 2019.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "54, 40 or Fight" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2011.
  3. ^ "CFL on NBC". Archived from the original on 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2009-10-27.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ "1982: Bush-league football?". CBC Digital Archives. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  5. ^ NFL Network Going Canadian - CFL games begin airing on network July 1 Broadcasting & Cable July 1, 2010
  6. ^ CFL to air on NFL Network Archived 2014-03-04 at the Wayback Machine CFL Official Site June 30, 2010
  7. ^ McMillan, Ken (May 25, 2012). No CFL on NFLN, eh?. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  8. ^ Fang, Ken (21 July 2012). "CFL Finally Has A US TV Contract; Games Air On NBC Sports Network". Fang's Bites. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  9. ^ Bucholtz, Andrew (21 July 2012). "NBC SPORTS NETWORK'S CFL DEAL COULD GIVE IT MORE VALUABLE CONTENT". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  10. ^ 100th Grey Cup Game to air live in US on NBC Sports Network Archived 2015-10-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "100th Grey Cup to air live in U.S. on NBC Sports Network". Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2017-08-25.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
2014 CFL season

The 2014 Canadian Football League season was the 61st season of modern Canadian professional football. It was the 57th season of the league. Vancouver hosted the 102nd Grey Cup on November 30. The league expanded to nine teams with the addition of the Ottawa Redblacks, giving the CFL nine teams for the first time since the 2005 season. As a result of the expansion, the schedule shifted to a 20-week regular season plus three weeks of playoffs (including the Grey Cup); the season started on June 26, 2014.

Canadian Football League in the United States

The Canadian Football League (CFL), the sole major professional sports league in the United States and Canada to feature only teams from Canada, has made efforts to gain further audience in the United States, most directly through expansion into the country from 1993 to 1995. The CFL plays Canadian football, which is somewhat different from the American football usual in the United States.

The first American team, the Sacramento Gold Miners, joined in 1993. The league added three more American teams in 1994, after which two more teams joined, one re-located and one folded to bring the total to five in 1995. In the latter year, the teams were aligned into a new South Division. The three years saw numerous ownership debacles on both sides of the U.S.–Canada border. The Baltimore Stallions became the only American-based team to win the Grey Cup championship, in 1995.

With the exception of Baltimore, the American teams consistently lost money. CFL games in the United States by its American teams averaged 10,000 to 15,000 in paid attendance, while the Stallions ranged from 30,000 to 37,000. (At the time, the CFL was a gate-driven league). Tension also arose between the American and Canadian contingents over rule changes, scheduling, import rules, and even the name of the league itself. Facing these difficulties, the league again fielded only Canadian teams beginning with the 1996 season.

While expansion was the most notable CFL effort in the United States, the league had also made previous inroads. Eleven neutral-site CFL games (including exhibition games) have been held in the United States. In earlier decades when the CFL season started much later than it does today (i.e. around the same time as that of the National Football League), NFL teams were occasionally invited northward for exhibition interleague play.

The CFL has also attempted to find a television audience in the United States, with one notable venture coinciding with the NFL players' strike in 1982, and more recently on ESPN. While the CFL's presence on U.S. television has consistently been limited to cable TV networks, its U.S. TV audience was enough to account for about 20% of the league's total North American viewership during the 2018 season.

NBC Sports

NBC Sports is the programming division of the American broadcast network NBC, owned by the NBCUniversal Television Group division of NBCUniversal, that is responsible for sports broadcasts on the network, and its dedicated national sports cable channels. Formerly operating as "a service of NBC News", it broadcasts a diverse array of sports events, including the Olympic Games, the NFL, NASCAR, the NHL, Notre Dame football, the PGA Tour, the IndyCar Series, the Premier League, and the Triple Crown, among others. Other programming from outside producers – such as coverage of the Ironman Triathlon – is also presented on the network through NBC Sports. With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal, its own cable sports networks were aligned with NBC Sports into a part of the division known as the NBC Sports Group.


The NFL on NBC is the branding used for broadcasts of National Football League (NFL) games that are produced by NBC Sports, and televised on the NBC television network in the United States.

NBC had sporadically carried NFL games as early as 1939, including the championship and Pro Bowl through the 1950s and early 1960s. Beginning in 1965, NBC signed an agreement to carry the American Football League's telecasts, which carried over with the American Football Conference (AFC) when the AFL merged with the NFL. NBC would continuously carry the AFL/AFC's Sunday afternoon games from 1965 through the 1997 season, after which NBC lost the AFC contract to CBS.

NFL coverage returned to NBC on August 6, 2006, under the title NBC Sunday Night Football, beginning with its coverage of the preseason Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. From 2016 to 2017, NBC added a five-game Thursday Night Football package to its offerings supplementing two Thursday games that were already part of the Sunday Night Football package. Game coverage is usually preceded by the pregame show Football Night in America.

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