Based off its success airing it last season, NFL Network has announced a new agreement with the Canadian Football League to air more games for 2011, deciding to show two games a week during the regular season. Some weeks, NFL Network will air TSN’s Saturday night doubleheader, other weeks, NFL Network will a game on Thursday and on Saturday. In addition, NFL Network has the option in case of an NFL lockout to air CFL playoff games and the Grey Cup championship game. We have the press release from NFL Network.
New Deal Calls for Two CFL Games Per Week on NFL Network in 2011
Two Canadian Football League games per week will be broadcast on NFL Network in the United States this season, the Canadian Football League and NFL Network announced today.
NFL Network’s telecast of 2011 CFL regular season games is a part of a new agreement with the CFL. The network also has the option to show additional games in the regular season, the CFL Playoffs and the Grey Cup championship game.
“This is very positive news for our CFL fans living in the United States,” said Michael Copeland, Chief Operating Officer of the CFL. “And it’s a very positive development for our football operations as it will continue to expose our product to prospects across the U.S.”
Last season, NFL Network carried 14 CFL games featuring the fast-paced, wide open Canadian game which included numerous players familiar to Americans who follow U.S. college football. Additionally, the CFL continues to lay the foundation for some of the NFL’s current standouts. Miami Dolphins LB Cameron Wake, a former BC Lions standout in 2007 and 2008, ranked 3rd in the NFL in sacks and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2010.
“We are pleased to offer more football to our fans with more CFL action this year,” said Lawrence Randall, NFL Network’s Director of Programming. “Delivering live games from all levels of football is part of our commitment to our passionate viewers who want football 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
The games will be produced by TSN, the leading sports broadcaster in Canada. NFL Network subscribers in Canada will get alternate programming due to TSN’s exclusivity.
This year’s CFL season kicks off June 30th when the British Columbia Lions, quarterbacked by former Montana State star Travis Lulay, visit the defending Grey Cup Champion Montreal Alouettes and their head coach Marc Trestman, whose extensive coaching resume includes successful stints as an NFL offensive coordinator in Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Oakland. The 99th Grey Cup game will be played in Vancouver on November 27th.
Canadian football has a history spanning more than a century. The Grey Cup is annually one of the most watched television events north of the border. Home to eight teams, all in Canadian cities, the league features three downs instead of four, 12 men aside instead of 11, unlimited motion before the snap of the ball, and a bigger playing field that measures 65 yards wide and 110 years long, with end zones 20 yards deep.
Some of its most recognizable alumni include former NFL quarterbacks Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Joe Theismann, Jeff Garcia and Joe Kapp and legendary coach Bud Grant. Moon and Grant have the unique honour of belonging to both the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
The first five weeks of CFL matchups featured on NFL Network are listed below. Additional matchups on NFL Network will be announced at a later date.
2011 Canadian Football League Schedule on NFL Network
(Through first five weeks)
Thursday, June 30 — British Columbia @ Montreal, 7:30 PM ET
Saturday, July 2 — Toronto @ Calgary, 8:00 PM ET
Saturday, July 9 — Montreal @ Saskatchewan, 4:00 PM ET
Saturday, July 9 — Hamilton @ Edmonton, 7:00 PM ET
Saturday, July 16 — Saskatchewan @ Hamilton, 4:00 PM ET
Saturday, July 16 — British Columbia @ Edmonton, 7:00 PM ET
Saturday, July 23 — Edmonton @ Calgary, 7:00 PM ET
Sunday, July 24 — Saskatchewan @ Montreal, 7:00 PM ET
Thursday, July 28 — British Columbia @ Winnipeg, 8:00 PM ET
Saturday, July 30 — Calgary @ Saskatchewan, 9:30 PM ET
And that does it.