TORONTO – Canadian sports cable channels TSN and RDS have renewed their exclusive TV deal with the Canadian Football League through to 2018.
The new five-year deal gives TSN and RDS, its French-language counterpart, all media rights to CFL pre-season and regular season, playoff and Grey Cup championship games.
Beyond broadcast and digital rights, the new deal includes exclusive radio rights to the Grey Cup for TSN and TEAM Radio stations.
TSN, which has aired CFL gridiron football games since 1986, in 2008 along with RDS became the exclusive broadcasters of the CFL and the Grey Cup as the sports channel increased its competition for marquee TV sports properties with rival Sportsnet to raise higher subscriber fees.
Elsewhere, TSN and Sportsnet are both airing NHL hockey games and sharing the multimedia rights for TV, online and mobile to popular Barclays Premier League soccer games.
The new exclusive CFL deal also comes as the Canadian football league has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity among domestic TV viewers, which also have blanket access to NFL games on local TV schedules.
CFL games feature 12 players on the field for each team, compared to 11 in the NFL, three downs rather than four for each possession and a wider and deeper end zone.
Last year’s 100th Grey Cup game on TSN was the most watched ever on English-language TV here, averaging 5.4 million viewers.
TSN and RDS’ current agreement with the CFL expires at the end of the 2013 season.