By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard
July 1st marks the beginning of a slowdown of sorts in the US sports world. The NBA and NHL have finished their seasons off and the NFL is about 20 days away from the opening of their training camps. That leaves just MLB and MLS for your sports fix…and now the CFL.
The Canadian Football League has always been a fringe sport in America. It tried years ago to jump into the American football psyche with US based teams. That experiment failed and the CFL almost went under. Few people follow the legue and until recently it hasn’t been readily available on American television for sometime. That all changed a few years ago and now the CFL is available on not just ESPN 3 but also on ESPN 2 and the NBC Sports Network.
It shouldn’t seem like much of a surprise that the CFL is now on American television and online. What is a surprise is that it has taken so long. With so many national and regional sports channels hungry for content it is really surprising that the CFL hasn’t had more of an American footprint. Was there some other football league playing competitive games during the summer that we didn’t know about?
ESPN and NBC Sports Network have also figured out how to do this on the cheap. They are not paying for any of the production (that we know of). They are merely taking the TSN signal and then breaking off during commercials and at halftime. In this day and age of leaner media organizations you can see how this is a win-win.
America is a football nation but the NFL and college football only play 5 months out of the year (regular season and post season). This leaves a CFL sized field (110 years long and 65 yards wide) pretty open space to run around in. Broadcasters seem to have figured out how to fill the void now the question remains will American fans tune in?