If you live in Canada, you can watch the CFL on TSN, subject to local blackout. In the United States? Well …
We know the NFL Network won't carry the CFL this year.For those who missed the tweet, we noted that CFL insider Dave Naylor says the league is close to a U.S. TV deal that would cover the 2nd half of the season and the playoffs, including the Grey Cup. (Thanks Tim for letting us know about this.) When we know which outlet that will be and the details, we will post the information on Twitter and update this preview.
The CFL weighed in via its Facebook page:
The CFL is pleased to inform our fans south of the border that all games will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. This service will be available in the United States only. In addition to ESPN3.com, we are currently working on a TV deal with a US broadcaster, but that won't be in place for this weekend. CFL games won't be on NFL Network this year.
We had speculated about NBCSN taking on the CFL contract. One of our fine readers noted that NBCSN would be busy during the Olympics, but that would have been kin to the NFL Network not showing games in August due to showing preseason NFL games. Much better than having no TV contract. The 2nd half of the season element to the rumor does point to NBCSN as a leading candidate.
Games are available online in Canada at TSN.ca and ESPN3 in the United States. The WatchESPN Web site and app will be helpful for Americans to watch the game on their computer or smartphone.
TSN's CFL TV deal expires next year. No one seems to think that TSN will lose the rights to the CFL, but there is a chance that some games will be farmed out, more likely to CBC than Rogers Sportsnet. If the CBC loses part or all of the NHL deal, look for the network to try harder for the CFL.
Before this new TV deal, the CBC carried a weekly game along with holiday doubleheaders and the entire playoff schedule.
The season gets underway with a doubleheader on June 29 with Saskatchewan @ Hamilton early and Winnipeg @ BC late. The Canada Day weekend finishes up with Toronto @ Edmonton on Saturday and Montréal @ Calgary on Canada Day on Sunday.
The first two weekends in August will serve as the bye weeks, those weekends only featuring two games per week. The battles of Ontario and Alberta will be in the spotlight on Labour Day in Hamilton and Calgary. Thanksgiving Day Monday has another doubleheader with Winnipeg @ Montréal and Saskatchewan @ Toronto. The regular season ends November 3.
2012 marks a year where we will have no new stadiums, an anamoly given what is coming. Winnipeg was supposed to move into its new Investor Group Field in 2012. The idea was to play a few games at Canad Inns Stadium and make the move within the season. That kept getting pushed back until finally they used the word 2013.
The B.C. Lions are finally in their refurbished B.C. Place. 2012 will be the last year for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The stadium will be refurbished for the 2015 Pan-Am Games and be ready by 2014. The team wanted to play in Hamilton at Ron Joyce Stadium on the campus of McMaster University, but the university said no.
Hamilton is looking at the stadium for University of Western Ontario in London, but with a capacity of 8,000, that could be a tough sell. Look for the Tiger-Cats to play some of its games in Moncton, NB in 2013 and maybe Toronto.
Speaking of Toronto, off-season speculation has that Rogers Centre might, might switch to grass. While CFL teams have played on grass, the speculation has that the Argonauts would have to leave Rogers Centre if the grass move was made.
Toronto has Varsity Stadium and BMO Field, both theoretical possibilities for the Argos, but both have run into problems and issues.
Ottawa won't be playing until at least 2014 due to its own stadium issues. The most ideal scenario would be for Ottawa to start by playing in Moncton, and then moving to Ottawa when the stadium would be ready.
No offense to the other 11 players in the offense, but the quarterback is the most prominent position in the CFL. The off-season has seen a jumble of quarterback shuffles.
Ricky Ray (Edmonton) and Henry Burris (Calgary) were the stalwarts of the Battle of Alberta. Now they are the leaders of the Battle of Ontario, with Ray in Toronto and Burris in Hamilton.
Kevin Glenn went from Hamilton to Calgary, but he'll be backing up Drew Tate, who came on like gangbusters last season to take the #1 job. Quinton Porter will backup Burris in Hamilton.
The team with the most uncertainty at the QB position is Edmonton, though the team named Steven Jyles as the new QB. Jyles was acquired in the Toronto trade. Kerry Joseph is waiting in the wings. Either one will have tough shoes to replace a two-time Grey Cup champ.
In the stability category, Anthony Calvillo (Montréal), Buck Pierce (Winnipeg), Travis Lulay (B.C.), and Darian Durant (Saskatchewan)will lead their teams.