The proverbial football marketplace of ideas is crowded these days, what with the NFL taking up most of the attention and two startup leagues vying for attention. There’s also the canadian version of football — three downs and a bigger field — that comes to us through the Canadian Football League.
The CFL has gained a foothold on American television through ESPN over the last few years, and it looks like that foothold will expand both on traditional cable and through ESPN’s streaming services. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported Monday that the CFL will sign a multi-year extension with ESPN later this week.
SBJ reported the deal would put “at least” 20 games on ESPN networks, often ESPN or ESPN 2, including a divisional final game and the league’s annual Grey Cup. At least 65 games will also stream on ESPN+, and the league will make every game available to that streaming package as well.
“I feel like we have the right partnership with ESPN,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie told Sports Business Journal. “We have big, bold, new plans to expand our league and grow our business.”
That expansion is an international push, both with the league’s player pool and visibility on a global stage.
This is part of what Ambrosie has referred to as CFL 2.0, which means expanding globally. This week, the CFL is holding its first scouting combine in Mexico City. It is looking into partnering with American football leagues in other countries and scouting players outside of the U.S. and Canada.
The next CFL season kicks off in June and runs until November, and Ambroise said all CFL games will be up for grabs, so expect to see some extra-wide football fields on your screen very soon.