Frequently Asked Questions about Schedules
- When is the CFL schedule released? When does the CFL schedule come out?#
Based on recent history, expect the schedule to be released in February. The schedule has been published in February the past six out of the last seven years (Feb. 28 in 2007, Feb. 21 in 2008, Feb. 3 in 2009, Feb. 1 in 2010, Feb. 18 in 2011, Feb. 17 in 2012 and March 5 in 2013).
Expect delays in the schedule release date over the next few years as the task of scheduling games has become more complicated with the number of teams renovating and building new stadiums adding to stadium availability issues that are increasing in Toronto, Vancouver and other centres as well as television requirements.
- Where can I get a CFL or team schedule? Is the CFL schedule available in iCal or Google Calendar format?#
Check out the schedules page which provides a number of resources and links for the CFL schedule, including iCal format or printable league and team schedules. Printed schedules are also usually available from team ticket offices by training camp each year.
- Which CFL games are televised? Where can I get a television schedule for my team? Are CFL pre-season games televised?#
In Canada, all regular season and playoff games are televised on TSN for the 2013 season (TSN has exercised their contract option for the 2013 season). Check the schedules page for complete and team schedules with the knowledge that all games are televised on TSN in Canada subject to local blackouts. For the French language, RDS carries all Montreal Alouette games and RDS2 will show 27 games between other CFL clubs in 2013. TSN/RDS have signed another 5-year agreement to be the exclusive broadcaster of the CFL through the 2018 season.
For finding the broadcasters of CFL games in the US, please see the CFL's US and International Broadcaster schedule, the schedule usually released in June.
In 2013, TSN/TSN2 is scheduled to broadcast six pre-season games. In 2012, TSN/TSN2 broadcast four pre-season games. In 2011, TSN televised 7 of 8 pre-season games on TSN or TSN2. Prior to 2011 CFL pre-season games have not been televised nationally since the early 1980's with two exceptions: a game in Portland, Oregon in 1992 and a game in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2005, both by TSN. There was the opportunity for televised coverage of a team's home games in local and regional markets, as in Hamilton and Saskatchewan in 2010. Regional broadcasts were common until the mid-1980's.
- What CFL games are on ESPN3? How do I watch the CFL on ESPN3?#
All CFL games are available on ESPN3 on US domestic Internet and wireless services. ESPN3 is a Internet video streaming service, allowing you to watch broadcasts on a computer or mobile device.
As of Aug. 27, 2012 ESPN3 is available to US subscribers of participating cable or internet providers that offer ESPN3 or WatchESPN. It is not available to subscribers of Canadian cable providers.
If you subscribe to one of the ESPN3 partners, you will need to register online for a WatchESPN account. Once you have that account, go to the ESPN3 Upcoming CFL games page. Select the game you would like to watch and verify your ESPN3 access. You may also use the WatchESPN app on a mobile device.
This tutorial has been made without any real access here, so feel free to send corrections. If you are having issues, please read their FAQ and contact ESPN (see bottom of FAQ page for contact number).
- What is the blackout policy of the CFL? What CFL games are blacked out? Can I get my team's blackout schedule for the season?#
Blackout areas are defined in Section 6 of the CFL Constitution as 120 kilometres from the city limits of the city the game is being played in or the province of Saskatchewan for games played in that province. Blackouts are instituted by cable/satellite providers (or, in the past, over-the-air broadcasters) at the direction of the CFL and the broadcast rights holder. The CRTC is not involved in the decision to black out CFL games in the local market, it is purely an option negotiated by the league with the rights holder.
A report from 2006 (when the new contract was signed) indicates that blackouts are controlled at the league level and requires the league to lift the blackout on a minimum number of games each year. Article VI of the CFL Constitution outlines the television and blackout policy (may be outdated). By its wording, it appears that a base price for lifting blackouts in each market is determined each year by the board along with the total number of home game blackouts to be permitted in a season. A portion of rights fees is then used to compensate teams for lifting blackouts (thus theoretically creating higher television ratings). Reinterpreting this article, the pool allowed teams to blackout two games in 2009, meaning the pool size was 56 games. Blackout decisions revert to the league if 90% of tickets are sold 48 hours prior to the game start. It is the opinion of Eskimos CEO Rick LeLacheur that this is the last television rights agreement to have blackout stipulations for the CFL. Since TSN began broadcasting games in High Definition in 2007, HD broadcasts have not been affected by blackouts to our knowledge.
The Constitution does not hold the whole story it appears, as this mailbag question (see last question) to Drew Edwards from April 2010 (another article that also references these restrictions) indicates that each team can black out 5 games per season except for Toronto and Hamilton which can black out a maximum of 2 games. Yet Terry Jones says in Aug. 2010 the Eskimos can choose to black out one game per season. In 2011, the BC Lions instituted blackouts for their return to a renovated BC Place stadium and will continue the practice in 2012 when games are not a sellout.
The simple solution to avoiding blackouts is for tickets to be sold. If every team was playing to 90%+ capacity crowds, the league would be healthy and blackouts certainly would be a tool not as necessary to use. Until those tickets are sold, there is no right for someone sitting at home to watch the game, good weather or bad.
Blackouts are not determined prior to the season and are not published with team schedules since they are unknown on a game by game basis until the required number of ticket sales occur or the deadline to lift the blackout is passed. Teams use blackouts as a tool to maintain ticket sales. The CFL is a gate-driven league and their television contract would need to increase by over four times for each team to generate the same amount of revenue from broadcasts as they do from ticket sales.
The policy for the past 20 years at least has been that playoff games are not blacked out. I believe the Grey Cup has not been blacked out since it was first televised.
The previous agreement (2002 through 2007), if I remember correctly, required teams to lift at least two blackouts per season.
Blackouts are not a Canadian phenomenon; blackouts occur south of the border as well.
- How many games in the CFL season? How long is the CFL season? How many games does a CFL team play in the regular season? When did the amount of CFL regular season games increase? When did full interlocking play begin?#
The CFL currently plays 18 games per team in the regular season, nine games each at home and away. With eight teams this equates to 72 total games per season for the league. The season takes approximately 6 months from June 1 to the last Sunday of November, with 1 month for training camp/pre-season, 19-20 weeks for the regular season and 3 weeks for the playoffs and Grey Cup championship.
In a nine-team circuit (1986, 1993, 1996, 2002-2005) there was 81 games per season, 108 games in a 12-team loop (1994), and 117 games when there was 13 teams (1995), all with an 18-game schedule.
The CFL increased the amount of regular season games from 16 to 18 in 1986. A 16 game regular season schedule was in place from 1974 to 1985. During this time a four game pre-season schedule was used. The pre-season schedule was reduced to two games per team with the introduction of the expanded 18 game regular season schedule and is in use today.
Prior to 1974 the Eastern Conference played only 14 regular season games while the Western Conference played 16, a practice they began in 1952.
Full interlocking play began in 1981. Partial interlocking play did not begin until 1961. Prior to that, east-west cross-country play occurred only in the pre-season. For example, the BC Lions franchise debut at home occurred against the Montreal Alouettes on August 11, 1954.
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