CFL should embrace DAZN or other streaming services

A big change is coming to the Canadian sports broadcasting landscape and that could be good news for the CFL down the road.

Recently the National Football League announced that international rights (which now includes Canada) to their streaming service, NFL Game Pass have been sold to international sports streaming service DAZN (pronounced DaZone, apparently). The London, England based service has been growing in popularity in parts of Asia and Europe as it currently holds broadcast or streaming rights to some soccer, rugby, tennis, hockey, baseball and more on those continents.

DAZN is making its move into the North America market through Canada by adding exclusive rights to NFL Sunday Ticket and RedZone on top of Game Pass for the next five years (so, don’t look for that as part of your cable package anymore).

For the time being, this doesn’t really affect the CFL. Bell Media currently owns exclusive rights to essentially everything to do with video and broadcasting of a CFL game. That being said, if there is an opportunity for the CFL to get on board with DAZN or another service they absolutely should. The league is currently looking for ways to attract a younger audience and streaming has increasingly become the go-to way for 20 and 30-year-olds to consume content. I would know, because I’m at the older end of what is considered a millennial, as are most of my friends, and we stream a lot of sports and TV. You know what most of us are planning to do? Subscribe to DAZN for at least the NFL season, maybe more. This is hardly a significant sample size, it’s about as reliable as Professor John Miller’s CFL Fans Study. That being said, I feel like we are not alone.

When Rogers acquired the NHL rights a few years ago now, they made sure to buy up the rights to NHL GameCentre Live in Canada as they felt this kind of service was the future of sports broadcasting.

In a perfect world, DAZN or another service would be able to buy up streaming rights to at least some games from Bell Media so the CFL could get the streaming presence it badly needs in its home and native land ahead of a new broadcast deal that brought streaming on-board full-time. DAZN seems to make the most sense with a built in football audience already subscribing to the service, however, anything will be better than what the league currently has. TSNGO is a fine service, but it doesn’t really help out those who don’t have cable.

Whether it’s through DAZN, TSN or the league itself, it’s time the CFL offered a true streaming service for fans in Canada. That doesn’t mean the league should abandon traditional TV when the next deal is up, but non-traditional broadcasting needs to be considered more than it currently is.

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson

Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.
Joel Gasson
Joel Gasson
About Joel Gasson (149 Articles)
Joel Gasson is a Regina-based sports writer, broadcaster and football fanatic.

22 Comments on CFL should embrace DAZN or other streaming services

  1. 100% they are losing am audience because of no streaming.

  2. IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 8, 2017 at 11:35 am //

    Gotta stay with the times. I think the CFL should invest in technology and be a technological innovator in sports. Use chip technology in balls and the goal line, goal posts.
    They should start offering in stadium parking spots for car sharing services too.
    Unfortunately our knew commissioner so far seems like a half measure kind of guy and likely doesn’t have the ingenuity to take this on

    • Solara2000 // August 8, 2017 at 12:57 pm //

      Seems like an uninformed comment offered from your couch. I don’t know whether the new Commish is “…a half measure kind of guy” but I certainly wouldn’t profess to be able to make that type of assinine comment on someone in a complex job after a month or so.

    • Why would the commish or the CFL take this on????
      They sold the broadcast rights to TSN and they are paid $45 MILLION a year. It’s up to the broadcaster, TSN, to invest in the technology.
      As for car sharing??? you can take uber or share buy taking a bus.

      • IMAN ICE HORSIE // August 8, 2017 at 2:39 pm //

        What a backward comment!
        First off. If no one is watching TSN will not offer the league this much or any money quite possibly.
        Do you know what car sharing service is?
        You telling people to take Uber or bus is like me telling you not to buy a car and use Uber or take the bus!!!!

  3. This article basically echoes what myself and my circle of friends are doing. I can guarantee that if a legit streaming service was available, the CFL would have more fans watching more games.
    I won’t get cable only to watch the CFL, but I’d definitely pay for a streaming service to watch.

    • TSN has the rights to all CFL games so unless they set up a stand alone streaming service you won’t see it.
      Rogers has a stand alone sports streaming service, it’s around $20 a month. It’s great if you want to watch the Jays and you don’t want to subscribe to cable/satellite subscription.
      TSN GO is available but only if you have a cable/sat package that includes TSN

  4. eogweotr // August 8, 2017 at 2:38 pm //

    Streaming the CFL games means diddly-squat. A number of leagues/college conferences already stream but get almost no revenue. The ESPN3 deal in the US likely falls in that category. Any significant benefit of DAZN to the CFL will hopefully be as a competitor to drive up the rights to air the games. Without any interest by DAZN or any other entity willing to give the CFL any decent coin, nothing much will change.

  5. mr62cats // August 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm //

    The minute streaming of CFL begins it’s goodbye cable TV for me.
    I would be happy to pay to watch Tiger-Cat games.
    Unfortunately TSN and cable TV knows that so I don’t expect CFL streaming will happen separately from the cable or satellite companies. We’ll just pay more if we want the games on our smartphones.

  6. The biggest problem with this DAZN service are the drawbacks it has since its the “Exclusive” home of the NFL in Canada.
    While I am all for progression and not being handcuffed to the CRTC and Cancontent laws… The service has a 2-5 minute delay, maxed at 2 streams at a time, does not have smart TV support, does not have PIP feature like the old gamepass, is not available on ROKU (one of the most popular North American streaming boxes).
    The ability to get 3 games going on a sunday with the BBQ and a bunch of beers isn’t possible with this new service, and connecting my laptop via HDMI to a television is well, 2002.
    DAZN presents a great opportunity for the CFL, aswell as the NFL in Canada. But the NFL selling exclusive rights to DAZN for Canada is a huge drop of the ball and sets us back more than it moves us ahead.

  7. Either the CFL or TSN needs to realize what everyone here is saying. I would gladly pay for TSN streaming only, or for a CFL streaming option, but am not willing to pay for cable or satellite at $50+ a month for it. If TSN thinks that holding out on doing this is doing anything but losing them potential subscribers, they’re out of touch.

    • I think Jonny is right on. Trying to force fans to enjoy a game the way THEY want us to (the way THEY make the most money) only forces more and more fans to turn away. Why not offer all options? Make the fans happy! Look at BC and Toronto. The trend has been less fans at games every year. But do they accept that too many fans no longer want to pay $25 for parking, $100 for a decent seat, $10 for a hotdog and $8 for a small drink? NO, they continue to market to get fans into the seats and it’s just not going to happen no matter how well the team plays. Things have changed and it’s time to adjust to the changes TSN and CFL.

  8. The only reason I have cable is because of the requirement to have cable in order to watch the games. personally I think it is collusion and should be stopped. I would gladly pay to stream.

  9. Totally agree. I would pay for CFL on demand. Not getting cable just to watch CFL.

  10. PsdNFLfan // August 9, 2017 at 9:52 am //

    While I think a streaming service for CFL games is a great idea, they need to carefully consider how its done to be fair to all stakeholders and fans.

    The NFL has basically given Canadians a big middle finger with its switch to DAZN. Now we have to pay more for an inferior service with no option to buy gamepass or Sunday Ticket as part of our cable packages anymore.

    DAZN games are delayed (NOT live) and you can only stream 2 at once. Furthermore, streaming is great until you get a house full of people all trying to use one internet connection. Girlfirend is playing warcraft, kids are all doing their own thing and your game quality falls well below HD. So now we can pay more for an inferior service or do like I am doing and say goodbye to the NFL. The product has been going downhill for a few years anyway.

    • PsdNFLfan: It’s not a total loss. Most cable systems give you a choice of two NFL games to choose from Sunday afternoons and early evening.Then you get Sunday Night Football. I prefer the CFL but I am happy to have some NFL games available too. It also gives me another 2 and a half more months of football to help get me through the winter!

  11. The CFL should come up with there own stand alone streaming service – the problem with DAZN and Rogers Sportsnet’s OTT services is that you have to pay for all the content – not just the content you want. It starts to balloon like your cable bill once you add all the other sports rights into one package.

    I’ve written the CFL numerous times telling them I would pay for a CFL package, with them continually directing me to get a TSN subscription. TSN isn’t doing Canadians a favour with TSN Go – it requires a cable subscription – it would be something I would look into without having to pay for all the other channels in a cable TV package.

    I would think it would be in the CFL’s best interest to reach fans, not only in Canada, but internationally, with a service that is easy to get. Also, by having the odd free game on this type of service (one game a week?) the CFL could attract new fans that are under 65.

  12. mr62cats // August 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm //

    Harrison: TSN forces you to buy two of their channels on Cogeco. I have raised hell with Cogeco in the past about not having CFL football on the basic service…when NFL games are included in the basic package.
    Cogeco says it’s not their fault. They say TSN demands that Cogeco customers(and other cable subscribers I assume) pay for two of their channels to get their service or they won’t allow Cogeco to carry their programming. CNN does the same thing. You have to have HLN to get CNN.
    The customers are getting chiselled by TSN because they know there no other source for the CFL.Unless the CRTC steps in (I have written to them too) this situation will continue. And even if it does change Cogeco or TSN will find some other way getting more money from you.

  13. I have been using the DAZN service for the past week and it is actually pretty good. For $20 per month you get all NFL games live, RedZone plus NFL Network in HD. As a Shaw subscriber to get a similar package in the past would have cost $200 plus they do not carry the NFL Network in HD, plus they did not carry the pre-season (for what that is worth). So for the 4 months that I would use DAZN during the NFL season I save $120 and get the NFL Network in HD and can access it on multiple devices including my big screen TV. I have been using the service with Chromecast (which cost me $50) and it works well (you can easily stream from PC or any Android device). There is a delay as with all sports streaming services (such as MLB.TV) but it is not 2-5 minutes and unless you are following scores on your phone you won’t even notice the delay. I much prefer the ability to get my sports via a streaming service and have been a MLB.TV subscriber for years and used to get NHL GameCentre until I gave up on the NHL as a whole. I have no use for the talking head shows on the sports networks so I wouldn’t be missing anything if all of the major sports were accessible via streaming.

  14. I find crazy that TSN already has the product/setup (TSN Go). All they have to do is add a standalone login. Why this wasn’t done three years ago is beyond me.

  15. I have been trying to be a CFL fan for a few years but I am ready to give up on them .
    I dont have a residence in Canada so I cant get cable. No way to stream CFL in Canada or any other country where I work . I would be happy to pay a lot for a season for streaming from any where . I cant go to the stadiums and I cant get cable . CFL/TSN not interested in more paying fans ?

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