Bob Irving calls out TSN for making ‘big deal’ of J.J. Watt signing while lacking CFL coverage

When Winnipeg media legend Bob Irving speaks, lots of people listen.

The 71-year-old longtime voice of the Blue Bombers on 680 CJOB radio — more affectionately known as ‘Knuckles’ — just wants equal NFL and CFL television coverage from the three-down league’s sole TV partner.

TSN, the CFL’s television partner, made a big deal out of JJ Watt signing with Arizona. Big story. I wonder if they’ll do likewise when/if high profile CFL free agent Henoc Muamba signs with the Argos or whoever?? Isn’t that what a good TV partner would do?? Just wondering, Irving wrote on Twitter.

Glad I inspired some spirited dialogue on the TSN/CFL/NFL/Watt/Muamba topic. By the way if you don’t know who Henoc Muamba is you DO NOT follow the CFL, Irving signed off with that quip.

Even though TSN has taken the league to new viewership heights, many fans have wondered why the CFL isn’t featured more in the off-season. There is no free agency special like there is for the NHL. Outside of the CFL Draft, the league isn’t featured until football is being played.

TSN and the CFL agreed to a new six-year contract extension during the 2019 season. The league’s contract with TSN was coming for renewal after the 2021 season and that deal was extended in 2015. Under the new pact, TSN is scheduled to pay the CFL approximately $50 million per season.

In March 2013, the CFL and TSN agreed to a five-year broadcast agreement that was reportedly worth $43 million annually, starting in 2014. That was more than two-and-a-half times the previous five-year agreement, which was worth $15 million a year.

Under terms of the extension, TSN and RDS continue to hold exclusive media rights to all CFL games, including the Grey Cup. In addition to broadcast and digital rights, the deal features exclusive radio rights to the Grey Cup for Bell Media’s Grey Cup Radio Network.

Irving speaks for many fans who feel TSN hasn’t taken advantage of the exclusivity.

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