CFL playoff games to be broadcast on Saturday in 2023, excluding Grey Cup

Photo courtesy: Randy Ambrosie

The Canadian Football League will be making a massive change to their postseason schedule in 2023, moving the playoff slate to Saturday rather than the traditional Sunday.

Commissioner Randy Ambrosie made the announcement in response to a question from fans at his annual Fan State of the League address, receiving uproarious applause.

“I’m happy to tell all of you that, thanks to our teams, starting in 2023 our playoff games — the Western and Eastern Semi-Final and the Western and Eastern Finals — are going to be played on Saturday,” Ambrosie said.

“That is a big shoutout to our nine teams and our nine presidents for their leadership, and also a big shoutout to TSN for their help in making that change happen.”

The CFL rarely plays games on Sundays throughout the regular season, avoiding head-to-head matchups against the NFL schedule. However, that has always changed for the playoffs, a strategy some have questioned in recent years.

Despite being the top sports broadcast of the day, this year’s Divisional Semi-Finals saw a 27 percent decline in television viewership from the previous season. The Divisional Final weekend dropped 17 percent, with the West Final reaching 1.2 million viewers and the East Final attracting 629,000 on English-language television. Those numbers do not include viewership from RDS, TSN’s French-language counterpart.

While the CFL believes a shift away from Sundays could boost their playoff numbers, the Grey Cup will remain on Sundays for now. However, Ambrosie says the league remains in conversation about changing that as well.

“Grey Cup is a fascinating question and the idea that potentially having Grey Cup Saturday versus Grey Cup Sunday is something we talked about,” the commissioner admitted.

“But, as you all know, the Grey Cup festival is as much a part of Grey Cup as the game itself and one of the things we are constantly battling with is the risk of truncating our Grey Cup festival week by losing a day on the weekend. That is something that we are talking about and it will be an ongoing conversation.”

The 109th Grey Cup is scheduled to kick off Sunday, November 20 in Regina. Next year’s big game will take place in Hamilton, with Vancouver hosting in 2024.