CFL unveils free streaming platform for United States consumers, preseason broadcasts in Canada

Graphic courtesy: CFL

The Canadian Football League will be making its full slate of preseason and regular season games available for viewing on both sides of the border, announcing the launch of the league’s first-ever live-streaming platforms on Friday.

After Canadian television partner TSN cut its allotment of preseason broadcasts to just two games in 2023, fans will now be able to watch the entire exhibition schedule live on the desktop or mobile device through CFL Preseason Live. The platform is free of charge and requires no additional downloads, with a verified email address being the only requirement for entry.

Broadcasts will feature in-stadium video feeds and local broadcasting crews providing play-by-play and analysis. Fans in Canada will have access to all games save those being broadcast on TSN or RDS, while those outside the country will be able to watch the entire preseason on the platform.

“Free online viewing represents a new path forward for the league and all our fans,” commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement. “Through these platforms, we are prioritizing access and reach, while placing an added emphasis on building a more direct connection with our viewers.

“With CFL Preseason Live, we listened to our fans. The preseason is an exciting time of possibility in the lead-up to the campaign ahead. We recognized an opportunity to provide a new service for our fans, and we worked with our teams to make it happen.”

For fans in the United States, the league has gone a step further and made regular season broadcasts available through the platform CFL+.

The announcement comes on the heels of the league’s new American broadcast deal with CBS Sports Network. That agreement will pay the league $1 million annually, a substantial increase from their previous partnership with ESPN, but will feature just 34 games broadcast on television as part of the initial slate.

“Through CFL+, we will better serve our fanbase, while reaching a new generation of viewers,” Ambrosie added. “More Americans will be able to see their collegiate stars continue their football journeys north of the border, and more fans around the world will have the opportunity to see their favourite players take the field in Canada.”

All 47 games not currently being broadcast on CBS Sports Network will be made available for American consumers on the platform, while those outside North America will be able to view the entire schedule for free. The CFL Playoffs and 110th Grey Cup will also be made available, though broadcast schedules in the US are subject to change should CBS expand their order.

“CFL Preseason Live and CFL+ will be exciting new ventures as we broaden our scope of league offerings,” Ambrosie continued. “We’ll continue to explore different possibilities and we look forward to providing a fuller and richer experience for all our fans – wherever they are in the world.”

Preseason action kicks off on Monday, May 22 with the Edmonton Elks visiting the Calgary Stampeders. The complete 2023 season broadcast schedule for TSN, RDS, CBS Sports Network and CFL+ will be announced prior to the season kicking off on Thursday, June 8 when the BC Lions travel to McMahon Stadium to visit the Stampeders.