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TSN-RDS sign off on exclusive CFL rights extension

Alex Singleton of the Calgary Stampeders hoists the Grey Cup after defeating the Ottawa Redblacks in last year's game (by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Canadian pay-television sports broadcasters TSN and RDS have today (Thursday) agreed a long-term extension to their rights deals with the Canadian Football League.

Bell Media-owned TSN and RDS will continue to receive exclusive domestic broadcast and digital media rights to Canada’s leading gridiron league in all languages. The agreement covers all pre-season, regular season, and playoff games, as well as exclusive radio rights in all languages.

It was reported in September that the CFL would renew its rights deals with TSN and RDS for English- and French-language rights, respectively. It was expected that the new contracts would run until 2025 and would be worth C$50m (€33.5m/$37.1m) per year, according to the Toronto Sun.

Under the five-year deal from 2014 to 2018, TSN and RDS were thought to be paying an average of C$40m per season. The fee then increased slightly when the broadcasters retained the rights from 2019 to 2021 after an extension was signed in 2015.

Prior to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats meeting in Sunday’s Grey Cup, the 2019 CFL season on TSN and RDS has reached more than 15 million Canadian viewers, or 41 per cent of the country’s population.

CFL games have aired on TSN since 1986, and on RDS since 1989. In 2008, TSN and RDS became the exclusive broadcasters of the CFL and the Grey Cup.

The new extended agreement will allow the CFL, TSN and RDS continue to develop their properties, including Thursday Night Football in the summer, Friday Night Football throughout the regular season, and featured games on Saturday nights.