Could an NFL Lockout Help the CFL?
With all the talk about a potential NFL lockout in two years, little has been said about how it could affect other the other football leagues.
The CFL, whose roots take it back farther than the NFL itself, stands to gain considerable ground should a lockout take NFL football off TV for a year.
The CFL enjoyed some U.S. exposure in the '80s when games were broadcast on ESPN. ESPN NFL Talking Head Chris Berman is a noted fan of the CFL, despite the wisecracks that other commentators give him.
While Monday Night Football is the only time of the week that an actual game is played on ESPN, one has to think that ESPN would look to the CFL as alternative programming should the NFL take a year off.
ESPN found success with poker when the NHL had its lockout, so we know that ESPN is not afraid of unconventional programming.
NBC and ABC are two networks that have aired non-NFL football in recent years. ABC aired the Arena Football League championship game, and the NFL had a contract with the failed XFL in its only year of existence.
NBC, CBS, and Fox are three networks that air the NFL on a weekly basis. While the CFL does not always have a Sunday game, I'm sure something could be worked out to get them on the air.
The CFL currently has a deal with America One to show games in the U.S. That isn't a very big network. With higher-profile networks such as Versus, Fox Sports, and MSG Network out there, there are plenty of networks that could air the CFL should a lockout occur.
The CFL would have a great shot to convert some American fans.
I'm sure people would be turned on by the fast style of play, higher emphasis on passing, and lack of big egos that guys like Terrell Owens bring to the table. There are also far fewer criminals in the CFL, which is a turn on for many.
The CFL would compete with the UFL for U.S. air time, since Versus currently has a contract with the UFL. However, the CFL has dealt with U.S. networks before and could do so again.
There's enough air time to go around.
This year's Grey Cup was one of the highest rated in a long time. Canada is getting behind the CFL. The game is a great alternative to the NFL, and the league could stand to gain a lot of ground should an NFL lockout occur.
Who knows, maybe even CFL USA could have another try.
Photo by Todd Korol/Reuters
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