CBC may lose Grey Cup rights
September 26, 2005
CBC television stands to lose the broadcast rights to the Grey Cup if the current lockout extends further into the fall, Canadian Football
League officials said Thursday.

In an interview with The Toronto Sun, CFL commissioner Tom Wright said the league is evaluating their broadcast options on a
near-daily basis and have already considered moving post-season games to a rival network.

"I speak with the CBC almost daily, and obviously we're trying to sort out exactly any implications it might have for all of our games,"
Wright said.  "No decisions have been made relative to the playoffs and the Grey Cup, but I can tell you it's something we're constantly in
dialogue with."

The fall classic, which is slated to kick off in Vancouver on November 27, has traditionally been a ratings blockbuster for CBC television,
attracting upwards of four million viewers.

Complicating matters for the CBC, Vancouver is subject to strict provincial legislation that bans the use of any replacement workers
during a labour dispute.  The CBC decided to drop their coverage of last Saturday's game between the Montreal Alouettes and the B.C.
Lions because it was being played in Vancouver.

The league has yanked four games from the CBC schedule to date, three of which have aired on TSN, a subsidiary of CTV.  The CFL has
openly voiced its displeasure with the CBC's decision to air its regular season games without play-by-play commentary or its standard
production values.
Despite an early boost in ratings for the bare-bones broadcasts, viewership has since declined below pre-lockout levels.

The CFL said it would consider moving playoff games, which begin on November 13, to TSN or CTV if the lockout persists that far.

"Everybody would agree that we're not at the level we'd like to be, but we understand it's a difficult situation for the CBC and we hope they
resolve it," Wright said.  "They've been a partner for 53 years in this league and we hope very strongly they can resolve it."

Source:  CBC On The Line
 
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