Friday, November 6, 2015 — TORONTO -- The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today that all of its 103rd Grey Cup Playoff games, including the Grey Cup game will be livestreamed free of charge via YouTube in 150 countries.
Canadian football fans and Canadian military personnel stationed in bases around the world will have free online access to the Eastern Semi-Final, the Western Semi-Final, the Eastern Final, the Western Final, and of course, the 103rd Grey Cup presented by Shaw.
This marks the first time in North America that a professional major sports league will livestream its playoff games, including its championship game, for free via YouTube.
The 103rd Grey Cup presented by Shaw – to be played in Winnipeg on Sunday, November 29 -- will be available on TSN and RDS in Canada, ESPN2 in the United States, Pacific Rim and the Caribbean, ESPN on BT Sport in the UK and Ireland and via YouTube in almost every major country, with the exception of China.
The Grey Cup will also be streamed live on ESPN Play in Mexico, Central America, South America (excluding Brazil) and the Caribbean, ESPN3.com in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands and WatchESPN in Brazil. Additionally, the Grey Cup will be available on tape delay in Brazil via ESPN+ (December 1 at 12:30 p.m. US ET) and in Australia and New Zealand on ESPN (November 30 at 5 a.m. US ET and December 1 at 11:30 a.m. US ET).
The CFL also announced it is a partner in this year's SportsHack 2015, which will be held on the same weekend as this year's Grey Cup. SportsHack is organized by the Ryerson Centre for Cloud and Context Aware Computing (RC4), Big Data University, IBM Canada, and We Are Wearables in collaboration with the Canada Accelerator and Incubator Program supported university network of Ryerson University, Simon Fraser University (SFU), and University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), as well as Volta Labs.
New this year, the CFL and partners will bring real-world challenges to developers to create innovative new digital products using CFL to coincide with the Grey Cup.
Starting on November 27, 2015, developers in three cities across Canada – Vancouver, Halifax and Toronto – will been given access to the CFL stats database, game footage and website analytics to help prototype developments in the areas of fan engagement, promoting ticket sales and social media.
A panel of digital experts will act as judges to decide on the best product developed and ultimately crown a winning team, who will then work with the League, university incubator experts and industry mentors to further develop the product idea.
Finally, the league is building a brand new digital platform, including new advanced, mobile-friendly websites and a state-of-the-art stats application that will be launched in the offseason.
These announcements come on the heels of a new digitally integrated #GreyCup sign, aimed to connect Canadian football fans using Twitter, which was unveiled in Winnipeg earlier this week. It is also a major part of the CFL’s ongoing commitment to innovation in technology and social media as it continues to grow the Canadian football brand across more Canadian communities and internationally.
“This is an important step forward as we look to expand our global reach. This makes our biggest game and one of our country’s cultural milestones available to Canadian expatriates and sports fans in general in almost every corner of the globe.”
-Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League
“Today, expanding your fan base means expanding your digital footprint. Our league and our teams are constantly looking for innovative ways to engage both our most loyal fans and new fans. And the Grey Cup is the perfect opportunity to showcase our very best.”
-Christina Litz, the league's Vice-President, Marketing and Content
“People are watching sport in ways we could only imagine even a couple of years ago. We see top searches for the Canadian Football League coming from India, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam. By streaming on YouTube, leagues and organizations like the Canadian Football League are creating more ways for fans around the world to connect to the live game and highlights they love, whether they're on a smartphone, tablet or desktop.”
-Roland Lange, YouTube Sports Content Partnership Manager
“As a player, I recognize the need to work with existing and new partners to make our game more accessible to fans. The CFL is so unique because we are at the doorstep of every Canadian community. To take steps in enhancing fan engagement here at home, and giving players a bigger platform outside of our own borders is a really such a positive step forward for us all. I’m really proud to be a part of this league.”
-Brian Bulcke, Defensive Lineman, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
“We are excited to have the CFL as a digital innovation partner in SportsHack 2015. Through SportsHack, Ryerson University, the CFL and our other event partners will support new Canadian product teams and start-ups, and advance the discussion around sport technology innovation.”
-John MacRitchie, Senior Director Business Development, Research and Innovation, Ryerson University