With Rogers splashing out and buying hockey rights, they either didn’t have the money or the screen time (or maybe both) to continue showing the Sunday 4pm NFL games. Bell Media has gladly come in and swept up those games, and between CTV and TSN, they’ll have coverage of Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday night NFL action, as well as all the playoff and Super Bowl games. Sportsnet continues to hold rights to Thursday Night Football and the Thanksgiving Day games, at least until 2016. With the new TSN deal this season, subscribers will be able to watch NFL action on their laptops, devices and such via TSN GO and CTV GO.
With the exception of tonight’s game on NBC, this season marks the beginning of CBS screening and producing Thursday night football with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action. Pre-game, half-time, and post-game coverage will feature NFL Network talent. In Canada, Sportsnet will continue to show TNF on one of their channels every week, but for the first eight games of the season you can see the game on CBS also, as well as a Saturday night double-header in week 16. The remaining games will be on the NFL Network in the US, which is blacked out here. UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter below, it appears City will be showing the Thursday night game as well as Sportsnet. Gotta capitalize on that simsubbing, I guess, and maybe City doesn’t have the strongest Thursday night primetime lineup?
With the new Bell deal, viewers will see two games in their market in the 1pm and 4pm time slots on CTV and/or TSN most weeks. I emphasize most weeks as this weekend will be one of those exceptions, as there will only be one game available nationwide on CTV due to TSN, despite having five feeds now, having no space for a 4pm (US Open and CFL commitments). Not a good start if Bell are looking to convince viewers TSN is still “Canada’s sports leader”. TSN’s original press release mentioned using CTV2 for games, so I’m not sure why they aren’t utilizing that this weekend.
One downside it seems to this new deal is CTV will no longer show overflow coverage of late-finishing or overtime games as they will have to cut to the 4pm game. This also means that if the game CTV is showing goes to OT, viewers may miss the beginning of the 4pm game.
Of course, CBS and Fox will have their assortment of games each Sunday, but expect a majority of games to be simsubbed when possible. If you have the time shifting option, you will obviously see a lot more games each Sunday on CTV and the American networks. For fan’s of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countodown, it will return to TSN from 10am Sunday mornings.
Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football will wrap up Sunday’s action with NBC’s fantastic pre-game show and game coverage with the familiar faces and voices of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, and Cris Collingsworth. For those loyal to Canadian TV commercials, you’ll find this also on TSN.
TSN’s Monday NFL coverage starts at 2pm with ESPN’s NFL Primetime, followed by the always-annoying Chris Berman on Monday Night Countdown at 6:30pm which leads into Monday Night Football at 8pm with Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden. The exception is week 1 with Countdown starting at 5pm and leading into the double-header of Giants-Lions and Chargers-Cardinals.
According to various reports, NFL RedZone is no longer available to Canadian viewers as it is no longer being offered by the NFL outside of the US. That said, there is conflicting information as some providers still have it listed on their websites, while others have notified customers it definitely isn’t available anymore. NFL Sunday Ticket continues to be available and should be on free preview during week 1. UPDATE: As pointed out in the comment section, NFL RedZone is available for online viewing if you order NFL Game Pass. UPDATE 2: Bell has confirmed Red Zone will be available for their subscribers this season. Not sure why the change, especially considering they sent out letters informing people it wouldn’t be available. I suggest you contact your provider to make sure they definitely have it.
For French-language, TVA Sports will have the Thursday (except tonight) and Saturday night games with RDS covering games on Sunday and Monday (plus tonight’s season opener).