- Free Agency
Dallas Cowboy all-star Tony Hill and NBA Mavericks announcer Mark Followill are tapped by the CFL and Trajectory Sports & Media Group LLC as the announcing team
The Canadian Football League announced today that the U.S. broadcast of this Saturday night's game featuring the B.C. Lions at the Saskatchewan Roughriders will include play-by-play and colour commentary specifically for the U.S. market. CFL games are available in 70 million homes across the United States during the 2005 season.
Calling this Saturday's CFL game will be former Dallas Cowboy all-star receiver Tony Hill and professional sports announcer Mark Followill, who is the radio voice of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's labour lockout that began earlier this month continues to prevent CBC announcers from calling the games. As a result, the game audio has been limited to commentary from veteran in-stadium announcers.
“We understand the situation that CBC faces and empathize with the broadcaster and the Canadian Media Guild. We certainly hope, for the interest of all parties and especially the fans, that the dispute is settled shortly. In the meantime, with the approval of the CBC, we have taken the necessary steps to facilitate the measures to enhance the broadcast that we are announcing today&rdquo, said CFL Senior Director of Broadcasting, Chris McCracken.
Saturday's broadcast in the U.S. will present the CBC's video and stadium sounds from Taylor Field in Regina, but will be supplemented by the voices of Mark Followill and Tony Hill. The CBC feed will be downlinked in Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas at the broadcast centre of the America One Television Network, the master distributor of CFL games in the U.S. This version of the broadcast will not be available in Canada.
“I jumped at the opportunity to bring the excitement of CFL action to U.S. fans from coast-to-coast,&rdquo Hill said. “Canadian football is a receivers' game, and as a former receiver myself, I am going to really enjoy making this Saturday's match-up come alive.&rdquo
Hill was with the Dallas Cowboys from 1977 to 1986, and led the team in receiving yards during nine consecutive seasons. He was known as “Thrill&rdquo and played in two Super Bowls (1978 and 1979), three Pro Bowls (1978, 1979 and 1986) and five NFC Championships (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1983).
Providing game commentary will be Followill, who is the radio play-by-play voice of the Mavericks on ESPN 103.3 FM. Followill came to the Mavericks from KTCK in Dallas where he co-hosted a nightly talk show, served as a sports anchor for the afternoon drive-time show, and hosted the Dallas Cowboys' pre-game and post-game shows.
“There is an extremely loyal television following for Canadian football games in the United States, and we have developed a plan – with the CFL's full support – to strengthen the league's U.S. appeal by having the games called with an American perspective,&rdquo said Richard Stone, the president of Trajectory Sports & Media Group LLC. “With many players coming from the U.S., it is only natural to have U.S. announcers as part of our multi-year strategy to build the Canadian Football League's brand in the important American market.&rdquo
Canadian football is particularly attractive for the U.S. sports market. The speed of the game, the wide-open play and the unique Canadian rules have resulted in a passionate and growing audience for this brand of football .
About the Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League (CFL) operates in nine leading cities across Canada. Connecting the strength and heritage of the past with the momentum of today and the promise of the future, the CFL celebrates Canada's game with fans across the nation. The 93rd Grey Cup will be played in Vancouver, British Columbia on November 27, 2005. For more information, visit www.cfl.ca.
About Trajectory Sports & Media Group, LLC
Trajectory Sports & Media Group is an international management and marketing organization that works with clients to expand distribution, strengthen brands and open new markets. Based in New York City, the company has global resources that allow it to draw on a wide range of expertise to achieve its clients' goals. See the company's website at www.trajectorysports.com.