TORONTO — The Canadian Football League announced Friday 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.
“This is an important step forward as we look to expand our global reach,” said CFL Commissioner Jeffrey L. Orridge. “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.”
Christina Litz, the league’s Vice-President, Marketing and Content echoed Orridge’s sentiments saying, “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.”
The 103rd Grey Cup championship game – to be played in Winnipeg on Sunday, November 29 will be available on TSN and RDS in Canada, ESPN2 in the United States, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands and, BT Sport in the UK and Ireland and via YouTube in almost every major country, with the exception of China & Germany.
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.