Grey Cup countdown begins for CBC and TSN

The countdown has begun for the Grey Cup’s return to Toronto on Nov. 25, and there’s lots of programming to choose from. Last year, the big game hit #2 on the BBM/Nielsen national Top 30 with an average minute audience of 2.803 million viewers. This year, in case you didn’t know, the big game airs Sunday, Nov. 25 at 5:30 pm ET on CBC, with Lenny Kravitz performing for the half-time show.

The CBC’s Grey Cup Playoffs: East Semi-Finals kick off Sunday, November 11 at 2 pm ET. The Grey Cup Playoffs: West Semi-Final starts at 5 pm ET. On Saturday, Nov. 24, the Ceeb’s Grey Cup programming starts at 2:30 pm ET with host Elliotte Friedman giving the latest news on the Grey Cup match-up from Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Walby’s Warriors X will also be broadcast on Saturday, hosted by CFL Hall of Famer Chris Walby and Mark Lee. Walby will announce his 2007 Walby’s Warriors and name the ‘Ultimate Warrior’ (the winner is voted by CFL players, via a ballot Walby created earlier this month). At 5:30 pm ET, Friedman and panelists preview the Grey Cup match-up and Friedman will interview CFL commissioner Mark Cohon. And on Sunday, from 3:30 pm ET until kick-off time, Friedman and panelists will count down to the championship game from Rogers Centre in Toronto. CBCSports.ca will stream Grey Cup programming on-demand, along with extras.

The five-year deal TSN and RDS signed for the Grey Cup and CFL rights last December doesn’t kick in until next year, but CTVglobemedia’s TSN and ESPN Classic have some programming set to surround the action this month.

TSN’s CFL Countdown, a one-hour post-season show, will feature insights and analysis starting on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 9 am and continuing in that time slot until the day of the big game. On Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7 pm ET, the show will go live on location at the Grey Cup Festival, and the following morning it will broadcast live from the Rogers Centre field at 9 am.

On Grey Cup Sunday, TSN will air a half-hour CFL Player Awards Highlight Show at 3 pm. The net will also put extended highlights and exclusive content on TSN Broadband, while SportsCentre will serve up pre-game and post-game coverage.

With the Grey Cup game being played in Toronto for the first time since 1992, ESPN Classic has programmed a Toronto-themed Grey Cup Weekend, airing Friday, Nov. 23 from 7 pm to 11 pm ET and Saturday, Nov. 24 from 12 noon to 12 midnight ET.

TSN’s Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor are giving the play-by-play and game analysis for the 2007 Grey Cup radio broadcast on THE FAN Sports Radio Network. The pair will call the game on TV when TSN broadcasts the 2008 Grey Cup.

The CFL’s deal with TSN and RDS will include the entire 77-game package annually, comprising 72 regular-season games, four divisional playoff matches and the Grey Cup. It also includes digital rights for these games, including broadband, mobile, video-on-demand, interactive TV and exclusive rights to host content and sell advertising on the CFL’s websites www.CFL.ca and www.LCF.ca.