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IF ESPN/DEUCE OFFER CFL A DEAL, WILL THEY TAKE IT?
Published July 11, 1995
In this morning's GLOBE & MAIL, Marty York reports that ESPN has offered the CFL a $1.5M contract to show 22 CFL games a season on ESPN and ESPN2 for the next three seasons. However, York writes that, "while the CFL is in dire need of additional income as well as national television exposure in the United States, the league's owners are divided on the proposal and may wind up rejecting it." Owners of the Shreveport and Baltimore franchises are concerned that the broadcasting games on ESPN2 "may actually be damaging the league's credibility and image," because of the Deuce's image as "something of a junk sports network." Shreveport Pirates Owner Bernie Glieberman: "Money is not the issue here. Credibility is. I don't consider ESPN2 major television. I don't think it's doing us much good. Do we want our product on the same network that covers street luge?" York notes that Glieberman is supported by Baltimore Co-Owner Michael Gelfand, who is becoming "increasingly influential." Glieberman says the league needs "major television" to survive. Glieberman: "Right now, we have an identity crisis in the States. Americans have a distorted perception of the CFL. They look at the CFL like it's some weird sport like rugby or something like that. ... We certainly can't stand back and think we're helping ourselves because ESPN2 does some of our games" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/11). ONE MAN'S JUNK ... York reports that if CFL owners can't persuade ESPN to carry its games on the flagship network, "don't be surprised if Glieberman et al go knocking on Ted Turner's door. Hooking up with the Turner broadcasting empire makes far more business sense. It might just be a question of whether Turner considers the CFL too much of a junk sport for his taste" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/11).