Canadian Football League games to NFL Network

TV deal with CFL to air 14 Canadian gridiron games live

TORONTO -- The Canadian Football League has secured a return to stateside TV.

The National Football League signed a last-minute national TV deal with the CFL to air 14 Canadian gridiron games live on the NFL Network this season.

The U.S. channel is to air Thursday's regular season opener between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the visiting Montreal Alouettes, to be followed by another four match-ups in July, three more in September, five in October and a final Calgary-Winnipeg contest on Nov. 5.

The games will be produced by the Canadian sports cable channel The Sports Network for the NFL Network.

The last-minute deal marks a return to U.S. TV for CFL games after ESPN four years ago shifted the Canadian games from its main cable TV channel to live online streaming.

The Canadian game diverges from American format in having a wider field, a bigger end zone, and three downs to make 10 yards, rather than four as is the NFL.