Stadium construction throws huge ESPN broadcast into doubt

The CFL is mulling over whether an ESPN broadcast of the Ticats home game at McMaster University on July 31 should still happen, considering it’s now taking place at a field smaller than many used for American high school football

CFL holding 'internal discussions' about broadcast of Ticats home game at McMaster University

The Hamilton Tiger Cats home game on July 31 should have been a huge boost for the team and the CFL.

It was scheduled to be the first Canadian football game played on the main ESPN network under a new five-year deal minted between the television sports giant and the CFL. It would give the league and Canadian game huge exposure to a massive, football-mad U.S. audience.

But instead, the league is mulling over whether or not the broadcast should happen at all, considering it’s now happening at a field smaller than many used for American high school football, at McMaster University.

“We will be discussing internally,” said CFL spokesperson Jamie Dykstra. “Once a decision has been made, we would be happy to provide comment.”

“But right now, it’s just an internal discussion.”

The games have been moved because the Ticats new stadium won't be ready for the team's July 26 and 31 home games. The team says it is optimistic about the next home game scheduled for Aug. 16, but said the builder is only offering assurances the stadium will be ready "no later than Labour Day."

City officials made the announcement that the $140-million stadium wouldn't be ready in a media release Monday afternoon following a meeting with the city, the Tiger-Cats, IO and Ontario Sports Solutions.

The 22,500-seat facility "will not be safe and ready for occupancy by then," it said. "We will review the construction status again at the end of July and provide a further update at that time."

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