This article originally appeared on VICE Sports Canada.
While the CFL continues growing football in its own backyard, the league is also making a digital effort to expand its global reach.
Every CFL playoff game, including the Grey Cup, will be streamed worldwide on YouTube, a person familiar with the league's plans told VICE Sports. It's believed to be the first time a professional sports league in North America has made its entire playoff product available for free online on the popular video-streaming site.
A league source said the games will be available online in more than 100 countries, in addition to being broadcasted live on TV in Canada, the United States and a handful of other nations. The league is expected to make an announcement soon.
It's a sign of the times, and a wise move by the CFL, which otherwise wouldn't have the capacity to reach such a potentially enormous global audience.
Yahoo recently live streamed an NFL game between the Jaguars and Bills that was deemed a major success and drew massive viewership. Leagues such as MLB and the NBA have fully committed to the online demographic and provide live, nightly coverage of its games, but packages aren't offered free of charge.
With many consumers scaling back on their TV consumption due to cable costs and cheaper, viable digital alternatives, prioritizing the online market and allowing users to view the biggest games of the season on computers, smartphones and tablets is close to a foolproof way for the league to bring the playoffs into more homes than ever before and tap into the international market.
Targeting a global audience through live streams is part of a greater plan by the CFL, highly popular in certain regions of Canada, to help build its brand, popularity and promote fan engagement throughout the month of November.
The league will make a concerted effort to increase its presence on social media. A massive Grey Cup sign situated in Winnipeg, Manitoba, will change colours depending on certain hashtags that users tweet. Any user in the world will be able to change the colours of the sign in real time by tweeting #GreyCup or #CoupeGrey, in addition to team-specific hashtags.
Check out some of the images obtained by VICE.
The 103rd Grey Cup will take place Nov. 29 in Winnipeg, one of the league's most thriving markets. CFL playoffs begin Nov. 15.