CFN broadcasts mainly aired on stations via the Atlantic Satellite Network and future Global Television Network affiliates, in addition to at least one station in the United States (ABC affiliate WVNY-TV in Burlington, Vermont, which serves the larger, nearby Montreal English-language television market, which did not have a Global station at that time). As CFN was formed by the CFL itself, the league provided much of the network's funding. It was created directly in response to CTV completely dropping their CFL coverage following the 1986 season. CFN was conceptualized by then CFL Commissioner Douglas Mitchell.
In addition to being shown on the above-mentioned Burlington, Vermont station, from 1987-1989, a weekly CFN game telecast, including playoffs and the Grey Cup championship, aired in the United States nationally on a tape-delay basis on ESPN.
CFN's Grey Cup coverage was completely separate from CBC's coverage (whereas from 1971-1986, CBC and CTV fully pooled their commentary teams for the game; CBC's commentators called the first half of the game while CTV's crew called the rest of the game or vice versa).
During its broadcast of the 1988 Grey Cup game, CFN reported that its telecasts that season were seen in 14 countries, including the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, West Germany, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
The 1988 Grey Cup was the last game for veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive lineman Nick Bastaja. The next season, he joined the CFN crew as a colour commentator. Former Edmonton Eskimos fullback Neil Lumsden was CFN's primary colour man, while Dave Hodge and Bob Irving, a long-time voice of the Blue Bombers, provided play-by-play.
CFN was critically acclaimed, credited for raising the production quality of CFL telecasts (which was sorely lacking in the mid- to late-1980s) to near-NFL caliber levels. However, it did not do well financially (most of the rights fees the CFL made from CBC and TSN were diverted to cover the CFN's expenses), and the league discontinued the network after the 1990 season. CFN was also supposed to work like a normal television network in that it was meant to get its money solely from sponsors. After the CFN shut down, all playoff and Grey Cup games would be exclusively broadcast on CBC Television from 1991 to 2007 and TSN from 2008 to the present and into the foreseeable future.
Colour commentators/Pregame analysts
The theme music package for CFN was provided by Donald Quan.