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Doubleheader is used by network television to refer to two games in any sport aired back-to-back on the same network, even though they do not involve the same two teams (three such games may be referred to as a tripleheader, this scenario being encountered most frequently in basketball). A doubleheader purposely coincides with a league's scheduling of "early" and "late" games. In North America, games usually start at the same time period in different time zones (Eastern and Pacific).
On selected Sundays during football season, Televisa's Canal de las Estrellas usually airs a doubleheader. The first game, usually a Deportivo Toluca F.C. or Pumas UNAM home game, begins at 12noon CT (1pm ET/10am PT). The second game, a Club América home game, begins at 4pm CT (5pm ET/2pm PT). Doubleheaders usually air when Club América and either Pumas UNAM or Deportivo Toluca F.C. are at home. In the United States, Univision will begin airing these doubleheaders in 2012.
National Football League
National Football League (NFL) games usually start around 1 p.m. local time, creating a 1 p.m/4 p.m doubleheader in the Eastern Time Zone and a 10 a.m/1 p.m. doubleheader in the Pacific Time Zone.
The two networks who broadcast NFL games on Sunday afternoons — Fox and CBS — both typically air doubleheaders during the regular season (with the other network only being permitted to broadcast one game in a specific market; each network is given eight doubleheaders during the season, and both networks are giving doubleheaders during the final week of the season in order for games of playoff implications to have the most exposure), with restrictions applying to some markets in which the local team is playing at home that week. When combined with the Sunday night game on NBC, this creates a tripleheader (as was sometimes advertised by the league's radio partner, Westwood One, which carried three games in a tripleheader).
Since 2006, Week 1 of the NFL regular season also features a doubleheader on Monday Night Football, with the nightcap game being two West Coast teams. This alleviates a quirk in the NFL television contract where there is no Monday game in the final week of the regular season in order to allow all playoff teams to have an equal number of days off between the final regular season game and the playoff game.
Canadian Football League
The Canadian Football League has aired doubleheaders and tripleheaders, usually on Saturdays and Sundays. Two Monday doubleheaders, the Labour Day Classic and the Thanksgiving Day Classic, are among the most prominent games in the schedule and occur on two national holidays. The Labour Day doubleheader features prominent rivalries (Hamilton-Toronto and Edmonton-Calgary), while the Thanksgiving games (although one is hosted by Montréal every year) are otherwise rotated.
Doubleheaders are also used to present the Division Semi-Final and Division Final weeks of the CFL playoffs.
National Hockey League
Every Saturday night during the National Hockey League (NHL) regular season, CBC's Hockey Night in Canada televises a doubleheader. The first game, featuring teams in the East, begins at 7 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Pacific. The second game, featuring teams in the West, airs at 10 p.m Eastern/7 p.m. Pacific. On some Saturdays, a tripleheader might occur, although there is a break between the afternoon game and the evening games for news and other sports.
NBC Sports Network's NHL coverage also airs doubleheaders, usually on Monday nights, in the same time slots.
The NHL on TSN usually (but not always) has doubleheaders on Wednesday nights, although they may occur on other nights of the week.
During the 2010–11 NHL season, the NHL on NBC debuted "Hockey Day in America", a televised doubleheader featuring regional action between six of the most popular hockey teams in the United States in the opening game and a nationally televised game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks in the afternoon. Completing a tripleheader would be the 2011 Heritage Classic, for which NBC viewers were directed to change the channel to Versus.
National Basketball Association
The NBA currently airs two doubleheaders on Christmas afternoon (counting all broadcast outlets, it has since expanded into a quintupleheader, i.e. five consecutive national games); the league also frequently features doubleheaders on ESPN, TNT, and late in the season but less frequently, ABC. The league experimented in 2009 and 2010 with a Thanksgiving night doubleheader, but discontinued that after the 2011 NBA lockout.