Réseau des sports
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2008)|
|Réseau des sports (RDS)|
|Launched||September 1, 1989|
|Owned by||CTV Specialty Television Inc. (Bell Media 80%/ESPN 20%)|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
|Slogan||Le sport sans limites!
(Sports Without Limits!)
|Sister channel(s)||RDS2, RDS Info, TSN, TSN2|
|Bell TV||Channel 123 (SD)
Channel 1880 (HD)
|Shaw Direct||Channel 750 (SD)
Channel 240 (HD)
|Available on many Canadian cable systems||Check local listings|
|Bell Aliant TV||Channel 605 (SD)
Channel 464 (HD)
|Bell Fibe TV||Channel 123 (SD)
Channel 1123 (HD)
|MTS||Channel 191 (SD)|
|Optik TV||Channel 410 (SD)
Channel 448 (HD)
|SaskTel||Channel 116 (SD)|
Réseau des sports (commonly abbreviated as RDS), is a Canadian French language Category C specialty channel showing sports and sport-related shows. It is available in 2.5 million homes, and is owned by CTV Specialty Television Inc. (Bell Media 80% and ESPN 20%). Its full name (usually prefaced in speech by the French article "le") translates literally as "The Network of Sports" (i.e., a translation of the network's English counterpart, The Sports Network, TSN).
RDS was launched on September 1, 1989 as a sister network to Labatt's highly successful English-language sports network TSN, but the new network initially was run on a low budget and struggled to obtain rights to major professional sporting events. Despite this, RDS became infamous in its early years for its program Défi Mini-Putt, a weekly miniature golf program best known for its energetic commentator Serge Vleminckx, and his enthusiastic cries of "Birdie!" when a hole in one was scored.
By the early 1990s, the network became more established, obtaining the rights to Montreal Expos, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and some Montreal Canadiens games. Rodger Brulotte became the network's second broadcasting star with his enthusiastic colour commentary of Expos games. RDS also covered some of Montreal's other professional sports teams, such as the Montreal Machine WLAF football team, the Montreal Impact soccer team, the Montreal Roadrunners roller hockey team, the Montreal Express lacrosse team, and the Montreal Alouettes Canadian football team. While the Machine, Roadrunners, and Express folded, the partnership between RDS and the Impact and Alouettes helped both the network and the teams to become popular. Much of the rise of popularity of Canadian football in Quebec can be attributed to RDS coverage of Canadian Football League and university games. Its small market (mainly limited to Quebec), however, has meant that its revenues are modest. It has had to offer proportionately modest fees for broadcast rights.
In 2000, the Montreal Expos severed their relationship with the network, complaining that they were not offering enough to broadcast games. The network resumed coverage from 2001 until the team moved to Washington, D.C. after the 2004 season, showing about 50 games a season.
In 2002, the Montreal Canadiens announced a deal to licence its French-language broadcast rights for all of its preseason, season, and playoff games to RDS. This was controversial as it threatened the longest-running television show in Quebec, Radio-Canada's La Soirée du hockey. Days later, an agreement was reached whereby RDS and Radio-Canada would simultaneously broadcast Canadiens games on Saturday nights, saving the show. Within the province of Quebec, this arrangement stopped after the 2003–04 NHL season, and French-language Canadiens broadcasts now air exclusively on RDS. Simulcasted coverage continued in regions that do not receive RDS on analog TV (all of Canada south/west of the Ottawa Region) on Radio-Canada until the 2006–07 NHL season. RDS also has French-language rights to the Stanley Cup Finals, regardless of what teams participate. In June 2008, RDS's parent, CTV Inc., acquired the rights to The Hockey Theme after the CBC decided not to renew its rights to the theme song. A re-orchestrated version of the tune, which has been the theme song of La Soirée du hockey and Hockey Night in Canada since 1968, has been used for hockey broadcasts on RDS and TSN beginning in the fall of 2008.
On September 10, 2010, Bell Canada announced plans to re-acquire 100% of CTVglobemedia's broadcasting arm, including its majority control of TSN. Under the deal, Woodbridge Company Limited, Torstar, and Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan would together receive $1.3 billion in either cash or equity in BCE, while BCE will also assume $1.7 billion in debt (BCE's existing equity interest is $200 million, for a total transaction value of $3.2 billion). Woodbridge has since simultaneously regained majority control of The Globe and Mail, with Bell retaining a 15% interest in December 2010. The deal closed on April 1, 2011, after the CRTC approved the sale on March 7, 2011—the new company became known as Bell Media.
In July 2012, Bell submitted an application to the CRTC to allow CKGM, a TSN Radio station in Montreal, to switch to French broadcasting so it could launch an RDS-branded sports talk format on the station, known as RDS Radio. The planned language and format change was intended to take advantage of CKAC's recent switch from French sports talk to traffic information, and to satisfy the CRTC's ownership caps for Bell's planned acquisition of Astral Media—since Astral already owns the maximum number of English-language stations that one company can own in the market.  Both proposals were ultimately rejected by the CRTC.
Noted RDS programming 
Sports 30 - Sports news show that provides news and updates regarding major sports in North America and elsewhere.
Canadien Express - Condensed version of the previous Montreal Canadiens hockey game in a 60-minute format.
F1 Express - Similar concept derived from the Canadien Express broadcast.
The Montreal Canadiens hockey game broadcasts vary in name depending of the day of the week. Saturday games are known as Le Hockey du Samedi Soir. Tuesday games are known as Les Méchants Mardis Molson-Ex while all of the other day or night games are known as Le Hockey Subway des Canadiens. NHL telecasts not involving the Canadiens are simply titled LNH á RDS. The sponsor affiliations change from time to time.
Dubbed programming 
Because very few sporting events broadcast by RDS are carried by any other French-language broadcaster, exact simulcasts of other broadcasters on RDS are extremely rare. Even when another French-language broadcaster is carrying the event (e.g., the French Open or soccer matches involving teams from France), RDS will usually use its own commentators. However, for most events that do not either take place in Quebec or involve Quebec-based teams, RDS will rely on the applicable English-language broadcaster (Canadian or American), or some other international broadcast, for the video feed, including any graphics or game updates in the original feed.
The visuals are then dubbed live-to-air with commentators in the RDS studios, who (in most cases) call the game off monitors instead of being on-site. The commentary is not a translation of the English language audio, although the background audio typically remains intact, and relevant information from the English commentary (e.g. injury reports, or explanations of onscreen graphics) may or may not be relayed by the RDS announcers. Interviews aired during the broadcast are undubbed, though announcers will translate what is said after the interview ends.
The video is usually delayed by several seconds from the originating feed, in order to ensure that irrelevant items (such as U.S. network promos, apart from those for other events which will also air on RDS) are deleted from the RDS broadcast. These are usually replaced by still images of the venue, additional game statistics, or RDS promos.
Other affiliations 
RDS's studios are also home to RDS Info, a 24-hour French language sports news service which replaced RIS Info Sports in 2012. RDS's sister English language sports service is The Sports Network (TSN). Many of the programming theme songs used on RDS are the same as on TSN, except if TSN takes from an American network.
On June 15, 2011 Bell Media announced the launch of RDS2, a multiplex channel of RDS similar to TSN's equivalent TSN2, in the fall of 2011. The channel will be available in both standard and high definition. On September 19, 2011, Bell Media announced that RDS2's launch date will be October 7, 2011.
RDS HD 
RDS launched an HD edition of the channel on October 3, 2007, in time for the 2007-2008 NHL hockey season, making it the only channel to broadcast all games of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens in HD. Since then, most major sporting events have been broadcast in HD; including Formula One, NASCAR, Montreal Alouettes CFL Football, NFL, MLB, PGA Golf and the Euro 2008 soccer tournament amongst others. RDS currently broadcasts its HD signal in 1080i format.
- Michel Bergeron - Montreal Canadiens analyst
- Louis Bertrand - Cycling commentator
- Carlo Blanchard - Golf analyst
- Yanick Bouchard - 5à7 host / Saturday L'Antichambre host
- Benoit Brunet - Montreal Canadiens analyst
- Jean-Paul Chartrand - Boxing
- Guy Carbonneau - Montreal Canadiens analyst
- Denis Casavant - CFL/NFL play-by-play / Baseball play-by-play and NHL play-by-play (during the Playoffs when more than one game at the same time). He is also on TSN Radio 990.
- Alain Crête - Montreal Canadiens host / NHL play-by-play
- Marc Denis - Montreal Canadiens Colour commentator
- Martin Dion - Boxing / RDS.ca contributor
- Claudine Douville - Soccer play-by-play
- Norman Flynn - Hockey analyst
- François Gagnon - Hockey analyst
- Denis Gauthier - Hockey analyst
- Luc Gélinas - Sports 30 reporter / Montreal Canadiens reporter
- Pierre Houde - Montreal Canadiens play-by-play and NHL Playoff play-by-play / Formula 1 lap-by-lap
- Bertrand Houle - Formula 1 analyst
- Marc Labrecque - Sports 30 host
- Michel Lacroix - Golf analyst
- Michel Y. Lacroix - Soccer / NHL host
- Stéphane Langdeau - L'Antichambre host
- Renaud Lavoie - Sports 30 reporter / NHL beat
- Jocelyn Lemieux - Hockey analyst
- Stéphane Leroux - Junior Hockey analyst
- Chantal Machabée - 5à7 host / NHL and Montreal Canadiens reporter
- Yvon Michel - Boxing analyst
- Jean Pagé - Hunting / Fishing analyst
- Dominique Perras - Cycling analyst
- Frédéric Plante - 5à7 host
- Yvan Ponton - Tennis play-by-play and '30 Images / Seconde' host
- Hélène Pelletier - Tennis analyst
- Félix Séguin - NHL reporter and play-by-play
- Gaston Therrien - Hockey analyst
- Christian Tortora - F1 on circuit analyst
- Mario Tremblay - Montreal Canadiens analyst
- Pierre Vercheval - CFL/NFL analyst
(Check RDS.ca for more personalities)
Former personalities 
- Joel Bouchard - Montreal Canadiens analyst
- Rodger Brulotte - Baseball analyst
- Jacques Demers - Hockey analyst
Broadcasting contracts 
At the end of July 2007, RDS and the Montreal Canadiens extended their exclusive broadcasting rights contract through 2013. The deal includes all of the Canadiens' 82 regular season games and all of their playoff games, if need be (none of this precludes CBC Sports from televising games in English as part of Hockey Night in Canada). Also, RDS has exclusive French broadcasting rights for the NHL All-Star Game and Skills Contest, as well as one NHL game per week that does not involve the Canadiens and a minimum of 40 playoff games for either RDS or RIS. The Canadiens also granted RDS exclusive rights to 'new media' coverage for the team (i.e., cell-phone TV, podcast and others).
Most other broadcast contracts are acquired through TSN and ESPN.
International distribution 
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon - distributed on SPM Telecom systems.
See also 
- RDS Cup - Quebec Major Junior Hockey League "Rookie of the Year" award
Notes and references 
- "CTV acquires rights to hockey theme song", CTV News, June 9, 2008
- Bell Canada (10 September 2010). "Bell to acquire 100% of Canada's No.1 media company CTV". CNW Group. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (2012-07-10). "Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2012-370 (item 2)". Retrieved 2012-07-10.
- "TSN Radio 990 to become a francophone station". Canadian Press. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
- "Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2012-574". CRTC. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Un point tournant pour RDS CNW 2011-06-15 (French)
- RDS - Tous les matchs du CH en HD (French)
- RDS - À RDS jusqu'en 2013 (French)