|Launched||October 9, 1998|
|Owned by||Rogers Media
(Rogers Sportsnet Inc.)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
|Slogan||Fuelled By Fans|
|Broadcast area||National, through regional feeds|
|Formerly called||CTV Sportsnet
CJCL and CFAC
|Bell TV||405–408 (SD)
|Shaw Direct||416–419 (SD)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Fibe TV||405–408 (SD)
|Optik TV||111–114 (SD)
664, 665, 667 (HD)
|SaskTel||24, 120–122 (SD)
Although licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as a single national service, for all intents and purposes it is equivalent to a collection of four regional sports networks, each simulcast in both standard definition and high definition, and each covering a different region of Canada. In each region, only the local Sportsnet channel is available on analogue cable, but all four channels are available nationally via digital cable (subject to blackouts for some out-of-market teams).
The Sportsnet brand has since been extended beyond the original regional channels, now encompassing the national channels Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet One (and its regional part-time companion channels), and Sportsnet World; Sportsnet Radio stations in Toronto and Calgary; and Sportsnet Magazine.
With these brand extensions, Rogers now generally uses "Sportsnet" (by itself) to denote its sports media properties as a whole, and on-air promotions for programs being carried nationally by these four regional feeds often list all four channels separately, or refer to the Sportsnet "regional" (or "main") channels, to avoid any ambiguity. However, standalone mentions of "Sportsnet" in reference to a specific channel can still generally be assumed to be referring to the four regional channels (or the specific regional channel available locally on analogue cable).
- 1 History
- 2 Regional feeds
- 3 Programming
- 4 Original programs
- 5 On-air staff
- 6 High definition television
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Sportsnet was first approved by the CRTC in September 1996 under the tentative name S3, with CTV holding a 40% controlling interest in the network, and 20% minority stakes held by Rogers Media and Liberty Media. The network proposed a structure with an emphasis on regional programming, operating four feeds to serve different areas of the country. The network would launch on October 9, 1998 as CTV Sportsnet, under the ownership of CTV, Rogers, and Liberty; the latter who would own some of the Fox Sports Net operations that Fox ran in the United States in which the channel was named after.
The new network gained credibility before it went on the air, having acquired national cable rights to the National Hockey League from long-time holder TSN. From 1998–99 until 2001–02, Sportsnet aired NHL games to a national audience throughout the regular season, and covered first-round playoff series not involving Canadian teams. Is first live sports event was an NHL opening night telecast between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers. The national cable rights to the NHL returned to TSN in 2002, though Sportsnet retained regional broadcast rights for most Canadian NHL teams.
Acquisition by Rogers
When CTV purchased NetStar, the former parent company of TSN, in 2000, the CRTC ordered CTV to sell either TSN or its stake in Sportsnet. CTV ultimately chose to retain TSN, and sell its stake in Sportsnet. The other shareholders had first right of refusal; as Rogers was the only interested party, it acquired CTV's stake in the summer of 2001, and soon after renamed it Rogers Sportsnet. During part of the transition period, during which time the channel was known as "Sportsnet", CTV was allowed to control programming on both networks, and some cross-affiliation and programs that were going to be tape-delayed on TSN, most notably figure skating, were given to Sportsnet.
While Sportsnet had been based there from the beginning, TSN's operations would move to CTV's suburban Toronto complex, 9 Channel Nine Court, following the acquisition. This led to some peculiarities related to the fact that the two rival sports channels were only separated by a "parking lot", leading to jokes and references from both networks. On April 30, 2008, Rogers Sportsnet moved its broadcast operations from 9 Channel Nine Court to the Rogers Building, a cluster of buildings in the Mount Pleasant-Jarvis Street area of Downtown Toronto.
In 2010, Rogers began to extend the Sportsnet brand beyond the original regional networks with the August 14 launch of Rogers Sportsnet One – a national companion channel promising 800 hours of live events per year. The channel was also accompanied by additional part-time feeds to serve as overflow channels for its regional NHL coverage.
In January 2011, Rogers' sports radio stations, CJCL Toronto ("The Fan 590") and CFAC Calgary ("The Fan 960"), were rebranded as "Sportsnet Radio Fan 590" and "Sportsnet Radio Fan 960" respectively. Critics speculated that the Sportsnet Radio branding was intended to increase synergy with its television counterparts, upon rumors that TSN would be launching a sports radio network of its own.
In July 2011, Rogers announced that it would be rebranding its premium international sports channel Setanta Sports Canada as "Sportsnet World" on October 3, 2011 – a move that would allow the channel better opportunities for cross-promotion with other Sportsnet services. As part of the transition, Setanta Sports sold its minority ownership interest in the channel to MLM Management.
On September 29, 2011, Rogers published the first issue of Sportsnet Magazine, a bi-weekly sports magazine positioned "for Canadian sports fans", covering professional sports from a Canadian perspective. Sports writer Stephen Brunt left his position at The Globe and Mail to become the magazine's back page columnist.
"Fuelled By Fans" re-launch
On October 3, 2011, Rogers Sportsnet underwent a major rebranding, introducing a revamped logo and visual appearance designed in conjunction with Troika Design Group, and a new image campaign ("Fuelled By Fans"). Additionally, the network's official name was shortened to just Sportsnet. The new logo does not incorporate the previous "player" logo (which had been used in the network's branding since its original launch), as research performed by Rogers indicated that its association with Sportsnet did not resonate well with viewers. The redesign of Sportsnet was overseen by Dean Bender, who served as the network's creative director upon its original launch as CTV Sportsnet.
Acquisition of The Score, Sportsnet 360
On August 25, 2012, Rogers announced that it would acquire the television assets of Score Media, owners of The Score Television Network (a competing sports network which primarily airs sports news and highlights, alongside event coverage), in a transaction valued at $167 million. The acquisition itself closed on October 19, 2012, at which point Score Media's digital assets (including its website and mobile apps) were spun off into another company, theScore Inc., in which Rogers Media will retain a 10% interest. Score Media's TV properties were immediately placed into a blind trust, under trustee Peter Viner, pending final CRTC approval. Rogers plans to continue running the network as a sports news service.
The acquisition and Rogers' proposed amendments (which included a reduction in the frequency of sports updates during live events) were approved by the CRTC on April 30, 2013; the same day, The Score also began to air more Sportsnet-produced programming, including a simulcast of CJCL's afternoon show Tim & Sid and Hockey Central Playoff Extra. However, the CRTC rejected the use of a proposed winter sports competition, the Sportsnet Winter Games, for its tangible benefits requirements.
Similarly to regional sports networks in the United States, Sportsnet is operated in four regional feeds. While the feeds carry national programming as well, they primarily broadcast sporting events tailored to the region they serve. The four regional feeds are listed in the table below.
All four feeds are available in both standard and high definition formats. Although cable providers in Canada are permitted to carry only the local Sportsnet feed on analogue cable packages, all four feeds can be carried on digital television services. However, in some instances, programming on the out-of-market Sportsnet feeds, particularly regional NHL games, are blacked out due to league restrictions on teams' regional broadcast rights. Since the revival of the Winnipeg Jets in 2011, regional Flames and Oilers games on Sportsnet West have also been blacked out in Manitoba, despite it being the "local" Sportsnet feed for that province.
|Channel||Description and programming||Broadcast Area|
|Sportsnet Pacific||Regional feed for British Columbia and the Yukon; airs regional Vancouver Canucks games.|
|Sportsnet West||Regional feed for the Prairies, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut; airs regional Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers games.|
|Sportsnet Ontario||Regional feed for most of Ontario; airs regional Toronto Maple Leafs games.|
|Sportsnet East||Regional feed for eastern Ontario, Québec and Atlantic Canada; airs regional Montreal Canadiens games.|
Sportsnet is the main television outlet for Major League Baseball in Canada: it is the exclusive television outlet for the Toronto Blue Jays (which are also owned by Rogers), airing all of its games and other Blue Jays-related programming throughout the season. It also holds Canadian rights to Fox Saturday Baseball, the All-Star Game and the postseason (through Fox, TBS and MLB International). Sportsnet also carries other MLB games simulcast from U.S. regional sports networks.
Starting with the 2005 season, Sportsnet began airing National Football League games, splitting late games across the Pacific and West feeds, and the East and Ontario feeds. The games not shown in the opposite regions are carried regionally by City.
Sportsnet additionally covers live Barclays Premier League matches, the UEFA Champions League and for the UEFA Super Cup. Sportsnet Pacific airs coverage of Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the city's Major League Soccer team. As of 2010, Sportsnet also airs the Amway Canadian Championship, an annual competition featuring Canada's four professional soccer teams – Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and FC Edmonton.
Since the acquisition of the City stations (known as Citytv at the time of the acquisition) by Rogers, Sportsnet began providing sports updates for those channels in some cases, although certain stations retain their own sports departments. In the event of programming conflicts, Sportsnet has occasionally moved Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers or Vancouver Canucks games to the local City station, although the network's current preference is to use Sportsnet One's companion channels for this purpose instead.
On February 8, 2011, Sportsnet announced that it had signed a multi-year deal with Tennis Canada to acquire the exclusive rights to the Rogers Cup, as well as the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and ATP World Tour 500 series events.
In February 2013, Sportsnet announced that it would become the official Canadian broadcaster of the IndyCar Series beginning in the 2013 season in a five-year deal with the series. The new contract will include broadcasts on the Sportsnet regional networks, Sportsnet One, and City, along with mobile coverage and French rights sub-licensed to TVA Sports. Additionally, Sportsnet will also originate coverage from the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Indianapolis 500 and Honda Indy Toronto, with Bill Adam, Todd Lewis and Rob Faulds. Canadian driver Paul Tracy will also join Sportsnet as an analyst.
Also in May 2013, Sportsnet reached a six-year deal for rights to the championships of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), such as the Mitchell Bowl, Uteck Bowl, and Vanier Cup, with the majority of coverage on Sportsnet 360, as was the case prior to its acquisition of the network.
Sportsnet is a major broadcaster of National Hockey League games; the network is the current national cable rightsholder to the league, and regularly airs nationally-televised games on Wednesday and Saturday nights—the latter as part of Hockey Night in Canada. Sportsnet is also a major regional broadcaster of the NHL; its four regional feeds carry regional telecasts of five of the seven Canadian franchises, including the Montreal Canadiens on Sportsnet East, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sportsnet Ontario (split with TSN4 beginning in 2014-15; Rogers and Bell Canada own a joint, majority stake in the team's parent company Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment), the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on Sportsnet West, and the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific.
In January 2014, Sportsnet lost the Ottawa Senators to TSN, who acquired regional rights to the team in English and French under a 12-year deal, beginning in the 2014-15 season. In September 2014, Sportsnet announced its acquisition of regional English-language television rights to the Montreal Canadiens under a 3-year deal, replacing the Senators on Sportsnet East and succeeding TSN as regional rightsholder.
Sportsnet also holds rights to the Canadian Hockey League, under a 12-year deal renewed in the 2014-15 season. Its coverage includes a package of Friday night games from the CHL's member leagues, coverage of the Subway Super Series and the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, along with coverage of the season-ending Memorial Cup tournament.
National NHL contracts
From its launch through 2002, Sportsnet was the national cable broadcaster of the NHL in Canada, displacing the rival TSN; it aired a package of Tuesday night games, along with coverage of non-Canadian matchups from the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
On November 26, 2013, Rogers Communications announced that it had reached a 12-year deal to become the exclusive national rightsholder for the National Hockey League; again displacing TSN, along with CBC, beginning in the 2014-15 season. Valued at $5.2 billion and covering both television and digital media rights to the league, the value of the contract surpasses the league's most recent U.S. rights deal with NBC. Alongside its existing regional rights, Sportsnet now airs Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey, along with games during Hockey Night in Canada.
In early 2005, Rogers Media and CTVglobemedia jointly acquired broadcast rights to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, as well as the London 2012 Summer Olympics. This was considered a serious coup, as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had consistently won Olympic broadcast rights from the 1996 Summer Olympics through to the 2008 Summer Olympics. CTV and V were the primary broadcasters; Sportsnet, TSN and RDS provided supplementary coverage. Rogers announced in 2011 that it would not bid with CTVglobemedia's predecessor Bell Media for the rights to the 2014 and 2016 games, citing scheduling and financial issues.
While Bell Media did attempt to partner with the CBC in 2011 to bid for coverage, CBC ultimately reached a deal of its own in August 2012, winning the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games. On February 7, 2013, CBC announced that it had reached deals with Sportsnet and TSN for the networks to become their official cable partners for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Sportsnet will air 200 hours of coverage during the games.
- Sportsnet Central – The daily sports news/highlights program of Rogers Sportsnet. Hosted by various personalities. Formerly known as Sportscentral, Sportsnetnews, and Sportsnet Connected.
- Hockey Central – News and reports from the NHL. Hosted by Daren Millard, and features hockey analysts Nick Kypreos, Bill Watters and Gord Stellick.
- Hockey Central at Noon – News and reports from the NHL. Hosted by Daren Millard and features either Nick Kypreos or Bill Berg as co-host. It is simulcast on Sportsnet Ontario and CJCL ("The Fan 590") on weekdays.
- IBM Golf Report – All the latest golf news as well as previews of upcoming tournaments with Gerry Dobson and Mark Evershed.
- Pratt & Taylor – Simulcast of the popular Team 1040 sports radio program out of Vancouver. Hosted by David Pratt and Don Taylor. Available only on Rogers Sportsnet Pacific.
- Prime Time Sports – Simulcast of the popular Fan 590 sports radio program out of Toronto. Takes a look at current and popular sports stories with host Bob McCown and various sports journalists.
- Premier League Matchday – News and reports from the Canadian and world soccer scene and highlights from matches from all the major leagues in Europe and around the world with Gerry Dobson and Craig Forrest.
- Soccer Central - a soccer news and highlight program hosted by Brendan Dunlop
High definition television
Sportsnet operates four high definition feeds, one for each regional channel. Originally, Sportsnet operated one national feed that consisted primarily of a simulcast of Sportsnet Ontario, carrying nationally televised events, or separate content from other regional feeds. That feed was launched on September 1, 2003.
In 2007, Sportsnet began using a second high-definition feed in order to broadcast select Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators hockey games in HD, beginning in the 2007–08 NHL season, activated only in the regions where a game is set to be televised. On January 26, 2009, the national HD feed was replaced by individual HD feeds for each region.
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