Sportsnet

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This article is about the group of Canadian regional sports networks. For the group of American regional sports networks owned by Comcast And NBCUniversal, see Comcast SportsNet. For the group of American regional sports networks owned by Time Warner Cable, see Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
Sportsnet
Sportsnet2011.svg
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
Country Canada
Broadcast area National, through regional feeds
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Formerly called CTV Sportsnet
(1998–2000)
Sportsnet
(2000–2001)
Rogers Sportsnet
(2001–2011)
Sister channel(s) TV:
Sportsnet One
Sportsnet World
Sportsnet 360
WWE Network
Sportsnet Radio:
CJCL and CFAC
Website Sportsnet
Availability
Satellite
Bell TV 405–408 (SD)
1405–1408 (HD)
Shaw Direct 416–419 (SD)
260–263 (HD)
Cable
Available on most Canadian cable systems Check local listings, channels may vary
IPTV
FibreOP 110–113 (SD)
472–475 (HD)
Bell Fibe TV 405–408 (SD)
1405–1408 (HD)
MTS 171–174 (SD)
471–474 (HD)
Optik TV 111–114 (SD)
664, 665, 667 (HD)
SaskTel 24, 120–122 (SD)
324 (HD)

Sportsnet is a Canadian English-language Category C sports specialty channel that is owned by the Rogers Media division of Rogers Communications.

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).

History[edit]

Sportsnet was launched on October 9, 1998 as CTV Sportsnet. The name was chosen to match the regional "Fox Sports Net" operations across the United States. CTV owned 40% and was the managing partner of the new network; Rogers, Molson and Fox owned 20% each.

The new network gained credibility before it went on the air, wrestling the National Hockey League (NHL) Canadian cable package away 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. On the day of Sportsnet's launch, its 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 of the Canadian NHL teams, and in most cases continues to do so. (Sportsnet and its parent company Rogers would regain the national contract in 2014.)

Acquisition by Rogers[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.[1]

Expansion[edit]

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.[2]

Sportsnet's original "Player" logo maintained the same basic form until 2011. The logos are of pre-2001, 2001–2010, and 2010–2011

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.[3]

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.[4][5]

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.[6]

"Fuelled By Fans" re-launch[edit]

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.[7][8]

Acquisition of The Score, Sportsnet 360[edit]

Main article: 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.[9][10] Rogers plans to continue running the network as a sports news service.[11]

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.[12][13]

On June 4, 2013, Rogers announced that The Score would be rebranded as a Sportsnet channel; the channel changed its name to Sportsnet 360 on July 1, 2013.[14]

Regional feeds[edit]

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.

The four Sportsnet regions

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.

Programming[edit]

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.[15] 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.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

Hockey coverage[edit]

Sportsnet is a major regional broadcaster of National Hockey League games. The network's four regional feeds carry most games played by NHL teams based in their respective regions: the Montreal Canadiens on Sportsnet East (beginning 2014-15), 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),[19] the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on Sportsnet West, and the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific. The Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets are the only Canadian NHL teams not broadcast by Sportsnet, as both teams have English-language broadcasting deals with TSN (alongside Canadiens coverage in French for sister network Réseau des sports).[19]

In January 2014, Sportsnet lost the Senators to TSN, who acquired regional rights in English and French under a 12-year deal, beginning in the 2014-15 season.[20] In turn, in September 2014, Sportsnet announced that it had acquired English-language television rights to the Montreal Canadiens under a 3-year deal, beginning in the 2014-15 season. Canadiens games will air primarily on Sportsnet East, replacing the Senators.[21]

In addition to the NHL, Sportsnet also airs a package of games from the leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) under the banner Friday Night Hockey, along with coverage of the season-ending Memorial Cup tournament.

National NHL contracts[edit]

Main article: NHL on Sportsnet

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.[22]

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, 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 will gain exclusivity for games featuring Canadian teams on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Rogers will also sub-license French-language coverage to TVA and TVA Sports, and sub-license a package of games to CBC Television so it can continue airing the long-running Hockey Night in Canada; however, CBC will not pay a rights fee, Rogers will produce the telecasts and sell all advertising during the games, and Hockey Night games will also air across Sportsnet channels and City. There will also be no further regional blackouts on games broadcast during Sportsnet's exclusive windows.[23][24][25][26][27]

Olympics coverage[edit]

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,[28] CBC ultimately reached a deal of its own in August 2012, winning the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games.[29] 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.[30][31]

Original programs[edit]

On-air staff[edit]

High definition television[edit]

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,[32] 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Going Downtown". Toronto: Globeandmail.com. Retrieved March 23, 2007. [dead link]
  2. ^ Chris Zelkovich, "Sportsnet adds another channel to its roster", Toronto Star, July 28, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
  3. ^ Dowbiggin (January 12, 2011). "Change is the operative word in sports radio". Globe and Mail (Canada). Retrieved January 13, 2011. 
  4. ^ 2011-0846-5 CRTC 2011-12-06
  5. ^ Krashinsky, Susan. "Rogers builds Sportsnet brand with soccer station". Globe and Mail (Canada). Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sportsnet Magazine launches with NHL preview". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Sportsnet unveils new brand: Fuelled By Fans". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved September 29, 2011. 
  8. ^ Krashinsky, Susan (September 29, 2011). "Sportsnet drops the ‘Rogers’ and gains a whole new look". Globe and Mail (Canada). 
  9. ^ Score Media (2012-10-19). "Score Media Inc. completes plan of arrangement". Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  10. ^ Rogers Media (2012-10-19). "Rogers Media Completes Acquisition of Score Media". Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  11. ^ "Rogers wants CRTC to ease Score licence rules". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. January 16, 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "CRTC clears way for Rogers to buy Score". Toronto: The Globe and Mail. April 30, 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "CRTC Gives Final Approval to Rogers' Acquisition of Score Media". Broadcaster Magazine. Retrieved 1 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Rogers rebrands The Score as Sportsnet 360". Marketing Magazine. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ Sportsnet Signs New Deal For Rogers Cup Until 2015
  17. ^ "Blanketing Canada with in-depth series coverage". IndyCar.com. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  18. ^ "Sportsnet Announces Six-Year Deal with CIS, Including Vanier Cup". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  19. ^ a b Faguy, Steve (August 18, 2014). "NHL broadcast schedule 2014-15: Who owns rights to what games". Fagstein. Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  20. ^ "TSN, TSN Radio 1200 become Senators' broadcasters". TSN.ca. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Canadiens, Sportsnet ink new regional deal". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  22. ^ "SN X: From inspiration to perspiration". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  23. ^ "NHL signs 12-year TV, Internet deal with Rogers; CBC keeps ‘Hockey Night in Canada’". Toronto Star. November 26, 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  24. ^ "Rogers reaches 12-year broadcast deal with NHL worth $5.2-billion". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). November 27, 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  25. ^ "Rogers scores national NHL TV rights for $5.2B". CBC News. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  26. ^ "NHL deal with Rogers a huge blow to TSN and CBC: Mudhar". Toronto Star. November 26, 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  27. ^ "CBC partners with Rogers in landmark NHL rights deal". CBC Sports. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  28. ^ Krashinsky, Susan (September 9, 2011). "Bell Media, CBC partner for Olympic bid". Globe and Mail (Canada). Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  29. ^ "CBC wins rights to 2014, 2016 Olympic Games". CBC Sports. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  30. ^ "Sportsnet to air 200 hours of Sochi Games". Sportsnet. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  31. ^ "CBC/Radio Canada welcomes partners in 2014 Sochi Olympics coverage". CBC. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  32. ^ Rogers Sportsnet Continues as Home of Canucks Hockey with 47 Games in 2007–08 Retrieved on May 25, 2007.

External links[edit]