Sports broadcasting contracts in Canada

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This article refers to sports broadcasting contracts in Canada. For broadcasting rights lists of other countries, see Sports television broadcast contracts.

Baseball[edit]

Major League Baseball[edit]

Sportsnet holds the national contract with MLB to carry national broadcasts, including the MLB All-Star Game and the postseason, with the current contract expiring in 2013. Since May 2010, it has sub-licensed its rights to Sunday Night Baseball to TSN2 for the same period, in exchange for TSN and TSN2 releasing their rights to Toronto Blue Jays games. However, individual SNB games may still air on Sportsnet in the event of scheduling conflicts on both TSN and TSN2.

All Canadian broadcast rights to Blue Jays games are now held by Sportsnet, with the possible exception of any SNB games (however, the Jays have not been featured on SNB in several years). Since August 2010, some games have aired on the digital-only channel Sportsnet One (as opposed to the regional Sportsnet channels which are available on analogue cable). Since the Blue Jays and Sportsnet are both wholly owned by Rogers Communications, Sportsnet's rights are of indefinite duration.

Most Sportsnet channels (including Sportsnet One) also carry a variety of non-Blue Jays games of regional interest that are not part of the U.S. national packages. For example, Sportsnet Pacific carries many Seattle Mariners games, while Sportsnet East carries several Boston Red Sox games, simulcasting the applicable local broadcaster. Sportsnet also airs many games involving the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.

The MLB Extra Innings subscription package is available through most Canadian television providers. In 2014, after successfully sponsoring its addition to the whitelist of foreign channels approved for carriage in Canada, Rogers Cable became the first provider in Canada to offer MLB Network.

Finally, U.S. over-the-air coverage, such as the national Saturday afternoon package on Fox and sometimes team broadcasts from local stations, is also available in Canada. Peachtree TV, an Atlanta station which holds a share of the local broadcast rights to the Atlanta Braves, is available through most Canadian cable and satellite providers, and on rare occasions has covered games between the Braves and the Blue Jays not covered by any Canadian outlet. The same applies to WGN-TV and WPIX, which are also carried in Canada as superstations.

Basketball[edit]

National Basketball Association[edit]

The NBA's Canadian marketing arm is managed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Toronto Raptors. As a result, MLSE sells packages typically including both Raptors and non-Raptors games. Simulcasts of U.S. national broadcasts from TNT, ESPN, or NBA TV typically have priority, although in many cases out-of-market team broadcasts may be aired as well.

Toronto Raptors games are primarily aired by TSN and TSN2, with selected games airing on Sportsnet or Sportsnet One.[1] The owners of these networks, Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, jointly own a stake in MLSE.

Games are also aired by Sportsnet 360 and NBA TV Canada, particularly non-Raptors games. TSN2 airs most regular-season TNT games, and TSN exclusively carries the NBA Finals (although virtually every viewer who receives TSN also gets ABC from their cable or satellite service provider; although it is not legally required to, co-owned provider Bell TV will simsub ABC feeds with TSN). Some of ABC's non-Finals games are simulcast on CHCH-TV, allowing for simsubs for those in the Hamilton and Toronto regions.

All remaining games are available through the NBA League Pass out-of-market sports package.

NCAA[edit]

TSN owns the Canadian broadcast rights to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament through a deal with ESPN International, with coverage on both TSN and TSN2. CBS coverage of the tournament is also available in Canada.

Coverage of regular-season games vary; both Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network, along with U.S. network broadcasts of games are available, while games aired by U.S. cable networks unavailable in Canada (such as ESPN) are simulcast by networks such as TSN and Sportsnet 360.


Cricket[edit]

Asian Television Network owns the vast majority of Canadian cricket rights, with marquee events typically airing live on CBN, and selected events and other programming airing on ATN Cricket Plus. ATN also owns the rights to the ICC Cricket World Cup, this tournament is broadcast on pay-per-view throughout Canada.

The Indian Premier League was telecast live on CBN with replays and highlights on ATN Cricket Plus. However, starting with the 2011 IPL tournament, games were shifted to being aired live on pay-per-view and on Sportsnet.

Curling[edit]

Football[edit]

Canadian Football League[edit]

  • TSN – all games including playoffs and Grey Cup
  • RDS – all Montreal games in French; as well as playoffs and the Grey Cup.

National Football League[edit]

  • CTV – Sunday "early" (1:00 pm ET) games, most playoff games, and the Super Bowl.
    • Playoff games conflicting with CTV's other first-run programming may air instead on TSN. More specifically, the divisional playoff game on late Sunday afternoon usually airs on TSN due to the possibility of a late-running game interfering with CTV's broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards that evening.
    • Beginning with the 2010 season, TSN2 also carries games during the Sunday 1:00 ET window, which may or may not be different from any of the CTV games.
  • TSN – all primetime games from NBC and ESPN (i.e. Sunday and Monday nights and the Thursday night kickoff game). CTV apparently has the option to simulcast these games, as occurred for the 2007 New England Patriots-New York Giants game (following the last-minute decision to simulcast that NFLN game on NBC and CBS; at that time TSN also held the NFLN package).
  • Sportsnet – Sunday "late" (4:05 / 4:15 pm ET) games, plus the NFL Network primetime package and the Pro Bowl.
  • City – Sunday late games (the game carried by a given City station is usually a reverse mirror of the one carried by the local Sportsnet feed); afternoon games on U.S. Thanksgiving
  • RDS / RDS2 – exclusive French-language rights. Presently RDS carries selected Sunday games (up to two per week in either the 1:00, 4:05/4:15, and 8:15 ET timeslots, mainly towards the end of the season) and the playoffs, and RDS2 carries Monday night games.

NBC, CBS, and Fox are available in Canada but their broadcasts may be subject to simultaneous substitution. NFL Network is available as well, but its games are similarly blacked out in Canada in deference to Sportsnet. Finally, NFL Sunday Ticket is also available through virtually all service providers, whereas in the U.S. the service is exclusive to DirecTV.

Due to Canadian regulations that permit stations from different areas to be carried in the same market, several games may be available in each of the Sunday timeslots through a combination of domestic and American stations from different areas, without a subscription to Sunday Ticket. By contrast, outside a handful of areas where multiple neighbouring network affiliates are available, no more than three games may be aired in a given U.S. market on any Sunday afternoon (up to four games in week 17).

Canadian college football[edit]

As of 2013, Sportsnet broadcasts the national CIS playoff games, namely the Mitchell Bowl, the Uteck Bowl, and the Vanier Cup. Sportsnet 360 carries some OUA games while Ici Radio-Canada Télé carries many QSSF games.[6] Games not covered by these contracts are often carried by local cable community channels.

U.S. college football[edit]

Occasional broadcasts of games are aired by Sportsnet 360 (primarily ESPN's Thursday games), TSN, and TSN2. The two networks also share in coverage of most bowl games, although the majority of them, along with the Bowl Championship Series until 2014, air on TSN or TSN2.

Coverage of games is also available from U.S. networks carried in Canada, such as CBS Sports Network and Big Ten Network, along with broadcast television stations, including network coverage or syndicated packages (such as SEC TV, aired by WPCH-TV, which has historically been carried on Canadian providers as a superstation).

Golf[edit]

  • TSN carries coverage of The Masters (first two rounds live, final two rounds on tape delay), the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship, as well as selected other R&A, USGA and PGA of America events. It also carries a limited schedule of PGA Tour coverage (including the early rounds of the Canadian Open, sub-licensed from The Golf Channel).
  • Global carries live weekend coverage of The Masters, as well as most PGA Tour events carried by U.S. network television (in many cases carrying the final round only).
  • The Golf Channel (based in the U.S. but available in much of Canada on digital cable/satellite) carries early-round coverage of all PGA Tour events (i.e. not the majors) and four-round coverage of some late-season tournaments. This coverage was carried on TSN prior to 2007.

Hockey[edit]

History[edit]

The CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, at that time owned by "Canadian Sports Network", the production arm of MacLaren Advertising, was outbid for the broadcast rights to the 1972 Summit Series by a partnership of Harold Ballard and Bobby Orr, but HNIC staff were used.[7]

Globe and Mail writer Bruce Dowbiggin credits TSN with turning the World Junior Hockey Championships from an obscure non-event when it accuired the rights in 1991 (and which it remains in most hockey countries) to one of Canada's most beloved annual sports events, and at the same time cementing the link between Canadian nationalism and hockey, and inspiring the NHL's Winter Classic.[8][9]

National Hockey League[edit]

Current national rights (through 2013–14)[edit]

National broadcast rights, including both TV and Internet broadcast rights (current contracts run until 2014) are as follows. Note that in the case of playoff games (particularly in the second and third rounds), CBC and TSN have the flexibility to trade games in case of scheduling conflicts, and therefore the games broadcast during any particular season may not correspond exactly to the contracted rights listed below.

  • CBC (Hockey Night in Canada)
    • Regular season: Exclusive rights to Saturday broadcasts (including Saturday night doubleheader and selected Saturday afternoon games), occasional weeknight games
    • Playoffs:
      • Conference quarterfinals: Four series (first, second, fourth, and sixth choice)
      • Conference semifinals: Two series (first and second choice)
      • Conference finals: All games of first-choice series; four games of second-choice series (all games if both series involve a Canadian team)
      • Stanley Cup Finals
  • TSN / TSN2 (NHL on TSN)
    • Regular season: most national weeknight and Sunday games, including exclusive rights to Wednesday broadcasts. 70 games per season will involve at least one Canadian team. Some all-U.S. matchups beyond this limit are also aired, primarily on TSN2.
      • Toronto Maple Leafs: 17 games, including 10 "regional" telecasts aired nationally with the consent of the NHL and the other Canadian teams.[10] Due to Molson's title sponsorship of the Leafs' regional broadcasts, these telecasts are branded "NHL on TSN presented by Molson".
      • Montreal Canadiens: 15 games
      • Winnipeg Jets: 5 games[11]
      • All other Canadian teams: 10 games each
    • Playoffs (primarily on TSN, although in case of conflicts TSN2 is also used)
      • Conference quarterfinals: Four series (third, fifth, seventh, eighth choice)
      • Conference semifinals: Two series (third and fourth choice)
      • Conference finals: Three games of the second-choice series (if no Canadian teams involved)
  • NHL Network: Selected regular season games (currently only all-U.S. matchups), plus live look-ins of regional games
  • RDS / RIS: French-language national rights package for NHL games, including Montreal Canadiens games, selected games sourced from TSN or NBC Sports Network that do not conflict with the preceding, and all possible playoff games. No regional restrictions for any games.
  • NHL Centre Ice: pay-per-view package available via various cable / satellite providers

The CBC has occasionally shared its rights with ethnic broadcasters to provide simulcast game coverage in languages other than English or French. Presumably TSN has the same rights for its games should it choose to exercise them.

The contracts in effect since the 2008–09 season allow for several weeknight games on CBC each season, but also place limits on the number of CBC regular-season broadcasts featuring a single team. TSN is also now permitted to carry first and second round playoff games involving Canadian teams, which were previously exclusively broadcast by CBC.

National rights beginning 2014–15[edit]

External images
A sample Saturday night broadcasting schedule under the new Rogers contract, based on the NHL schedule for November 23, 2013.[12]

Rogers Communications will begin a twelve-year deal as exclusive national NHL rightsholder starting with the 2014–15 NHL season, including exclusive rights to games aired on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. English-language coverage will air on CBC Television (Saturday nights and finals only under a sublicence deal), City, Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, and Sportsnet 360. Rogers will also take over Canadian distribution of the NHL Centre Ice package (but under CRTC rules it cannot make the package exclusive to Rogers Cable).

French-language rights have been subcontracted to Quebecor Media, which is expected to air games on TVA Sports, TVA Sports 2, and potentially also the over-the-air TVA network; this includes at least 22 Montreal Canadiens games per season. Rogers also has the right to air game coverage in other languages on its Omni Television stations.

Rogers also announced plans to air multiple games across all of its various channels on any given night during the regular season. For example, in a handout that Rogers gave to the media, a Saturday would consist of:[13]

  • The traditional 7PM and 10PM Eastern Time (ET) doubleheader games on CBC
  • A 7PM game on City
  • A 7PM game on TVA
  • An afternoon, a 7PM, and then a 10PM game on TVA Sports
  • 7PM and 10PM games on TVA Sports 2
  • An afternoon and 7PM games simulcast across all the Sportsnet regional channels
  • An afternoon, a 7PM, and then a 10PM game on Sportsnet One
  • 7PM and 10PM games on Sportnet 360

Rogers also stated that CBC will initially air the Stanley Cup Finals, but also indicated that it might simulcast the series across its multiple channels should a Canadian team advance that far.[14]

More specifics on national broadcasts were announced by Rogers in February 2014. All broadcasts on Saturday night across its multiple channels will be under the Hockey Night in Canada umbrella. Sunday night games will be under the Hometown Hockey umbrella, with the marquee game airing on City, and will be hosted in a different community rink each week. And Wednesday nights will be under the NHL on Sportsnet name, with Sportsnet One airing a game between two U.S. teams (usually a simulcast of NBCSN's Wednesday Night Rivalry game). In total, over 500 games will air nationally by Rogers.[15]

Regional[edit]

Canadian teams also contract with local or regional broadcasters for selected pre-season and regular season games not covered by the national contracts. These deals are separate from the national rights deal, and typically cover up to 60 regular-season games per season.

Each team's regional game broadcasts are restricted to viewers of that team's designated home broadcast region as assigned by the NHL. Outside said region, these broadcasts are made available exclusively through NHL Centre Ice (TV) or NHL GameCenter Live (online). If the originating channel is available outside a team's region (e.g. out-of-market Sportsnet feeds), the game broadcasts must be blacked out in these other areas.

Under previous (2002–14) rights deals with RDS, French-language rights to all Canadiens games were included in the national NHL contract and could be televised nationally. With the national rights changing hands to Rogers/TVA as of the 2014–15 season, the Canadiens had the option to either continue packaging its rights with the national deal, or opt-out and sell regional-only rights separately.[16] The Canadiens opted for the latter, signing a separate twelve-year deal with RDS for French-language TV rights in the team's designated broadcast region.[17] (The team is part-owned by TSN/RDS parent company BCE.)

U.S. teams in close proximity to the Canadian border are now also able to sell Canadian regional broadcast rights to their games. As of the 2013–14 season, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV own regional rights to Buffalo Sabres broadcasts for portions of Canada within a 50-mile radius of First Niagara Center, approximately stretching from Niagara Falls to the community of Stoney Creek in Hamilton. Sabres game broadcasts are available to Bell TV subscribers in this region at no extra cost, and moreover are no longer available as part of the NHL Centre Ice package through other providers serving this region.[18] The Detroit Red Wings, whose market borders on Windsor, Ontario, is presumably able to sell similar rights but has not yet done so.

As with other sports properties, game broadcasts on U.S. terrestrial stations, such as the NBC broadcast network's national rights package as well as WGN-TV's broadcasts of the Chicago Blackhawks, are not subject to blackout for Canadian cable/satellite subscribers receiving those stations.

Canadian Hockey League[edit]

Sportsnet airs the Memorial Cup tournament and selected other games from across the CHL's member leagues. Many regular-season games are aired locally by the applicable cable community channels.

Other events[edit]

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Sportsnet 360 airs all UFC televised events not sold as pay-per-views, including preliminary cards for PPV events, live non-PPV events, The Ultimate Fighter, and UFC Fight Night.[19]

Motor Racing[edit]

Soccer[edit]

Major League Soccer[edit]

  • National broadcasts: TSN has the primary national broadcast contract for the 2011 to 2016 seasons, including first selection of games involving Canadian teams. Games may air on either TSN or TSN2 in English, and in some cases also on either RDS or RIS in French. This includes:
    • 30 games involving Canadian teams per season. It is not yet clear whether the games must be evenly divided among the Canadian teams.
    • The MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup for all six seasons. TSN also owns broadcast rights to the MLS Cup Playoffs, but it is not clear how many playoff games it will air.
    • Additional games not involving Canadian teams, presently all simulcast from ESPN / ESPN2 or NBC Sports Network.
  • GolTV Canada airs additional U.S. games from ESPN or NBC SN that TSN chooses not to air.
  • Regional broadcasts: (Note there are no out-of-market blackouts, so all games are available across Canada to digital cable and satellite subscribers.)

Other domestic leagues[edit]

North American/Canadian Soccer[edit]

International soccer[edit]

Tennis[edit]

Skiing[edit]

Swimming[edit]

Olympics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zelkovich, Chris (June 16, 2010). "Sportsnet back in the game with Raptors". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ "TSN, CCA EXTEND CURLING PARTNERSHIP THROUGH 2020 SEASON". TSN.ca. Bell Media. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Sportsnet new owner of Grand Slam curling". The Curling News. 30 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "BREAKING: Sportsnet, CBC back on curling ice". The Curling News. 29 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Grand Slam of Curling returns to CBC". CBC Sports. 30 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sportsnet Announces Six-Year Deal with CIS, Including Vanier Cup". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.broadcasting-history.ca/index3.html?url=http%3A//www.broadcasting-history.ca/sportsonradioandtv/HNIC_TV.html
  8. ^ http://m.theglobeandmail.com/sports/bruce-dowbiggin/tsn-turned-world-junior-molehill-into-mountain/article1849935/email/?service=mobile&tabInside_tab=1
  9. ^ http://m.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/world-juniors/credit-tsn-for-elevating-world-juniors-to-must-see-tv/article2281535/?service=mobile
  10. ^ Houston, William (June 4, 2008). "TSN scores with more Maple Leafs games". The Globe and Mail. 
  11. ^ TSN (August 31, 2011). "True North Sports & Entertainment and Bell Media Announce 10-Year Deal to Broadcast Winnipeg Jets on TSN Jets and Sports Radio 1290". Retrieved January 8, 2012. "In addition to the regional broadcasts, TSN will also broadcast five Jets games across Canada as part of the network’s national broadcast agreement with the NHL." 
  12. ^ "Game Changer: Rogers & NHL sign 12-year broadcast agreement". Canadian Press. CityNews. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  13. ^ "TSN shut out as Rogers signs 12-year, $5.2B NHL deal, CBC job cuts loom after losing editorial control of HNIC". National Post. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  14. ^ "Rogers scores national NHL TV rights for $5.2B". CBC. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  15. ^ "500-plus NHL games to air under Rogers deal". Sportsnet. 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  16. ^ Cousineau, Sophie (2013-11-28). "TVA to pay Rogers $120-million a year to be NHL's French-language broadcaster". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  17. ^ "Canadiens reach new TV deal with RDS". The Gazette (Montreal). 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  18. ^ Buffalo Sabres (2013-10-09). "SOUTHERN ONTARIO IS NOW "SABRES COUNTRY"". Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  19. ^ "Sportsnet, UFC sign 4-year rights deal". Sportsnet. March 7, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  20. ^ "TSN to broadcast all Whitecaps FC games beginning in 2014". TSN.ca. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  21. ^ "Every Game, All Season Long: MLS ON TSN Kicks Off its Complete Coverage of Vancouver Whitecaps FC This Saturday". Bell Media PR. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Bell Media lands deal for FIFA soccer from 2015 through 2022". October 27, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  23. ^ The Sports Network (February 1, 2011). "TSN Acquires Rights to Euro 2012 and 2016". Retrieved February 13, 2011. 
  24. ^ Based on ESPN's announcement of U.S. rights to the same tournaments.