|Launched||October 9, 1998|
|Owned by||Rogers Media
(Rogers Sportsnet Inc.)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Slogan||Fuelled By Fans|
|Broadcast area||National, through regional feeds|
|Formerly called||CTV Sportsnet (1998–2000)
Sportsnet (2000–2001), (2013-Present)
Rogers Sportsnet (2001–2011)
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 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 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 have since returned to TSN, though Sportsnet retains regional rights to five of the seven Canadian-based clubs – through regional feeds and its national French network, TSN holds rights to the remaining two; the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets.
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 sell its Sportsnet stake. 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.
Subsequently, the entire Sportsnet family of networks underwent a major overhaul on October 3, 2011, as the cornerstone of its campaign to expand the Sportsnet brand. The rebranding incorporated a revamped appearance for the networks designed in conjunction with Rogers Media and the Troika Design Group, a new image campaign ("Fuelled By Fans"), and a new logo – first used as part of the cover of Sportsnet Magazine. Additionally as part of the relaunch, the network's official name was (for the second time) 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 with a majority of English Canadians. The redesign of Sportsnet was overseen by Dean Bender, who served as the network's creative director upon its original launch as CTV Sportsnet.
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:
- Sportsnet East, which serves Eastern Ontario (defined as east of an imaginary line stretching from Pembroke in the north to Belleville in the south), Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Sportsnet Ontario, which serves all of Ontario excluding the region served by Sportsnet East.
- Sportsnet West, which serves Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
- Sportsnet Pacific, which serves British Columbia and the Yukon.
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.
Much like its American counterparts, Sportsnet carries both regional and national programming.
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.
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 Ottawa Senators on Sportsnet East, the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sportsnet Ontario, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on Sportsnet West, and the Vancouver Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific. The Montreal Canadiens 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). In addition to the NHL, Sportsnet also airs a package of Friday night games from the leagues of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), along with coverage of the season-ending Memorial Cup tournament.
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.
2014 NHL contract
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. Covering both television and digital media rights to the league, the value of the contract surpasses the league's 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.
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. However, 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. Bell Media did attempt to partner with the CBC to bid for coverage.
In August 2012, CBC reached a deal of its own to return the Olympics to the broadcaster for 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 Connected – The daily sports news/highlights program of Rogers Sportsnet. Hosted by various personalities. Formerly known as Sportscentral and Sportsnetnews.
- 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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