MLS on TSN
In February 2011, the TSN family of networks (in which ESPN owns a 20% interest) announced a six-year deal for national MLS broadcast rights in Canada. TSN and TSN2 broadcast 24 games during the 2011 season and will air a minimum of 30 games per season during the subsequent five seasons, all featuring at least one Canadian team. French-language sister networks RDS and RDS2 have similar broadcast rights. The networks also carry the MLS Cup and select playoff games, the MLS All-Star Game, and additional games not involving Canadian teams. GolTV Canada will also continue to carry selected all-U.S. MLS matchups.
As in the United States, the individual Canadian teams have also negotiated separate broadcast deals for games not aired under the TSN/RDS national contract. Toronto FC regional games are currently split between the TSN and Sportsnet families of networks (their parent companies, Rogers Communications and Bell Canada, jointly own a stake in TFC's parent company). Sportsnet also airs Vancouver Whitecaps FC games (primarily on its Pacific feed and national network Sportsnet One), and TVA Sports airs Montreal Impact games.
- 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.)
|Network||Current contract||Annual rights fee||Regular-season games||Playoff games||Language||Ref|
- Lloyd Barker (sideline reporter)
- Jason de Vos (colour commentary)
- Lee Godfrey (sideline reporter)
- Perry Solkowski (sideline reporter)
- Luke Wileman (play-by-play)
TVA Sports serves as the official French-language broadcaster of all Impact games not broadcast as a part of MLS' contract with the TSN family of networks (which includes French-language sports channel RDS). TVA Sports aired 24 games during the team's inaugural season.
Toronto FC games are exclusively broadcast by either the TSN or Sportsnet families of channels. Games that are not covered under national broadcast contracts with MLS or other competition organizers are divided evenly between the two broadcasters, pursuant to agreements between their parent companies (Bell Canada and Rogers Communications respectively) in connection to their joint 2011 purchase of MLSE.
- TSN holds the national broadcast contract with MLS from 2011 to 2016, including rights 30 games per season involving Canadian teams, of which (in 2013) 12 feature Toronto FC. It also holds 11 of the team's 22 "regional" MLS broadcasts. In both cases, games may air either on TSN's main channel or TSN2, and are usually called by Luke Wileman (play-by-play) and Jason de Vos (colour).
- Sportsnet has broadcast rights to Toronto FC's remaining 11 MLS games; it also owns the rights to both the Canadian Championship, in which TFC participates annually, and the CONCACAF Champions League, in which TFC may compete depending on the results of that year's Canadian Championship. Such games may air either on Sportsnet's regional channels, Sportsnet 360, or Sportsnet One. Games on Sportsnet involving TFC are generally called by Gerry Dobson (play-by-play) and Craig Forrest (colour).
Regionally, Whitecaps FC matches are broadcast on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One, as Rogers Media has a three-year regional broadcast contact with the club through the end of the 2013 MLS season. Sportsnet and Sportsnet One will broadcast 24 Whitecaps FC matches in each season of the contract. Regional matches are called by Craig MacEwen, who does play-by-play, and former Vancouver 86ers goalkeeper Paul Dolan, who provides colour commentary. Dolan replaced former Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Martin Nash, who provided colour commentary during the Whitecaps FC inaugural season.
Whitecaps FC matches are broadcast nationally on TSN and TSN2, as Bell Media has a six-year national broadcast contract with MLS through the end of the 2016 MLS season. Under this contract, TSN and TSN2 will combine to broadcast a minimum of thirty regular season matches featuring Whitecaps FC, Montreal Impact, and Toronto FC. Luke Wileman is the play-by-play announcer for national matches, broadcasting alongside color commentator Jason de Vos.
- TSN (February 14, 2011). "TSN Becomes Official Broadcaster of MLS in Canada with Landmark Six-Year Deal". Retrieved February 19, 2011.
- GolTV (Canada). "GolTV Canada Matches for March 11–17, 2011" (PDF). Retrieved March 11, 2011. (lists carriage of a Los Angeles vs. Seattle MLS game)
- Sportsnet (March 3, 2011). "ROGERS SPORTSNET IS THE NEW HOME FOR VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC". CNW Group. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
- Delia-Lavictoire, Yvan (July 14, 2011). "Impact sign multimedia deal, name TVA Sports broadcaster". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- "TSN BECOMES OFFICIAL BROADCASTER OF MLS IN CANADA". TSN. February 14, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
- Vlessing, Etan (July 14, 2011). "Quebecor Media Wins Montreal Impact TV Rights". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Wharnsby, Tim (December 9, 2011). "Why Rogers and Bell bundled together for MLSE". CBCSports.ca. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
In order to come together on this venture, Rogers and Bell agreed on how to divide the content for its sports stations. For the most part, it will be a 50-50 split.
- "MLS Announces TSN Partnership | Toronto FC". Torontofc.ca. February 16, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
- Vlessing, Etan (March 4, 2011). "Rogers SportsNet Grabs TV Soccer Package". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Timko, Brandon (February 10, 2012). "Paul Dolan named analyst for Sportsnet's Whitecaps FC telecasts". Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- Weber, Marc (March 21, 2011). "Caps CEO flying high". The Province. p. A36.
- Powell, Chris (February 15, 2011). "TSN signs six-year broadcast deal with MLS". Marketing. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- "Wileman and deVos join MLS on TSN broadcast team". The Sports Network. March 10, 2011. Retrieved October 7, 2012.