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.


Major League Baseball[edit]

World Baseball Classic[edit]


National Basketball Association[edit]

The NBA's Canadian marketing arm is managed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Toronto Raptors. In turn, MLSE is majority-owned by Bell Canada and Rogers Communications; as such, coverage is mostly confined to their co-owned TSN and Sportsnet properties, along with the MLSE-owned NBA TV Canada. Toronto Raptors games are primarily aired by TSN and TSN2, with selected games airing on Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, or Sportsnet 360.[1] Ancillary Raptors content, including game encores, air on NBA TV Canada.

TSN airs 146 regular-season games, including 41 Toronto Raptors games, plus NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBA Playoffs, and The Finals.[2]

In 2016, Sportsnet and TSN alternated coverage of Raptors playoff games and the NBA Finals, and simulcast the All-Star Game held in Toronto. NBA TV Canada primarily carries NBA TV and other ESPN games, as well as encore broadcasts. All remaining games are available through the NBA League Pass out-of-market sports package.

U.S. college basketball[edit]

TSN owns the Canadian broadcast rights to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament through a deal with ESPN International. CBS coverage of the tournament is also available in Canada. TSN also simulcast regular-season games from ESPN.

Coverage of games is also available from U.S. networks carried in Canada, such as Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network, along with broadcast network coverage or syndicated packages. An out-of-market sports package offered by some providers includes other games from U.S. outlets that are not otherwise available in Canada.

Canadian college basketball[edit]

Sportsnet and TVA Sports owns broadcast rights to the U Sports Men's and Women's Basketball Championships.

International basketball[edit]

TSN and RDS hold broadcast rights to the Canadian national men's basketball team and FIBA tournaments.[3][4]


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.



Extreme Sports[edit]

Field Hockey[edit]


Canadian Football League[edit]

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

National Football League[edit]

Contracts are current as of the 2016 NFL season.

  • CTV – Sunday afternoon games in both the "early" (1:00 pm ET) and "late" (4:05 / 4:25 pm ET) windows, most playoff games, and the Super Bowl.
    • CTV Two occasionally airs additional Sunday afternoon games. In Atlantic Canada, all regular-season games in the Sunday late-afternoon window are relocated to CTV Two Atlantic.
    • Additional Sunday afternoon games, and playoff games interfering with other major events carried on CTV, may air on one or more of the TSN feeds. 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.
  • TSN – Sunday afternoon games in both the "early" (1:00 pm ET) and "late" (4:05 / 4:25 pm ET). Airs all games in the NBC Sunday Night Football and ESPN Monday Night Football packages, including the NFL Kickoff game and Pro Bowl, but excluding NBC's game on U.S. Thanksgiving night. CTV may have 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), but Bell TV does simsub TSN's simulcasts over U.S. feeds.
  • Sportsnet – All games in the Thursday Night Football package, all (U.S.) Thanksgiving Day games. Games simulcast by U.S. broadcast networks are also simulcast (for simsub purposes) on City.[10][11]
  • RDS / RDS2 – exclusive French-language rights. Presently RDS carries selected Sunday games (up to two per week in either the 1:00, 4:05/4:25, and Sunday Night Football) 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 Rogers. 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 university football[edit]

As of 2016, Sportsnet and TVA Sports broadcasts the national U Sports playoff games, namely the Mitchell Bowl, the Uteck Bowl, and the Vanier Cup. Ici Radio-Canada Télé carries many QSSF games. In 2016, Sportsnet's sister broadcast network City (in English) and TVA Sports' sister broadcast network TVA (in French) began broadcasting a four-game U Sports Game of the Week (French: Le match de la semaine de l'U Sports) package of regular season games.[12][13] Games not covered by these contracts are often carried by local cable community channels.

In 2015, Global aired a Hardy Trophy semi-final and championship game as part of the Shaw TV (Shaw Cable) Canada West conference package.[14]

U.S. college football[edit]

Many ESPN games are aired by TSN's feeds. The network also holds rights to most bowl games (which were, in the past, shared with Sportsnet 360, and not withstanding conflicts with the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship), and the College Football Playoff.

Coverage of games is also available from U.S. networks carried in Canada, such as Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network, along with broadcast network coverage or syndicated packages (such as American Sports Network on WNYO-TV and WHAM-TV, and formerly SEC TV, aired by WPCH-TV, which has historically been carried on Canadian providers as a superstation). An out-of-market sports package offered by some providers includes other games from U.S. outlets that are not otherwise available in Canada (such as Fox Sports Networks, and ESPN games not picked up by the TSN channels).

Australian rules football[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.[16]

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.[17][18]

National Hockey League[edit]

Rogers Communications is the sole national rightsholder of the NHL in Canada as of the 2014–15 NHL season. Most national telecasts air on Sportsnet properties, and include, but are not limited to:[19][20][21]

  • Rogers Tuesday Night Hockey; Tuesday night games on Sportsnet
  • Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey; exclusive national window on Wednesday nights.
  • Thursday Night Hockey; Thursday night games on Sportsnet 360
  • Simulcasts of games from U.S. broadcasters, including regional sports networks and NHL on NBC coverage.
  • Hockey Night in Canada: exclusive national windows on Saturday nights, multiple games airing across CBC Television, City, and Sportsnet channels.
    • In rare circumstances, due to non-hockey programming conflicts such as UFC events or the Major League Baseball postseason airing on Sportsnet One and/or 360, the Sportsnet regional channels may air different games.[22] However, all four Sportsnet regional channels are available nationwide through the digital services of most providers.
  • Rogers Hometown Hockey: National Sunday night game on Sportsnet (in English) and TVA Sports (French).
  • Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage; early rounds divided between CBC and Sportsnet. All games from conference finals onward are exclusive to CBC.
  • Canadian distribution and marketing rights to the (Rogers NHL GameCentre Live) and NHL Centre Ice services, which carry out-of-market games and U.S. nationally televised games not aired by Sportsnet channels.
  • Weekly regular-season doubleheaders and playoff games with Punjabi language commentary on Omni Television (Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition).[23]

French-language rights were sub-licensed to Quebecor Media; all coverage airs on TVA Sports. La super soirée LNH serves as the flagship broadcast on Saturday nights, typically featuring the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs[24][25]


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 may cover up to 60 regular-season games per season. Rights are current as of the 2014–15 NHL 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 Rogers NHL GameCentre 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. Sportsnet also operates part-time channels for the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers in case of scheduling conflicts: these channels are tied to the Sportsnet One service.

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.[27] 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.[28] (The team is part-owned by TSN/RDS parent company BCE.)

U.S. teams in close proximity to the Canada–US 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.[29] 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 carried in Canada, 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 and TVA Sports 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.

College ice hockey[edit]

TSN and RDS also carries a package of regular season games from various broadcasters (primarily American Sports Network, NBCSN, and other regional sports networks such as NESN for the Beanpot Tournament). Games are also available via Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network.

Other events[edit]

Horse Racing[edit]

  • TSN is the exclusive home of the biggest and most prestigious thoroughbred horse races in North America, as the network announced a multi-year deal with the Woodbine Entertainment Group that will see TSN broadcast each leg of the Canadian Triple Crown – the Queen’s Plate, the Prince of Wales Stakes and the Breeders’ Stakes. As part of that deal, TSN has acquired rights for seven Canadian horse races, including the Woodbine Oaks, Ricoh Woodbine Mile, Pattison Canadian International and the Pepsi North America Cup on the standard bred side.
  • TSN also delivers exclusive live coverage of the American Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

TSN airs major events, including PPV preliminaries, domestic UFC Fight Night events, and The Ultimate Fighter. Coverage was also sub-licensed to Fight Network, broadcasting preliminaries for non-PPV events, international Fight Night events and producing ancillary UFC programming (such as pre-shows) for TSN.[30][31]


FIA Championships[edit]

FIM Championships[edit]


Some races are also available via FOX & NBC affiliates carried on Canadian television providers.


Touring Car[edit]

Sports Car[edit]

Drag racing[edit]



Rugby union[edit]



Major League Soccer[edit]

  • National broadcasts: On January 10, 2017, MLS announced new landmark media agreements in Canada that include a five-year extension with TSN, and a new five-year agreement with TVA Sports that will see the network provide French-language broadcasts in Canada.

For TSN, the new deal will see an expansion of their coverage in 2017. During the 2017 season, TSN will deliver exclusive English-language coverage of every match featuring Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, a select number of Montreal Impact matchups, and marquee matches featuring U.S.-based clubs. They will also provide exclusive English-language coverage of the MLS All-Star Game, MLS Decision Day, MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

In addition, TSN will launch a new Friday night window in the spring and a game of the week on Saturday nights all season long.

TVA Sports will now be an official broadcaster of MLS and will be the exclusive French-language broadcaster of Montreal Impact games. They will also be the exclusive French-language home of the MLS All-Star Game, Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, and MLS Cup. TVA will air more than 50 MLS games in total per season.

Other domestic leagues[edit]

North American/Canadian College Soccer[edit]

North American/Canadian Soccer[edit]

South American Soccer[edit]

International soccer[edit]




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