• Rogers GameCentre Live: Registration opened today for early-bird signup for the Canadian version of GameCentre Live. Head on over to rogers.com/nhl to create/login to your MyRogers account and commit to over 1000 games this season. Early-bird pricing for non-Rogers customers is $180 and for Rogers internet and wireless customers, you’ll get a free preview until December 31 and your early-bird price after that is $149. For everything you should need to know about GCL, check out this earlier post.
• NHL Centre Ice: Not sure if anything has officially been announced, but from my Bell Fibe programming, NHL Centre Ice will be available this season for $219 which seems a little steep considering how many games will be on television this season compared to previous ones. Early bird is available until October 12 with a free preview running on most major providers for the first week of the season.
• CHL March Madness: In an article on LaPresse.ca, Sportsnet President Scott Moore admits that Sportsnet and the CHL are looking at changing the playoff format of the Canadian Hockey League to that of a NCAA March Madness format. No only would this combat the usually weaker host team being automatically added to the four-team playoff, but it would add more teams to contend for the Memorial Cup and generate more interest, especially if in an elimination matchup. Rogers loves their hockey!!!
• HBO 24/7: As announced last week, HBO will no longer be producing 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic for the NHL after four years. No doubt last seasons Wings-Leafs series of 24/7 was the cause of the cancellation with it being far-less interesting than past teams and HBO getting kicked out of the locker room by both teams, despite being promised complete access. The NHL will partner with small-time US cable network Epix according to ESPN, with a full announcement coming September 23. Epix will produce a four-part series leading up to the Caps-Hawks Winter Classic but also a four-parter for the Sharks-Kings Stadium Series. UPDATE: SB Nation reports Rogers will be helping finance the project and airing it on Sportsnet, and like last season, it will probably be censored so you’ll need to download it anyway,
• Rogers Hometown Hockey: Rogers has listed the 25 communities the Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour on City will be visiting each Sunday night during the regular season with Ron MacLean broadcasting live. The tour will include free outdoor festivities and concerts, meet and greets, giveaways and culminating with an outdoor viewing of the Sunday night game. The full list of cities can be found here.
• Sportsnet.ca: In what is probably a preview of an overall site redesign, if you check out the NHL section of Sportsnet.ca, you can see a brand new design and give your feedback on it. Let the record show this will be at least the third redesign of the Sportsnet site while TSN.ca continue to uses a layout that looks like it was created last decade.
If you’re a Blackhawks fan in Canada, prepare to enjoy 20 regular season games this season on WGN, which is included in most cable/satellite television packages. The Blackhawks are one of the very few teams who still have a contract that isn’t cable-exclusive. Play-by-play man Pat Foley will return to the booth alongside Blackhawks legend Eddie Olczyk on colour analysis. The schedule is below and all times are Central.
Sat Oct 18, Blackhawks vs Nashville 7:30pm
Sat Oct 25, Blackhawks at St. Louis 7pm
Sun Oct 26, Blackhawks vs Ottawa 6pm
Sun Nov 2, Blackhawks vs Winnipeg 8pm
Sun Nov 9, Blackhawks vs San Jose 6pm
Sun Nov 16, Blackhawks vs Dallas 6pm
Sat Nov 22, Blackhawks at Edmonton 9pm
Fri Nov 28, Blackhawks at Anaheim 3pm
Sat Nov 29, Blackhawks at Los Angeles 9pm
Sat Dec 13, Blackhawks at NY Islanders 6pm
Sat Dec 20, Blackhawks at Columbus 6pm
Sun Dec 21, Blackhawks vs Toronto 6pm
Sun Jan 4, Blackhawks vs Dallas 7pm
Sun Jan 11, Blackhawks vs Minnesota 7pm
Sun Jan 18, Blackhawks vs Dallas 5pm
Fri Jan 30, Blackhawks at Anaheim 9pm
Thu Mar 12, Blackhawks at Arizona 9pm
Sat Mar 14, Blackhawks at San Jose 3pm
Sun Mar 29, Blackhawks at Winnipeg 6:30pm
Sat Apr 11, Blackhawks at Colorado 8pm
Last week saw Bell’s channels only broadcast a single late game. This week, the 1pm slot has its turn, with only two choices available on CTV across the country. Everyone except the unfortunately souls in Toronto and Kitchener get Pats-Vikings. The Bills will be simsubbed into Southern Ontario. With TSN showing CFL and NASCAR, there is only one choice for those without timeshifting channels despite Bell’s promises of two games each week in each slot. The late slot brings a couple more options with the majority getting Jets-Packers on CTV. Tonight also marks the first night of Thursday Night Football on CBS which is simsubbed on City but weirdly, also being shown on Sportsnet. Enjoy.
8:25pm — Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) at Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
• City, Sportsnet, CBS, TVA Sports
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms & Tracy Wolfson
1pm — New England Patriots (0-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
• CTV West, Central, Ottawa, Northern Ontario, Montreal, Atlantic, RDS2
• CBS Boston, Burlington, Detroit, Minneapolis, Spokane, Seattle
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts & Jenny Dell
1pm — Miami Dolphins (1-0) at Buffalo Bills (1-0)
• CTV Toronto, Kitchener
• CBS Buffalo, Watertown, Rochester
Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
1pm — Arizona Cardinals (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
• Fox Burlington, Rochester
Kevin Burkhadt, John Lynch & Pam Oliver
1pm — Detroit Lions (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (1-0)
• Fox Detroit
Chris Myers, Ronde Barber & Jennifer Hale
4:05pm — Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at San Diego Chargers (0-1)
• Fox Boston, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Spokane, Tacoma
Thom Brennaman, David Diehl & Laura Okmin
4:25pm — New York Jets (1-0) at Green Bay Packers (0-1)
• CTV Two Atlantic, Ontario, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan
• CBS Boston, Burlington, Rochester, Watertown, Buffalo, Detroit, Minneapolis
Greg Gumbel, Trent Green & Evan Washburn
4:25pm — Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) at Denver Broncos (1-0)
• CTV Alberta, Vancouver, RDS2
• CBS Cleveland, Spokane, Seattle
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms & Tracy Wolfson
8:30pm — Chicago Bears (0-1) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
• NBC, TSN1/3/4/5, RDS
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth & Michelle Tafoya
8:30pm — Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
• TSN1/3/4/5, RDS
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden & Lisa Salters
TSN Radio Vancouver: The Team radio stations in Vancouver of Team 1040 and Team 1410 will fall under the TSN Radio brand beginning today. They join already rebranded stations in Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Longtime west coast Connected anchor Don Taylor, who left Sportsnet earlier in the month, will now be with TSN 1040 full-time in their afternoon drive slot and contribute to other TSN Radio stations across the country.
OUA on Sportsnet: When The Score was purchased and rebranded by Rogers as Sportsnet 360, they continued showing Ontario University Athletics (OUA) football and basketball, which has been on Canadian television for decades. No more. Sportsnet announced their agreement with OUA has expired and they would not be renewing, but they wouldn’t be abandoning amateur athletics and they are “focused on building a national CIS presence and supporting CIS athletes across the country through our partnership with the CIS.” OUA officials quickly blamed the 12-year, $5.2-billion deal Rogers signed with the NHL and the fact games are on Saturday afternoons, right before Rogers’ massive night of hockey would begin. Sportsnet President Scott Moore came out and trashed that theory stating the low numbers of viewers (average 28,000 per game last year) didn’t justify the cost of producing ten regular season games. Sportsnet will continue to show playoff games. The OUA tried to find another broadcaster but had no luck and will try and stream every game online each week.
Layoffs at The Score: Speaking of The Score (the digital property, that is), six feature editors were let go from the company at the end of July with the official statement being it was a “strategic decision to consolidate our mobile news team into a single group in order to fully focus on producing the kind of mobile-first content our users have come to enjoy.” In other words, they are no longer interested in feature pieces or long-form writing and solely want bite-sized articles that people can read on their ever-popular app. Personally, Richard Whittle, Drew Fairservice and Dustin Parkes are all fantastic writers and deserve a permanent gig over hacks such as Damien Cox and Steve Simmons.
CBC Sports Twins: For those of you always confused CBC Sports’ twin reporters Carly and Charlise Agro, you can now sleep well at night. Carly tweeted out on August 29 she was leaving CBC. A few days later, Carly has announced she has joined Sportsnet as part of their NHL coverage.
NHL Centre Ice: According to a tweet from Rogers, NHL Centre Ice will be $209 until October 31 and $219 from November onwards, and unlike other packages like NFL Sunday Ticket, there will be no payment by installment option. In a followup tweet, Rogers stated all digital TV subscribers should get a free preview of CI between October 8 and 14.
The Week Ahead
Monday: If your a Jays fan and are still watching their crumbling season (not judging you at all), you can see the game tonight against the Cubs at 7pm on WGN so you can rightly avoid the crappy Sportsnet broadcast with the always-terrible Buck and Pat in the booth. Of course, most people will be watching the NFL Monday Night Football double-header on TSN.
Tuesday: No WGN broadcast tonight unfortunately, but alternately you can enjoy the Royals-Tigers game on MLB Network (of course, only if you are on Rogers). UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying matches continue with five games during the day across the Sportsnet family.
Wednesday: Five games of MLB, a couple MLS games, some cycling and basketball World Cup action. Average hump day viewing.
Thursday: Jays has the night off, so enjoy Yankees-Rays which will no doubt include something relating to the September 11 anniversary. Enjoy watching three different types of football: NFL Thursday Night Football on City and simsubbed on CBS, college football on a bunch of TSN’s, and padding-free football – the English Super League.
And don’t forget, you can find daily listings of all the sports on all of the channels over at Sports on Canadian TV.
Back for another season, it’s your complete guide to what NFL games will be screening across the country each week. Count on plenty of terrible Buffalo Bills simsub games in Toronto as per standard. As always, please point out all errors/changes in the comments section.
Sunday September 7
1pm — New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
• CTV Vancouver, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Northern Ontario
• Fox Burlington, Boston, Spokane, Tacoma
Kevin Burkhardt/John Lynch//Pam Oliver
1pm — Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears
• CTV Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa, Montreal, Atlantic
• Fox Buffalo, Rochester, Detroit
Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/ Tony Siragusa
1pm — New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
• CBS Boston, Burlington, Detroit, Minneapolis, Spokane
Greg Gumbel/Trent Green//Evan Washburn
1pm — Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
• CBS Rochester, Cleveland
Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts//Jenny Dell
1pm — Oakland Raiders at New York Jets
• CBS Buffalo, Watertown
Jim Nantz/Phil Simms//Tracy Wolfson
1pm — Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
• CBS Seattle
Kevin Harlan/Rich Gannon
1pm — Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams
• Fox Minneapolis
Dick Stockton/Kirk Morrison//Kristina Pink
4:25pm — San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys
• CTV nationwide except CTV Two Atlantic
Joe Buck/Troy Aikman//Erin Andrews
8:30pm — Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos
• NBC | TSN1/3/4/5/
Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth//Michele Tafoya
Monday September 8
7pm — New York Giants at Detroit Lions
• ABC Detroit
Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden//Lisa Salters
10:15pm — San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals
Chris Berman/Trent Dilfer//Lindsay Czarniak
Rogers has finally released the last Canadian regional television schedule for the upcoming season. The Vancouver Canucks will have 48 regional games covered by Sportsnet with all but four on SN Pacific. The remaining will be on Sportsnet One companion channel, Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey (not sure why they didn’t just go with SN-Canucks). I thought maybe with SN putting a few Habs games on City Montreal, they would do the same in Vancouver, but I guess it didn’t work out for whatever reason.
Dan Murphy will host rinkside while returning to the play-by-play and analyst positions are John Shorthouse and John Garrett. Sportsnet will also have six Canucks pre-season games broadcast nationally.
Canucks on TSN Radio
The newly rebranded (lanches Mon. Sept. 8) TSN Radio 1040 in Vancouver will have all 82 regular season games as well as seven pre-season matchups. John Shorthouse and Dave Tomlinson will be returning to call all the action during the season, with no replacement named yet for Rick Ball, who has moved to Calgary to work on Sportsnet.
Schedule is below. All times are Pacific. Subject to change.
With Rogers splashing out and buying hockey rights, they either didn’t have the money or the screen time (or maybe both) to continue showing the Sunday 4pm NFL games. Bell Media has gladly come in and swept up those games, and between CTV and TSN, they’ll have coverage of Sunday afternoon, Sunday night and Monday night NFL action, as well as all the playoff and Super Bowl games. Sportsnet continues to hold rights to Thursday Night Football and the Thanksgiving Day games, at least until 2016. With the new TSN deal this season, subscribers will be able to watch NFL action on their laptops, devices and such via TSN GO and CTV GO.
With the exception of tonight’s game on NBC, this season marks the beginning of CBS screening and producing Thursday night football with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the action. Pre-game, half-time, and post-game coverage will feature NFL Network talent. In Canada, Sportsnet will continue to show TNF on one of their channels every week, but for the first eight games of the season you can see the game on CBS also, as well as a Saturday night double-header in week 16. The remaining games will be on the NFL Network in the US, which is blacked out here. UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter below, it appears City will be showing the Thursday night game as well as Sportsnet. Gotta capitalize on that simsubbing, I guess, and maybe City doesn’t have the strongest Thursday night primetime lineup?
With the new Bell deal, viewers will see two games in their market in the 1pm and 4pm time slots on CTV and/or TSN most weeks. I emphasize most weeks as this weekend will be one of those exceptions, as there will only be one game available nationwide on CTV due to TSN, despite having five feeds now, having no space for a 4pm (US Open and CFL commitments). Not a good start if Bell are looking to convince viewers TSN is still “Canada’s sports leader”. TSN’s original press release mentioned using CTV2 for games, so I’m not sure why they aren’t utilizing that this weekend.
One downside it seems to this new deal is CTV will no longer show overflow coverage of late-finishing or overtime games as they will have to cut to the 4pm game. This also means that if the game CTV is showing goes to OT, viewers may miss the beginning of the 4pm game.
Of course, CBS and Fox will have their assortment of games each Sunday, but expect a majority of games to be simsubbed when possible. If you have the time shifting option, you will obviously see a lot more games each Sunday on CTV and the American networks. For fan’s of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countodown, it will return to TSN from 10am Sunday mornings.
Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football will wrap up Sunday’s action with NBC’s fantastic pre-game show and game coverage with the familiar faces and voices of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, and Cris Collingsworth. For those loyal to Canadian TV commercials, you’ll find this also on TSN.
TSN’s Monday NFL coverage starts at 2pm with ESPN’s NFL Primetime, followed by the always-annoying Chris Berman on Monday Night Countdown at 6:30pm which leads into Monday Night Football at 8pm with Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden. The exception is week 1 with Countdown starting at 5pm and leading into the double-header of Giants-Lions and Chargers-Cardinals.
According to various reports, NFL RedZone is no longer available to Canadian viewers as it is no longer being offered by the NFL outside of the US. That said, there is conflicting information as some providers still have it listed on their websites, while others have notified customers it definitely isn’t available anymore. NFL Sunday Ticket continues to be available and should be on free preview during week 1. UPDATE: As pointed out in the comment section, NFL RedZone is available for online viewing if you order NFL Game Pass. UPDATE 2: Bell has confirmed Red Zone will be available for their subscribers this season. Not sure why the change, especially considering they sent out letters informing people it wouldn’t be available. I suggest you contact your provider to make sure they definitely have it.
For French-language, TVA Sports will have the Thursday (except tonight) and Saturday night games with RDS covering games on Sunday and Monday (plus tonight’s season opener).