TSN Year in Review 2011

TSN has issued a press release reviewing the 2011 year for the broadcaster. It was quite a year at both TSN and Sportsnet, and I’ll have more on that late next week in my year in review. For now, here is TSN’s press release.

2011 will go down as a landmark year for sports broadcasting in Canada with Bell Media’s TSN firmly established in its leadership position for years to come. In addition to being the overwhelming leader in terms of audiences, production and fan engagement, TSN also spent this year focusing on the future and enhancing its impressive slate of programming that saw Canada’s Sports Leader secure long-term Canadian media rights to marquee events such as the FIFA World Cup, Wimbledon, EURO 2012 and 2016, Rugby World Cup, the Tour de France and Winnipeg Jets regional package.

“This has been truly a landmark year for TSN. To classify 2011 as an incredibly busy year for all of us at TSN would be a significant understatement. Our focus this year was to invest in our on-screen product to give fans the industry’s best coverage of the biggest events in sports,” said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. “From aggressively acquiring marquee properties such as the FIFA World Cup and the Winnipeg Jets regional rights to signing key long-term extensions with the Canadian Curling Association and Wimbledon, we have once again positioned TSN to continue to be Canada’s Sports Leader for the next generation of sports fans. We also complemented our acquisitions with exciting new radio and mobile platforms, along with an expanded on-air roster of top-end talent – making the TSN brand bigger and stronger than it has ever been.”

TSN goes into 2012 with even more of the world’s biggest sporting events including being an official broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and having exclusive Canadian coverage of the 100th GREY CUP, EURO 2012 and the IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP.

2011 Audience Highlights

  • TSN is the most-watched specialty channel in Canada
  • TSN is the fourth most-watched channel on Canadian television ahead of several conventional channels
  • TSN’s broadcast of the 2011 IIHF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP Gold Medal Game ranks as the most-watched program ever on TSN with 6.1 million viewers
  • TSN.ca and its various platforms will register more than 2.1 billion page views in 2011 – almost doubling the total in 2010
  • TSN2 ends 2011 as Canada’s most-watched digital sports channel
  • On Twitter, TSN’s Bob McKenzie has 250,000 followers – more than any other media personality in Canada
  • TSN’s Facebook Page has more than 270,000 fans
  • The TSN iPad app is the #1 free sports app in Canada and one of the top apps of the year as named by Apple

TSN’s Major Property Deals in 2011

  • FIFA World Cup 2015-2022 – secured media rights to a comprehensive soccer programming package from 2015 through to 2022, including exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 in Canada.
  • Canada Curling Association – enhanced its partnership with a long-term multimedia rights extension through to the 2019-20 season. Season of Champions events include the TIM HORTONS BRIER and SCOTTIES TOURNAMENT OF HEARTS.
  • Major League Soccer (MLS) – signed a six-year broadcast rights agreement making TSN the official broadcaster of MLS in Canada. TSN will feature 30+ games next season.
  • Wimbledon – enhanced its long partnership making TSN the exclusive Canadian broadcaster for Wimbledon for the next decade. TSN will now broadcast the final weekend including both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals.
  • Winnipeg Jets Regional broadcast rights – a 10-year agreement gives TSN more than 60 regional regular season and pre-season games each season.
  • Skate Canada – a new landmark 10-year rights agreement makes TSN an official broadcaster of Skate Canada with multimedia rights to all of Skate Canada’s premier domestic events.
  • Tour de France – secured a multi-year broadcast rights agreement for the biggest event in cycling.
  • EURO 2012 and 2016 – an exclusive multimedia rights agreement for UEFA EURO 2012 and UEFA EURO 2016.
  • British Open Championship – a multi-year rights extension making TSN the exclusive home of The Open Championship through to 2017.
  • Rugby World Cup – exclusive multimedia rights agreement for RUGBY WORLD CUP 2011 and RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015.
  • French Open – extended its long-term partnership with a new six-year multimedia rights deal.
  • Presidents Cup/PGA – extended its partnership with the PGA TOUR, agreeing on a multimedia rights deal for THE PRESIDENTS CUP in 2011 and 2013 and other PGA events.
  • NCAA March Madness – new multi-year deal for the biggest event in college basketball
  • F1 – extended its long-term partnership with a new multimedia rights deal.

TSN Brand Extension and New Platforms Introduced in 2011

  • TSN Jets – regional channel in the Jets broadcast region featuring 60+ Jets games each season
  • TSN Mobile TV – mobile package includes live mobile coverage of hundreds of TSN and TSN2 events
  • TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto – debuted in April featuring Mike Richards in the morning and Cybulski & Company in the afternoon drive slot
  • TSN Radio 990 in Montreal – debuted as TSN Radio 990 in October with live radio broadcasts of all Montreal Canadiens games
  • TSN Radio 1290 in Winnipeg – debuted as TSN Radio 1290 in October with live coverage of all Winnipeg Jets games
  • TSN iPad App – debuted in April and has since become one of Canada’s most downloaded apps and named one of the top iPad apps by Apple

New TSN Original Programming

  • The Extra Yard: Inside the 2011 Argos – four-part all access documentary series produced by Aquila Productions.
  • NHL All-Star Player Fantasy Draft – James Duthie hosted first-of-its-kind All-Star Player draft
  • John Candy: True Double Blue – original documentary about beloved Canadian movie star and former part-owner of the Toronto Argonauts, John Candy, and his life-long passion for the CFL and the Argos.

TSN Talent Hires

  • Pierre Lebrun – Insider, NHL on TSN
  • Marc Crawford – Analyst, NHL on TSN
  • Cabral “Cabbie” Richards – Host, Cabbie Presents
  • Dan Shulman – Baseball Insider
  • Luke Wileman – Play-by-play commentator, MLS on TSN
  • Jason DeVos – Colour analyst, MLS on TSN
  • Tracy Wilson – Analyst, Figure skating on TSN
  • Bruce Arthur – Contributor, The Reporters/TSN Radio
  • Mike Richards – Morning Show Host, TSN Radio 1050
  • Bryan Hayes – Host, TSN Radio 1050
  • Natasha Staniszewski, Anchor/Reporter, SportsCentre
  • Mark Masters – Reporter, SportsCentre
  • Nabil Karim – Anchor/Reporter, SportsCentre

Industry Recognition

  • Gemini Awards – TSN was honoured with three awards, with James Duthie winning for Best Host or Interviewer in a Sports Program or Sportscast, for hosting this year’s NHL ALL-STAR FANTASY DRAFT; James Cybulski winning for Best Sports Feature Segment for his feature on Jay Triano and Terry Fox; and Jay Onrait winning for Best Sportscaster/Anchor for his role on SportsCentre.
  • Canadian Football Hall of Fame – CFL ON TSN’s Milt Stegall will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in the Player category in honour of his outstanding 13-year playing career.
  • Sports Media Canada – NHL on TSN’s James Duthie was honoured with the Excellence in Sports Broadcasting award for his work as host of TSN’s extensive NHL coverage.

Aside from the usual self-promotion, there is some new news in this press release. TSN has extended rights with the PGA Tour through at least 2013. I’m can’t confirm whether Global has as well. Also TSN has signed a new long-term agreement for Formula 1. Personally, I hope TSN shows pre and post-race coverage, even if it is just on TSN2, beginning next season.

In my opinion, despite Sportsnet’s best efforts, TSN has actually increased their lead as the number 1 sports broadcaster in Canada this year. Sportsnet added a lot of talent, and probably did better than TSN in that area, but otherwise, especially in new rights deals, TSN fared lot better than Sportsnet this year.

2 thoughts on “TSN Year in Review 2011

  1. Have you heard anything if TSN is going to use the BBC or Sky commentary for their F1 races next year? Motorsports columnist Norris McDonald from The Toronto Star wrote he put in a call to TSN regarding this but it wasn’t returned. Not that I’ll be watching F1 on TSN in either case unless they seriously improve their overall offering/product which has been downright brutal since 2009…

    • I have not heard. It doesn’t really matter to me to be honest. Both crews seem about even. I’ll probably still watch BBC’s pre-race show on the iPlayer for those races (when I’m up early enough at least). I guess I’ll have to go with TSN or RDS for all of the Sky races.

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