Where Will My Favourite Soccer League Air in 2012?

It’s a question soccer fans across the county have asked themselves all summer. As I reported in the spring, Canadian television contracts for the Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Europa League would all possibly change hands this summer. Turns out they all did. Sportsnet picked up rights to the Europa League back in the spring. It will air on Sportsnet World and Sportsnet One. The other three domestic leagues are still up in the air. More on that later. But, let’s start with what’s stayed the same. Here is a quick league-by-league rundown.

International Matches – Sportsnet owns rights to the vast majority of international friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, including all of Canada’s home qualifying matches. Canada’s away games must be purchased from another company. Sportsnet also owns rights to the home matches of Spain, Germany, Holland, France, Portugal, England, Croatia, Italy, Greece and the Czech Republic. GolTV owns rights to some matches marketed by Kentaro. These could possibly include Austria, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Wales, Faroe Islands and Kazahkstan home matches, as well as some friendlies. GolTV Canada also owns rights to Brazil’s neutral site and home matches.

UEFA Champions League – Sportsnet is now in the first year of a new three year contract, but coverage remains largely unchanged. Sportsnet, Sportsnet World and Sportsnet One will continue to air 6 matches live each matchday during the group stage (1 Tuesday and 1 Wednesday on each channel). Other matches will air on tape-delay on Sportsnet World. All knockout stage matches will air live, with the final on Sportsnet (and Fox).

Europa League – Sportsnet is also the new exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the Europa League. Sportsnet One and Sportsnet World will each broadcast two matches each matchday. One will air at 1pm ET, with the other following at 3pm ET. Coverage begins with the group stage. I hope to have more information on Sportsnet’s Europa League coverage later this summer.

Premier League – The Premier League is entering the final year of its current three-year contract with Sportsnet. Coverage remains unchanged from last year. TSN2 will have a Saturday morning game. Sportsnet will have a doubleheader on Saturday morning/afternoon. Sportsnet World will show a 10am ET game on Saturday morning, plus all Sunday games. Weekday games will mostly air on TSN2 or Sportsnet World.

F.A. Cup – Sportsnet is entering a new contract with the Football Association to broadcast the FA Cup. The new deals is for six years. They can show up to 59 matches per year beginning with the 5th round proper. It is not clear is matches will only air on Sportsnet World (as in the past), or on the main Sportsnet channel as well. Again, I hope to have more information later in the summer.

Championship/League CupContrary to unverified reports, Sportsnet still owns Canadian broadcast rights to the Football League package. This includes Championship, League Cup and Promotion Playoffs matches for Sportsnet World. Coverage will be similar to last season.

It seems that Sportsnet World has in fact lost rights to the Football League. Most likely to Bein Sports.

La Liga – Bein Sports (owned by the same company as Al Jazeera) owns Canadian rights to La Liga beginning this season. They currently have no channel to show them on here; however, VP of Programming Antonio Briceno said in June that they plan to show those matches here. There is a lot of speculation and mis-information about La Liga airing in Canada. Other than Bein Sports owning the rights, nothing has been confirmed a week from the start of the season.

Serie A – As far as I know, Serie A won’t be returning to theScore. It is likely that Bein Sports has picked up the rights to this league as well. Again, they currently have no channel to show matches on in Canada. It has also been reported in Italy that RAI might drop international rights to Serie A in Italian due to cost-cutting measures from the Italian government.

Ligue 1 – Bein Sports owns worldwide rights to Ligue 1. It falls under the same category as La Liga in that they have no channel to show it on in Canada. One match per week will air in French on TV5.

Note: As I said, there is a lot of misinformation, and speculation on where Bein’s matches will air in Canada. They could buy-in to a current channel, simply sub-license rights to the highest bidder, or even not show the matches at all. I do understand that, to some degree at least, the usual suspects for showing these leagues are interested in the rights. Whether a deal will get done before the La Liga and Serie A seasons kick off over the next couple of weeks, I don’t know. Once I know more about the situation, I will update.

Bundesliga – GolTV Canada still owns rights to the top league in Germany. They can air 2-3 matches per week, as with GolTV in America. GolTV is no longer using international feed commentary for these games. It is now their own commentators calling the matches off a monitor in Florida.

There are plenty of changes for soccer news shows as well. Fox Soccer Report is done. Analyst Bobby McMahon says Thursday will be the last show. So, fans of the show who get Euroworld Sport, tune-in while you still can.

On Fox Soccer in America, Fox Soccer Report is being replaced by a new highlights show produced by another Canadian network. Sportsnet is also launching a new soccer highlights show on Friday night. Put 2 and 2 together… The new show will originate from Toronto. Sportsnet is calling it Soccer Central, while Fox is using Fox Soccer News as the name (no idea which will be used on-air, maybe both). It will air at 11:00pm ET every night on Sportsnet World, with encores the next day at 1pm ET/MT/PT on the regional channels. With Thomas Dobby leaving theScore, I think it’s likely he will land here as the producer. I’ve also heard that Brendon Dunlop may leave theScore to join the show. Otherwise, Sportsnet personalities like Gerry Dobson, Craig Forrest and Kara Lang could appear. To be clear, I’m just speculating on this. Expect an official announcement sometime before the show launches Friday.

The Footy Show is back on theScore as well. The vodcast returns this week and will be on YouTube from Monday through Thursday. It will also air on theScore television on Mondays and Thursdays starting in September. James Sharman and Kristian Jack will continue to host.

Sportsnet is also launching a new series of overflow channels on Rogers Cable (channels 370 through 381). These will carry bonus live UEFA Europa League, UEFA Champions League and World Cup Qualifying matches live.

Thanks to Andy at CanadaSoccerTV for the tip on Sportsnet World’s new overflow channels. Check out his site for the latest soccer TV schedules.

75 thoughts on “Where Will My Favourite Soccer League Air in 2012?

  1. This whole situation is completely ridiculous.. are we ever going to watch Spanish and Italian soccer this season?

    • Honest answer is I don’t know. I hope so.

    • I don’t know about La Liga but RAI International broadcasts Serie A. You don’t have to understand Italian although it does help.

    • The only way we’re going to start watching/enjoying the Serie A or la Liga again is to start by boycotting the arses at Rogers and Bell Media.

      Their only interest is EPL and the Bundesliga and they have proven this match day after matchday time and time again.

      They’re only late arrivals when it comes to the Europa League but when it comes to the Champions’ League, they give preference to either English or German teams. They favour ANYONE over any Italian team (including the Nazionale) and if they show an Italian team it’s because an English or German team is playing.

      I beg anyone to prove me wrong.

      So, like I said, boycott them and write them emails and if you can BLOG ’em.

      • The problem is the CRTC! But for the silly Canadian content rules and the numerous hoops you have to jump through to get a license in Canada bein sports channel could be carried by (insert favorite cable provider name here). Until that changes or bein sports network buys a network here with a Canadian license or subleases the games to a network with a Canadian license (don’t hold your breath on either count) you better run to the border and find a way to buy a us DirecTV dish. Yet they tell you have freedom of speech here.

        Boycott Rogers, Bell…that’s funny!

      • Rogers and Bell have nothing to do with this. Al Jazeera spent a ridiculous amount on the rights for La Liga.

        And if you’ve watched any amount of Champions League or Europa League, you’d know that Barcelona and Real Madrid come way before any German teams for Sportsnet. I’ve never once seen Bundesliga highlights on TSN or Sportsnet, but I’ve seen La Liga on occasion.

        Boycotting Rogers and Bell will in no way bring those leagues to Canada. That is simply a false statement.

        The big English and Spanish clubs are the most popular in Canada. Based on the way Milan and others have performed of late in the CL, I think not showing Italian teams is quite warranted. It’s also important to remember that there are only 2 Italian teams in it, as opposed to 4 English and Spanish teams.

        • correct. Al Jazeera wanted to get into sports broadcasting big time and through their channel BeIN Sports they purchased the US and Canada rights to La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Copa del Rey, South American World Cup Qualifier and some English Championship matches.I believe the deal is similar to their Ligue 1 deal in France, where they hold the rights through 2016….

          My in-laws managed to get a hold of a DishNetwork setup so that they could pull the channel in in Canada. Outside of the games, they have the worst soccer coverage (no discussion of the game, but just updates on other games playing at the same time).

          Part of the problem is that La Ligua has gotten greedy. In Spain, Barca and Real Madrid games are pay per view….

          With the length of their contracts, my guess is that they are going to hold out to get broadcasting access to Canada versus sub-licensing to an existing channel. I am not holding my breath as they have deep pockets and can wait for the setup in Canada that they want.

          From the FAQ on their website:

          Q. Will ‘beIN SPORT’ be available in Canada?
          A. beIN SPORT is currently negotiating agreements to offer its network in the Canadian market. Please contact your cable TV or satellite provider and let them know you want the beIN SPORT networks in Canada today.

          Of course this of course requires them to apply to the CRTC and I doubt that Bell and Rogers want more sports channel competition……I think the best we can hope for is that Bell and Rogers sell part of GolTV to them and re-brand to BeIN.

          • beIN has international rights for Ligue 1 everywhere I believe because they distribute and produce them. Only exceptions are where they don’t operate and sub-license instead (ex. ESPN in the UK).

            La Liga sell all international rights to one company (can’t remember the name right now). That company in turn re-sells the rights to the highest bidders.Obviously they need to make back what they paid to the LFP, so they have no regard for the happiness of viewers in [insert name of country here]. That is the biggest problem with Liga and Serie A. The Premier League sells theirs in-house, which allows for some amount of regulation, although they usually have to go with the highest bidder too.

            beIN wants to work with TLN. Rogers and Bell (er MLSE) would probably rather shutdown GolTV than sell it to a potentially huge competitor. Al Jazeera is the only company that has an interest in sports broadcasting here with deeper pockets than Bell and Rogers. They could team up with CBC and easily win World Cup rights, for example (and CBC would pay almost nothing).

          • This is a very interesting comment indeed. Lets examine it closely.
            1. It seems the author sees Al Jazeera as the problem for wanting to establish a business and two using their war chest to purchase the rights to every league willing to except their offer thus giving them the most advantageous position possible to obtain carriage deals in the US.

            2. The author also seems to think the la liga have gotten greedy which is also a problem. Sidenote:if you think the spanish are greedy you will really have a problem with the EPL http://swissramble.blogspot.ca/2012/06/in-premier-league-sun-always-.

            Conclusion: It seems to me the author has a problem with capitalism in general or simply the types of capitalism that does not benefit him. Look I might even agree with you but that is the way business is done today. What we really need to ask ourselves is even with all the deals Al Jazeera has done why is it that Canadians consumers do not enjoy the same access to programming that US consumers do. Simply, CRTC Rules and the monopolies which benefit from these rules.

            Finally, It seems odd to me that the author believes Bell and Rogers will sell their part of GolTV when: 1. it benefits them most to show MLS games as part owner of maple leaf sports and entertainment to promote their products and 2. such a deal would see GolTV then be partners with BeIN Sports a network that is effectively squeezing them of out of the US marketplace and out of business. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! The best you can hope for is the owners of GolTV to sell their stake yet I don’t see that happening in the near term.

  2. Now a constructive comment. If you English language football from Italy, Spain or France why not ask ton or goltv Canada what they are doing to secure a subleasing deal. Tln has a channel and a license which you pay for and they waste by showing nothing but world cup documentaries on. The trip down memory lane was cool for a weekend but everyday for the last 6 months! As a channel dedicated to latinos i laugh at the fact they make no effort at trying to get the rights to Mexican league football let alone Italian football even though they have a working relationship with Univision where they receive all their Spanish language programming; talk about wasting a license! While goltv in the US has the rights to Argentine football yet goltv Canada does not even show it. I would love to see Boca v River Plate. Do these networks not wish to grow their viewership or are the Canadian license fees from (insert your favorite cable company here) that good?

    • GolTV Canada has no deal with Univision…

      Argentine rights are an odd thing. GolTV US had a hard time securing them because someone else owns exclusive North American rights (an Argentine company, I think). Not sure how GolTV got them or what the holdup for GolTV Canada is.

      GolTV Canada doesn’t seem to want to spend money on anything GolTV US doesn’t already have (except MLS because of TFC). I think this is the beginning of the end of the channel because I think MLSE will combine their 3 channels into one under the new ownership.

      • Correct GolTV Canada has no deal nor working relationship with Univision (that I know of) BUT TLN does given that the majority of their programming lineup for TLN en espanol seems come from Univision. Hence the questions remains why have they made no effort to secure the rights to the Mexican 1st division given their mission statement to serve the Latino community. Seems odd to me and a waste of a network license for Euroworld sport which is showing little to no live football.

Leave a Reply to crazynuts Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s