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. Thanks for the update. I mostly watch the Premier League, but it’s very intersting that at the moment no one really knows where la liga or serie a will air as i know both also have a decent following in Canada. Can’t wait for saturday though, a new EPL season begins!

  2. Good stuff, I’m very Pumped for the soccer(football) season to begin. I’m big Chelsea fan, so I follow EPL and Champions league, and sportsnet does a great job on doing that with some broadcasts, tsn2 is good with some EPL too which is nice. I’m also glad to here that FA cup now will be broadcasted on sportsnet. I’m happy to see all these channels broacasting the beautiful game on tv here in Canada. Cause its next best thing from being there. I want to buy sportsnet world but it’d not HD for my satalite(shaw direct) and makes me kinda mad cause it’s not worth getting without HD, but I’ll wait another year. If Chelsea games aren’t on tv I watch them on computer or mobile device if i can, and that’s not nearly as good as watching on tv on hd. But I’m excited to see some football(soccer) this year!

  3. What do you think about The Score picking up Ligue 1? I could see that happening.

  4. I am guessing that sportsnet world will show all other 10am premiership fixtures tape delayed throughout the weekend?

  5. The BeIN situation is a complete joke. I hope they sub license La Liga and Serie A games to TheScore and GolTV Canada so they can show the games while they work their problem out. I can’t believe we are going to miss games on live TV in 2012.

  6. Also, any thoughts on GOLTV HD and if it will exist anytime soon? With Bell and Rogers about to take ownership, do you think it will expedite the process?

  7. Looking at the TV schedule on the BeIN Sport USA website, I am impressed with their programming and the channel feels like a better version of GolTV. I really hope they get their act together up here and give us the same channel.

  8. Hope these Sportsnet World Plus channels get included in the Sportnet World price. If there is a expensive price for them I hope England’s World Cup qualifiers are on the main Sportsnet World channel

  9. do you know anything about these overflow channels? Footie On Canadian Tv has them listed for staurday 11am atl time kickoffs. basically enabling EVERY EPL game to be seen live now which would be amazing. Any news if they’re gonna be available with Shawe Direct etc? Thanks

  10. I noticed this morning that Sportsnet World has removed the nPower Championship match between Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town that was originally scheduled to air today (Friday) at 2:45. The Leeds v Wolves match tomorrow morning has been replaced by a Scottish League match. Is it possible Sportsnet has lost the rights for the Championship? I hope that isn’t the case but when I checked earlier this week (Rogers digital guide) both of these matches were scheduled to air. It’s strange that they have been removed.

    • Yes they have. To Bein Sports, apparently.

      • This is an absolute joke. I have been waiting all week to go home tonight watch this match in my PVR. Fuck bein sports.

        • With respect, I think the blame lies 100% with the Football League for selling the Canadian rights to a broadcaster who does not have a Canadian broadcasting capability.
          Complain to the Football League and your own team.

          • I don’t have a team in football league, I just think it’s a great spectacle and I had already emailed the football league before posting that. Bein is definitely responsible too. Why buy up all the rights when you don’t have a channel and can’t legally start a channel?

            • Kudos for complaining first to the football league.

              If I was beIN Sports I would buy the Canadian rights if they were sold as part of a North American package provided I thought I could make my required return on the US market alone. If I could sublicense Canadian rights to make even more dough I would, but it is probably only a peripheral 10% absolute max of their strategy, and not their launch priority. With the funding they have they do not need to give away the Canadian rights for a song. Sadly they have no obligation to broadcast.

              The fault lies 100% with the various leagues for not caring about visibility as much as money – as Doug observes below from the ESPN article.

              • The issue is they do have a obligation to broadcast you can’t and should not buy rights and just hold them back and not broadcast now with that said if there not on tv by oct i can see the leagues taking action.

              • None of the packages were sold for all of North America. Bein wanted enough programming to start/by/re-brand a Canadian channel. Apparently they’re having more problems than they expected. Even if they don’t show those leagues at all this year, then they still have 2 more years to make money off of them.

        • There was a good article on ESPN today in which reps of the Italian league admitted that they may have made a mistake chasing Bein Sports’ money at the cost of visibility. Apparently, they were unaware of the difficulty choosing Bein as their distributor would have on their viewership. It’s a year away but I hope when the contract is up Sportsnet will lock up the Premier League rights for the forseeable future.

          • Just wanted to mention that before the Manchester City V Southampton game today Sportsnet World advertised that they are the home of the League Cup (Capital One Cup) this season, so although they have lost the rights to The Football League, they still own the rights to the League Cup

        • As a Business strategy Bein Sports moves perfect sense. What better way to create demand for your channel and hence a better bargaining position when you do approach channel provider than by buying all the rights to almost every league. Is that not SKY’s strategy in the UK own every sport that is some what interesting then leave the rest to the BBC. I don’t like but that’s how business is done.

          If you really want someone to blame, blame yourselves for not getting rid of the CRTC’s xenophobic Canadian Content laws. These laws prevent will prevent Bein Sports getting a license unless they show in 10,0000 hrs of some little league kick about game played near Hudson Bay or some foolishness. Then blame yourself again as a North American for not having an energy policy which created the largest transfer of wealth in history to the middle east which allows them to buy everything.

  11. Complete joke IMO. La Liga starts tomorrow and there is no news as to where this will be shown in Canada. Nothing but incompetence on the part of beinsports, this should have been taken care of weeks ago!!

  12. Still no news about Serie A. It seems that RAI International will no longer carry it and The Score almost certainly will not. All this with the start only 1 week away. This is ludicrous when there are so many followers of the Italian game here in Canada.

  13. Do you know of any services that would let me watch Serie A Games like a PPV online or anything? I cannot believe this is happening…….

  14. This is complete bullshit! I’ve been looking forward to watching a new season of la liga for 2 months now to find out today the first day that they aren’t even airing it on tv anymore. Why couldn’t they have figured this problem out weeks in advance. We can’t even view it on live stream unless we are members and have to pay. There are several futbol fans here in Canada and it’s such a shame that they don’t give two fucks about their viewers who are all supporters of their team.

    • I totally agree! The only reason I pay for GolTV is to watch La Liga. I’d cancel it except I’m afraid beIN might sell the rights to Gol and I’d have to resubscribe. What was La Liga thinking, selling the rights to such a small network that has no channel in Canada? I guess they didn’t care.

      • I agree. I am a big La Liga fan. The best players in the world (well … Messi for sure) and beIn sports have no Canadian distributor?????? I have seen beIn sports and it is much better than GolTv. I can only hope beIn sports work out a deal with Sportsnet or TSN. Once again, Canadians must wait until a USA release just like so many products. Brutal !!!!

      • Same here. I got that channel just to watch the la liga series and now all they’re running are MLS games and interviews from MLS player and games from the South American league. I noticed that they are running El Classico today but other than that I think that’s the only treat we’ll get on that network for a long time.

  15. Rai International has apparently worked out an agreement to show Serie A in Italian for 3 seasons.

  16. a solution is needed asap.
    Canada is hosting the Women’s WC next year.
    is anyone in broadcasting paying attention?
    is it too little, the amount of ad revenue you can get from the halftime ads?
    Messi is recognized internationally as one of the best ever, and we can’t watch him play?
    I thought this was “the best country in the world”?

  17. The Score has LFC and Hearts in Europa League. Didnt expect that.

    • Europa Playoff games are sold on a team-by-team basis; unlike the Champions League, the main package starts with the Group Stage. Easy enough for The Score to approach Liverpool and Hearts for the right to this game.

      That said, I didn’t see it coming either. Why Sportsnet didn’t do it is another matter.

  18. Any news about who will cary La Liga? The two best teams in the world are from La Liga. I do not care about seeing the rest. I want to watch the best.

  19. On Wednesday night’s episode of the new Soccer Central programme, there was a Sportsnet World promo for the Bolton v Nottingham Forest fixture for Friday at 2:45. This was listed on the Sportsnet website earlier in the week but has since been replaced by a Rugby match and yet they plugged the match. Has Sportsent sub-licensed the Championship from Bein?

  20. I think Bein really screwed (us) up…..you have Bell and Rogers who co-own GolTV in Canada, and also own separately TSN (Bell), Sporstnet and now Score (both Rogers) and the majority of television distribution in Canada. To get a channel distributed on Bell or Rogers they will have to pay handsomely as they will compete with the channels that had the rights to those leagues or pass on the rights to those leagues to one of those channels. Unfortunately, any way you cut it….I doubt we will see any games soon…..

    • Not true…The CRTC has as you put it “screwed us”. But for the Canadian Content regulations Bein Sports could be added to any cable network or Sat provider as easily as has and is being done in the US.

      It seems the prohibition is back but the tables have turned and now its Canadians who are in need of bootleg dish instead of bottle.

    • Bell and Rogers do not co-own GolTV. They are purchasing stakes in MLSE, the company than owns and runs GolTV.

      Usually providers pay for channels. Bein was giving their channel to Dish and DirecTV for free in the US. Could see them doing the same here,

  21. I hope something comes to a conclusion for La Liga! I have been waiting so long for the season to begin again…

  22. It looks like TLN began testing the BeIn Sport signal. Looks positive and hopefully we get some more news this week

    • Where and When – more info please.

      • They are apparently testing it on satellites that most don’t have access too. Possibly so they can receive the feed and re-broadcast it on Euroworld Sport.

        • Euroworld Sports!!! That kind of sucks BIG time. There are those of us who don’t have and cannot get EWS. That’s what happened last year when TLN stopped broadcasting the Serie A games and took it over to EWS which they co-own (16%).

          And that’s when I started boycotting any company owned by Joseph Vitale (ItalPasta) – it was and is unfair what they did – they ought to be ashamed of denying Serie A fans (presumably mostly Italian) our fair share of the beautiful game.

          And, BTW, I wrote the Italian Ambassador to thank RAI (as a state-owned broadcaster) for televising Serie A on RAI Int. We must let them know that their effort is appreciated.

          • I don’t see how you connect the dots here. TLN and Euroworld Sports are 100% owned by the same company, Corus Entertainment. It is owned by the Shaw (Media) family. I don’t see what ItalPasta has to do with TLN whatsoever.

            I don’t have Euroworld either, but an agreement with Bein Sports would likely change everything. They probably wouldn’t put their games on a network without first ensuring that Bell and Shaw carry it, even if it means giving it away to them for free. That’s what they did with DirecTV and Dish in America.

            • The US market is a different story but…

              Corus is only 50.5% owned by Shaw, making them a majority voters.

  23. No Serie A or La Liga this year? Brutal, just fucking brutal.

  24. Has there been any update on the state of negotiations with beIN and Canadian providers? We’re a month into the seasons and “negotiations” still haven’t resulted in games being aired…

    • Not really. I get the feeling Bein isn’t terribly serious about negotiating unless they get a stake in the channel they sell games to. This is a problem for the Canadian nets. Premier League rights from next season are currently being bid on. If Bein somehow manages to outbid Rogers/Bell for those, then I’d think it will really speed everything up.

      • Thanks for the reply. I’m not familiar with BeIN. Do they have a channel of their own that’s being shown in the US (eg “BeIN Sports” or something like that)? If they did, I’m wondering if it might not be easier to get a BeIN channel inserted into the Bell/Rogers/Telus/etc channel line-ups instead.

        Either way I find this entire situation very poorly handled and would be inclined to agree with you that BeIN don’t really seem to care too much about realizing any revenue from the Canadian marketplace.

        • Yes, they have an English channel in America. Probably wouldn’t be able to get it approved for Canadian broadcasts, similar to how ESPN isn’t approved. This is especially true considering it would compete with channels that Rogers and Bell own.

          • Any insider scoop on the progress of these “negotiations”? They’re starting to look as cumbersome as the NHL/NHLPA talks. I hope they haven’t just decided to drop the Canadian market entirely this season. Streaming every game is far from ideal.

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