The Barclays Premier League announced a new rights deal for Canada this afternoon. TSN and Sportsnet, the current broadcasters of England’s top domestic football league, will continue to broadcast all games to Canadians. The biggest difference in the new contract is TSN and Sportsnet will each get 50% of the matches. Over the past three years Sportsnet has broadcast most matches, with TSN sub-licensing around 50 per season.
In the new deals the Premiership has sold two seperate 190 match packages. Rogers bought one, which will see 190 games air on Sportsnet, Sportsnet World, Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet World Plus. TSN bought the other package, with matches set to air on TSN, TSN2, RDS and RDS2. It is unclear at this time just how TSN and Sportsnet will divide the 380 matches. However, both Rogers and Bell will get equal selections based on timeslots and/or matchups.
The Canadian announcement comes a day after NBCUniversal revealed that they have picked up American broadcast rights beginning next fall. The new US deal sees an end to ESPN’s Premiership broadcasts, which have set the gold standard for soccer broadcasting in North America. NBC will broadcast all 380 league matches per season, marking the first time every game is shown live in America.
Steaming will play an important role in the new broadcast contracts. NBC will use online streaming service to offer around four Saturday 10am eastern kickoffs per week. TSN also has stated that TSN.ca is part of the plan to deliver games to Canadians. Sportsnet World’s streaming service and mobile TV platforms for both Bell and Rogers will also play a role. This really is the first time that online rights have been considered an essential, valuable part of a Premiership broadcast contract. In the past they were just an afterthought.
Here is a quote from Navaid Mansuri, Vice-President of Finance & Sports Programming, Sportsnet.
Sportsnet is proud to continue our strong partnership with the Premiere League, furthering our commitment to providing Canadians with unparalleled access to world class soccer content. The BPL is one of the world’s most prominent soccer leagues and this new agreement has positioned Sportsnet to continue our already unprecedented schedule of soccer programming across multiple platforms in the years to come.
And Shawn Redmond, Vice-President of Programming, TSN.
The Premier League is home to the world’s most popular teams and biggest stars in soccer. With a dedicated and growing fan base in Canada we are looking forward to giving fans even more Premier League coverage with more games on TSN than ever before. The BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE package is a perfect complement to our slate of world-class soccer programming.
It is also unclear if beIN Sport, which doesn’t yet have distribution in the Canadian market, launched a serious bid for the Canadian rights. beIN Sport, owned by Qatar Media, was expected to challenge the status quo in the British and American markets as well. As it turns out, their bids fizzled towards the end in both of those markets. New broadcasters did take over Premiership broadcasting, but it was British Telecom and NBC, not beIN Sport.
This deal is probably about as good as this was going to turn out for Canadians. Between TSN, TSN2, Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet World, it is possible to broadcast up to five games live at one time. The Premier League will use the following timeslots for matches over the next three seasons (all times Eastern and number of matches is approximate)
Saturday 7:45am – 28-30 matches
Saturday 10:00am – ~190 matches
Saturday 12:30pm – 28-30 matches
Sunday 8:30am – 32 matches
Sunday 11:00am – 33 matches
Monday 3:00pm – 18-20 matches
Usually a Premier League season consists 33 weekend rounds and 7 holiday/midweek rounds. The 33 weekend rounds will see around 140 matches played in unique timeslots. The other 190 matches played on the weekend will be on Saturday at 10:00am or Sunday at 10:00am (when a team plays in the Europa League the Thursday before).
Weekday rounds will account for the other 7 rounds, with a total of 70 matches. 12 of these matches are slated for television in the UK. Usually (when it’s not a holiday), the matches are split between Tuesday and Wednesday with consistant start times.