TSN/Sportsnet to Split Leafs, TFC and Raptors 50/50

TSN released its annual end of year/”look at how well we did, again” press release on Friday. It was chock full of the usual things. 85% of Canadians watch sports each month (okay, that’s actually interesting), TSN is the most watched specialty channel, TSN’s audience is 62% larger than Sportsnet’s, TSN2 is the third most watched sports channel, football and Olympic ratings were great, lots of people watched the NHL last time they played and tennis had surprisingly good ratings. TSN also signed new broadcast deals with the Australian Open and Barclays Premier League.

However, there was one section of the press release that stood out. TSN will benefit more from the MLSE purchase than Sportsnet. The press release didn’t come out and say it, but based on the information within it is fairly clear. TSN will have 50% of all regional Maple Leafs (if they ever play again) and Toronto FC regional matches. TSN also gets 50% of all Raptors broadcasts. On the face of it everything looks equal, so why does TSN benefit more?

The Maple Leafs sell 52 of their games for regional broadcast. Under the new agreement Leafs TV is out of the live game business completely. Under the current deal Sportsnet shows 29 of those, Leafs TV shows 13 and TSN shows 10 (for which they have a special deal that removes regional restrictions). Under the new deal TSN and Sportsnet will each show 26. Leafs TV is completely out of the live game business. TSN also broadcasts 7 Leafs games as part of its national broadcast deal. CBC has 23. That means TSN will now have more Leafs regular season games than any other broadcaster. Sportsnet loses three games per season.

TSN and Sportsnet will also split Raptors games, with each broadcaster getting 41 during the regular season. This is technically a win for Sportsnet, as they go up from 35 games. TSN loses six in return. But it isn’t all bad for TSN considering the Raptors are struggling to break 100, 000 viewers many games this season. The Leafs usually pull in close to (or over) a million on TSN. I don’t think they are too concerned with turning in six Raptors games for sixteen Leafs games. It is still unknown where other NBA coverage that MLSE sells in Canada, such as the All Star Game and Finals, will air under the new ownership.

TSN broadcasts 18 Toronto FC matches as part of their MLS broadcast deal. TSN and Sportsnet will divide the other sixteen, with each taking 8. That gives TSN more than three-quarters of all TFC matches. Technically both networks gain TFC matches though. Sportsnet had six matches this past season while TSN only had two regional games through a sub-license with GolTV. If losing La Liga was the first sign of the demise of GolTV Canada, losing close to twenty hours of live original Canadian programming c0uld put an end to Canada’s only non-premium all-soccer channel. It’s hard to see the channel surviving on Bundesliga and all-American MLS matches. And, as I said, Sportsnet adds two matches while TSN adds six. Another win for TSN.

34 thoughts on “TSN/Sportsnet to Split Leafs, TFC and Raptors 50/50

  1. This is great when the NHL comes back I will be able to watch more Leafs games :) I might not be able to watch the games on sportsnet cause of there regional things but more on tsn the better :) along with the rest on CBC. All the jets games I will be able to watch on jets TV :) But the lockout really makes my mood not even that excited for NHL but when it’s back this is good news. The TFC and Raptors split is cool news too and fine with it. I’m glad sportsnet and tsn now have some new deals for Barclays premier league as well :) sports looking good on TV now :)

    • TSN’s 16 new Leafs games may be subject to blackout policies. All 26 may be depending on the new TV contracts from the 2014-15 season.

      • Ok well I don’t think the TSN national games will blackout. The sportsnet games on sportsnet east or Ontario did usually black out on me cause I live in Winnipeg. I always thought that was extremely dumb and hope they don’t do that anymore. I was leafs fan before jets came back. The jets games I have all to watch and stuff with jets tv but it’s good to see leafs could have more games to be on to watch and should be good when season is back.

        • Currently TSN has a special deal with the other six Canadian clubs to lift the blackout for their ten Leafs games. Getting a deal for the other six games could prove harder unless TSN and/or MLSE is willing to give them money in my opinion. Especially if TSN doesn’t win the next national TV contract they won’t get to show these games outside of Ontario. The reason for blackouts is to protect regional rights of the other six teams and they are not going away.

          The new television deals don’t come into effect until the current ones are done, which is either 2013-14 or 2014-15, I can’t remember which. So there will be no changes this year.

          • Ok well I hope I get to see as much leafs games as possible. Alittle confusing with all the regional blackout stuff but I know it probably makes sense a bit but we will see what happens in the next seasons whenever this thing you described takes place.

            • To simplify this, the regional games that are available can vary depending on the number of games that national broadcasters (ie. CBC and TSN as of right now) acquire. That being said, the remaining games, according to TSN, will be split evenly. That would mean Sportsnet will use Sportsnet Ontario for half of the remaining games, and TSN will create a regional channel like TSN Jets or blackout their main channel (which would interfere with their national broadcast rights) or rebrand/use Leafs TV.

              In the case of who wins, TSN/Bell obviously gains the most because they already have national rights for MLS games, which will now include more TFC games (however Rogers/Sportsnet owns rights to MLB (excluding Sunday Night Baseball), which is still > MLS). Of course that would mean GolTV Canada will have no MLS games (I think).

              As for basketball, Sportsnet/Rogers wins in the deal cause right now TSN has more Raptor games than them, although I am not sure what will happen to NBA TV Canada (hopefully they will try to air the live games on Sportsnet/TSN, cause I don’t get HD for that channel).

              Then for hockey, I’d say TSN/Bell wins because they still have the national rights as of now, therefore they will have more games than Sportsnet/Rogers, however that may change if Sportsnet/Rogers decide to bid for the OTA rights or payTV rights that are currently under TSN/Bell (which I doubt, but can happen).

              The most likely occurrence would be Sportsnet/TSN bidding together against CBC for both the OTA (Over the Air) and payTV rights, cause I doubt Rogers or Bell would want to compete against each other (being that they both own the same hockey team) and as well, Sportsnet/Rogers are acquiring The Score (which is probably going to be used as a second National broadcast channel, like TSN2 for Bell).

              http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/nhl/article/1202357–hockey-night-in-canada-rights-expected-to-be-fierce-battle

              • Wow alot great information here that still is bit confusing but I get kinda what you said and what’s going happen. A lot more splitting of teams games with sportsnet and tsn and stuff. Should be cool and interesting to see what happens. I think it will be good. I don’t mind what’s happening now already but with this change for the future it could be better. But we will see.

                • To put this in perspective, nothing major will change until the national licenses expire (if you do not live in the Toronto Maple Leafs market). Those who do live in the Toronto Maple Leafs market may see a new regional sports channel under TSN’s brand (ie. TSN Jets/TSN Habs) or find Leafs TV to be under TSN’s brand.

                  • TSN still has their old alternate channel kicking around (on Shaw Direct at least) that they used to show Leafs games on in the past as well.

                    • If I recall correctly, on BellTV the old TSN alternate feed channel 401 which used to show regional Maple Leafs and Canadiens games a decade ago and substitute programming during any CFL local blackouts ended up becoming TSN2. Then channel 402 became the TSN Habs feed a couple years ago, before that I think it was a promo/barker channel. TSN Jets is further up the dial in the 400s. I would guess TSN would just launch another regional feed called “TSN Leafs” if they need to and if it’s allowed within their license. I remember a decade ago they only had the one alternate feed which is why they never aired a regional Leafs and regional Canadiens game at the same time and there were restrictions on the amount of regional programming they could air.

          • I believe if the lockout wipes out the entire season that all TV contracts (including NBC/nbcsportsnetwork) are bumped ahead one year. So if that is the case it would be ’15-16 season the current deal expires. For my money and I hate to say it but I hope TSN gets the National deal, there is no question they put on a great Hockey show.

  2. did TSN have any comment on how things are going on the radio side? I imagine the lockout has hurt them (given how hockey-centric) their roster is.

  3. “85% of Canadians watch sports each month”
    I don’t know why, but I find this hard to believe for some reason. Though, I’m happy to be proven wrong otherwise.

    “Leafs TV is completely out of the live game business”
    This is mildly interesting. Unless you are a Leaf tragic/die-hard, I doubt most people, now that they don’t have any live games, will bother paying extra every month for Leafs TV just so they can watch their crappy pre- and post-game shows plus old games from back when they were good.

  4. If Rogers is thinking about acquiring Over The Air rights for Saturday Night games on their Citytv network, I am assuming from what I read on places like the digitalhome.ca forums, that they would have to start their own stations in Ottawa, the Maritimes & Quebec City (if a team returns there) correct? Unless Citytv has a nationwide presence two or three years from now, it probably takes them out of the running for the over the air contract.

  5. TSN is the number 1 watched sports channel, sportsnet number2 but what is readlly impresive is that TSN 2 is number 3 meaning that TSN/Bell is really dominating sports programing. For the CFL this is awesome and fairs well that the CFL will once again go exclusive with TSN/Bell with having the number 1 and number 3 sports channel TSN can promote the CFL during other broadcasts much more than any other network. kinda gives them some leverage back to TSN in the new TV negotiations. Hopefully TSN will be fair and give the CFL its due and give them something between 40-50 million as they has the money and they basically have been cleaning up with the outdated deal paying the CFL a mere 16 million for ratings avg. well over 700k plus the RDS numbers which should get a pump with Ottawa returning. The grey cup numbers were out of this world and will most likely stay that high for a long time now.

  6. Just because one of Tsn or Sportsnet gets more games i would not be to quick to say its a win its possible some of these games might be low ratings games i am not saying thats the case for most but for some it could be the case.As for Gol with Ottawa joining the Nasl in 2014 and talk of Calgary/Winnipeg and Hamilton joining this could be a boost to the channel if done right its a win win for all maybe that won’t happen but its possible.

    • TSN gains Leafs hockey, which is the highest rated sports team in Canada. They lose a few Raptors games, which get 10% of the ratings of the Leafs at times. I took that into account and mentioned it in the article.

      I don’t think NASL in Ottawa and Edmonton is enough to sell GolTV nationally (or in Toronto) if they have no TFC or La Liga.

      • I am not so much talking about the Leafs but more the other sports as for Gol if Hamilton/Calgary join down the road that should appeal to many.

        • I really doubt many Canadians would be interested in NASL, especially when the Blue Jays are appearing to be more like contenders this season. Not only that, but NASL (which is a USSF Division II), do not have national broadcast rights and therefore can not pay for top tier soccer players, while their competitor, MLS (which is a USSF Division I) has national broadcast rights that can pay for better soccer players.

          I honestly do not believe GolTV will survive, unless they can snatch TSN and Sportsnet’s broadcast rights to EPL or SPL. I am pretty sure the channel will go defunct or will be sold (perhaps it’ll be rebranded to beIN Sport).

          • Agreed on NASL. I’m a big soccer fan and its not even on my radar. I couldn’t tell you any teams from it aside from Edmonton. Even if it had 10 Canadian teams it wouldn’t be enough to sell nationally when Canada’s 3 biggest cities have MLS teams with recognizable players on each.

            Just my opinion, but no way MLSE bids aggressively against their co-owners for EPL. Premier League rights have already been sold through 2016 anyway. I don’t think GolTV will be around to see 2016, unless they win that set of La Liga rights maybe.

            Also no way (again, in my opinion) that MLSE lets the only potential competitor to the MLSE/Rogers/Bell threesome into Canada. beIN is the only channel that can challenge those three for broadcast rights to most international sports (including potentially golf, tennis etc.). beIN are having an impossible time getting into Canada, no way Bell/Rogers make it any easier for them.

          • I would not say many would not be interested is it at the level of Mls but its still a good level.

  7. Can you tell me what happened to PBA bowling on TSN? There used to be a tournament almost every week from about October to April, but now there aren’t any.

  8. The MLS is looking to expand into Canada for sure but they do have some specifications in mind before allowing an expansion team in the biggest is a MLS sized stadium in with Ottawa, winnipeg, and Hamilton will all have. Ottawa if not held up by the stadium Red tape may have already gotten in but the NASL has no problems with giving a city a chance with their blessing for them to expand into the MLS ie Montreal. Ottawa after stadium is built and NASL franchise is under way the process for MLS expansion will be put into motion. Winnipeg and Hamilton are unknown at the time but both venues will be looking for more tenants and soccer would be the way to go. More Canadian teams more TV exposure to a differnent fan base outside the US as all of the three Canadian MLS teams have live TV coverage on TSN family of networks whether home or away, vs a US or Canadian team. More TV exposure more viewers more eyes

    • I would love if Winnipeg got an MLS team. I would have a home pro team to cheer for and go to games. I watch every Chelsea game and huge fan of them(wake up in mornings to see them or skip school for Chelsea games) but there all the way in London England and I will get to see them one day when I travel there but Winnipeg getting an MLS team would be fantastic. I don’t think it will happen for alittle while Forsure cause we don’t even have a team in league below which Edmonton does but if in the Next few years Winnipeg got one even if I don’t think they will that be sweet.

      • It is beginning to happen as the MLS is very interested in placing franchises in Canada. The key being that the Stadiums being built for CFL teams are exactly what the MLS teams are looking for. Ottawa applied but were denied until they had a stadium in place so they will be going th route of the Impact by starting in the NASL and moving to the MLS. The NASL does support their teams moving from tier II NASL to the TIER I North AMERICA MLS. The MLS is currently placing 4 teams in the CONCAF CHampions in North America 3 from the US and one from Canada (provided that there is no NASL upsets) placing a team in Ottawa and Winnipeg i the MLS gives 5 Canadian teams being shown North of the border every game with the TSN faMily of netorks frnech RDS ad TSN2 and RDS2. I am sure the MLS would love to get a second Canadian team into the Concaf from the MLS bringing the MLS to 5 teams

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