Fox Sports 1 is launching in the United States today, replacing Speed on the dial on most US cable and satellite providers. This has caused confusion among Canadians wondering if we will receive Fox Sports 1 instead of Speed as well. So, I’ve pulled together a list of questions people have asked me over the past few weeks into this post. I hope it clears everything up a bit. I have received official word from media relations at Fox Sports/Speed on this, so these are not just guesses. If you have any other questions, ask away in the comments and I’ll update this post to include them.
First here is a rundown of the official word I’ve heard from Fox Sports/Speed on the situation.
Canada, among other countries, will continue to get Speed after Fox Sports 1 launches in the United States. It will still be called Speed and carry the same live programming. This live programming will come from Fox Sports 1 in the States.
Oh, and please don’t ask a question without reading this first. Mostly everything should be covered.
Q: Will Fox Sports 1 be available in Canada?
A: No. Fox Sports 1 is not regulated for carriage in Canada, similar to other general interest sports channels such as ESPN and NBC Sports Network.
Q: Will Speed still be available in Canada?
A: Yes. Speed will continue relatively unchanged in Canada. In the US most of Speed’s live NASCAR, Moto GP, Rolex Sports Car Series, Whelen Modified Tour, V8 Supercars and Barrett-Jackson Auctions. This coverage will continue to air in Canada on Speed. NASCAR Race Hub, which continues on Fox Sports 1, will also continue to air on Speed (nightly at 6pm ET). As will NASCAR Raceday and Victory Lane. Some other studio programming including Wind Tunnel and Speed Center are no longer produced, so they won’t air on Speed.
Q: Why isn’t Fox Sports 1 available?
A: There are a few reasons. It isn’t licensed for Canadian carriage. Speed’s license specifically states that it is a motorsports channel. It cannot air other sports because then it would no longer be a niche channel and it would compete with TSN and Sportsnet. This goes against CRTC regulation which prohibit a US-owned specialty channel from directly competing with a Canadian-owned specialty channel.
Q: But when The Nashville Network re-branded as Spike it was still available?
This is a common question, and a good one. TNN completely changed its style of programming when it rebranded as Spike, and almost was removed from the CRTC’s list of approved channels because of this. The difference here is Fox Sports 1 is NOT a rebrand of Speed, but a completely new channel. Speed is shutting down, Fox Sports 1 is replacing it. Any American providers who want to carry Fox Sports 1 have to negotiate a new contract, even if they already have an existing contract for Speed. The same applies for Canada, where in order for Fox Sports 1 to be carried here, a Canadian provider would have to apply to the CRTC asking for it.
Q: I want to see Fox Sports 1 programming, why is the CRTC denying me this right?
Most of FS1’s programming is available in Canada. In fact more of FS1’s programming will be available in Canada than ESPN. All of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches will air on Sportsnet. Every UFC fight, as well as other UFC programs and The Ultimate Fighter will air on Sportsnet 360. As previously mentioned motorsports programming will still air on Speed. Some college football coverage (featuring Pac-12 and Big 12) will air on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE.
Those are the generic commonly asked questions I’ve thrown together. Here are some specific ones from readers.
Q: Seems Rogers or Bell would be smart enough to include FS1 in some package, given the obvious demand?
No because it is not approved for carriage here. I’m not even sure the demand would be that great if fans realised that FS1 programming would mostly be blacked out due to Canadian broadcasters (usually Sportsnet) owning exclusive rights here (similar to Thursday Night Football on NFL Network or F1 on Speed). Except for Fox Sports Live (Jay & Dan’s new show), which there is demand for in Canada, FS1 isn’t providing a lot of programming that isn’t otherwise available in Canada.
Q: How much college football that would be on FS1 will end up on SN360?
I don’t have an exact answer on this yet, but Sportsnet will probably have a schedule available sometime in the next couple weeks, so check back then.
Q: When can I see Jay and Dan on Canadian TV again?
No Canadian network has released any plans to show Fox Sports Live (Jay and Dan’s new show). However, the pair have released a new (video) podcast that is available in Canada. You can watch it here. In the podcast Dan offered that he heard “it might happen”, referring to the new show airing here. However, a bunch of their clips will get uploaded to YouTube and FoxSportsLive.com.
Q: My cable/satellite on-screen guide says something different than you?
On-screen guides are done by a independent third party (neither Speed nor the cable companies). There are often mistakes, especially in a situation such as this.