Circle your calendars, people!! Monday morning at 10:30am ET, TSN will go from having two national channels to five in a bid to remain the number one sports network in Canada in light of losing the national NHL rights to Rogers. Announced back in May, TSN and TSN2 will become TSN 1 through 5 as three additional channels come online just in time to broadcast the final tennis major of the year, the US Open from Flushing Meadows in New York. All channels will be available on TSN.ca and the TSN GO app.
Four of the five TSN’s will be used as regional feeds for NHL games this season, doing away with alternate channels such as TSN-Jets and TSN-Sens which were only available in that particular market. Similar to how Sportsnet’s channels are broken down by region, TSN will be similar, as follows:
TSN 1 — BC, Yukon, (Update: Alberta) (Pacific)
TSN 2 — National
TSN 3 —
Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut (West)
TSN 4 — Leafs viewing area (Most of Ontario)
TSN 5 — Eastern Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic (East)
TSN haven’t stated outright this is how it structured, but based on the release of their regional games for the Senators, Leafs and Jets, as well as other information, it should follow this pattern. I don’t know at all the way most cable/satellite TV packages work across the country, but if regular/current TSN is part of the basic package, that will switch to the TSN associated with your region. For example, regular TSN in Montreal will become TSN 5 as the basic/default TSN channel. At times, TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 will be showing the same programming for big events in order to reach the maximum number of viewers possibly (those with only basic cable).
The following providers have signed on to have all five networks available to customers (Videotron seems to be the biggest name that is missing):
- Bell Fibe / Satellite
- Cogeco Cable
- FibreOP TV (Bell Aliant)
- Shaw Direct
- Source Cable
- TELUS Optik TV
UPDATE: Channels listings for each provider can be found here.
The TSN presser about the new channels touts “more live game coverage, more choice of games/events taking place at the same time, expanded coverage of marquee live events, and effective scheduling of TSN studio programming”. This is noticeable from day one. TSN will dedicate four channels (TSN 1, 3, 4, 5) to showing four different feeds from the US Open (a more detailed US Open post to come later this weekend). Two feeds will feature dedicated court coverage, another will be ESPN’s feed featuring interviews and court-to-court coverage (jumping around to certain matches) and the fourth will also be court-to-court coverage (possibly the feed from the Tennis Channel).
Here is what the first week looks like as per my Bell guide:
- Four different feeds for US Open coverage on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 all day and night.
- EPL game on TSN 2 at 3pm ET.
- Off The Record, Pardon the Interruption, Sportscentre from 5pm to 7pm ET on TSN 2.
- Monday Night Baseball on TSN 2 at 7pm ET.
- Sportscentre at 11pm ET on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 and loops overnight. Random/replay programming on TSN 2.
Tuesday and Wednesday
- US Open coverage on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5 all day and night.
- TSN 2 canned programming during day. OTR, PTI, SC and studio programming run during afternoon and evening.
- Same as above but instead we get something new: Two NCAA football games on Thursday night. College football fans rejoice! Wake vs. Louisiana-Monroe at 7pm on TSN 2 (from ESPN U). Boise State vs. Mississippi at 8pm ET on TSN 3 (from ESPN).
- Sportscentre loops in the morning on 1, 3-5, TSN 2 has Aussie Rules football live.
- US Open coverage as above but with something new: 2:30pm ET on TSN 2 is NASCAR Sprint Cup practice. Speed Channel (RIP) fans rejoice!
- Friday night US Open coverage goes to only TSN 2 while the other channels show SC at 6pm followed by CFL.
- NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying shown on delay at 11:30pm ET on TSN 4.
- Three different EPL games on TSN 1, 3, 4 in the morning. No more online-only game and all five 10am EPL games will be on Canadian TV. Soccer fans rejoice!
- ESPN College Gameday on TSN 2. Sportscentre loop on TSN 5.
- Into the afternoon, US Open on TSN 2, 4, 5. NCAA football double-header on TSN 2 and 3. That’s four games. NCAA fans are foaming at the mouth at this stage.
- Saturday night: US Open on TSN 1, 4 & 5, NCAA on TSN 3, NASCAR on TSN 2 and MLS late on TSN 1 (Vancouver in action, hence the game on the “Pacific” feed).
- Both early EPL games: Tottenham vs. Liverpool on TSN 1 & 4, Aston Villa vs. Hull on TSN 3 & 5. SC loop on TSN 2.
- US Open features on all five channels at 11am, with TSN 5 breaking away in the afternoon for NASCAR Canadian Truck series.
- CFL matchup Winnipeg vs. Saskatchewan at 4pm ET on TSN 1, 3, 4, 5; US Open coverage continues only on TSN2.
- Sunday night has NASCAR on TSN 1 & 5, US Open on TSN 2 & 4, and Sunday Night Baseball on TSN 3.
So there we have it. More US Open than ever before, more EPL than before, more college football and more NASCAR, and that’s just week one. Seems safe to say this will be nothing like the way Sportsnet uses their four regional channels, showing the same programming 95% of the time. If you only have one TSN channel on your cable package, prepare to miss out a lot of sporting action in the future (then again, that’s the point right? To get more people to subscribe to a higher-tiered package to get all five channels).
For those on Bell, the new channels will be on channels 1400 through 1404.