News & Notes: WWE Network Adds Providers; Fan 590 Update; Motors TV in Canada?

— The WWE Network is will soon be available to more viewers in Canada. In addition to Rogers and Eastlink, the following providers will add the WWE Channel and have access to the on-demand feature: Telus Satellite (Feb 25), Videotron (Feb 25), Cogeco (Mar 26), and Telus Optik & Shaw in March sometime. Rogers has a ten-year agreement to broadcast all WWE TV and digital content which is why you can’t sign up for it without a TV provider like you can in the US – unless you have a VPN, create a fake US address, and have a Paypal account.

— In an update to this post about The Fan Toronto changing their lineup, the Globe & Mail reports that the new lineup won’t actually be presented as originally announced. Andrew Walker will join Greg Brady in the afternoon slot and not the horrible Dean Blundell in the morning slot. Ryan Pinder of The Fan Calgary is rumoured to be joining Blundell to provide sports knowledge seeing as Blundell doesn’t actually appear to know anything about local sports.

— The dead corpse that is Speed Channel will be removed from all Shaw cable and satellite systems on April 1, the last major Canadian provider that still carried the channel after the US-based network ceased to exist in its original form in August 2013. While TSN and beIN picked up Speed’s major properties such as Formula 1 qualifying, NASCAR practice/qualifying, and various motorbike championships, there is a passionate motor sports fan base who were upset they couldn’t see the niche European and Australia races (among others) Speed offered – see some of the 126 angry comments on this post about the end of Speed. Allegedly,  Fox Sports, owner of Speed in North America, wanted to increase the fees Rogers, Bell, et al. would have to pay for the channel despite the significant decrease in programming, hence the dropping of the channel at the end of each provider’s contact.

That said, Motors TV, Europe’s only dedicated motorsports channel, is expanding into North America and could fill the niche motor sport void left by Speed. Of course, the CRTC would first have to approve the channel for carriage in Canada, and then each provider would have to add the channel to their lineup – something that could take months or years to happen (see: Big Ten Network, MLB Network). With motor racing not as popular here compared to say Australia or Europe, it may be awhile before Speed fans finally get a worthy replacement.

— Hockey Night In Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos was on ESPN’s Olbermann a couple weeks ago and discusses his role as host on HNIC and the unpopularity of the NHL in America among other things. If you take one thing away from the interview, it’s that Keith Olbermann knows much more about hockey that “Strombo” does. Part 1Part 2.

— If you’re a Rogers or Shaw cable subscriber, have Sportsnet One in your lineup, and enjoy reading sports-related articles on your smartphone or tablet, good news — you get a free digital subscription to Sportsnet Magazine. Get it here.

— For rugby fans, Sportsnet World continues to hold the rights to the southern hemisphere’s two major competitions – rugby union’s Super Rugby which kicked off another season this week, and the NRL, Australia’s rugby league domestic competition. beIN has same-day replay rights to the northern hemisphere Six Nations competition which began last weekend.

— With no NFL games for the first time in months, Rogers suits must be happy to see NHL programming take the top six sports in the ratings for week ending February 9. The Raptors see their ratings increase as they continue their excellent form, though some games were beaten out by curling, EPL, and the PGA final round. Top 20 below courtesy Chris Zelkovich.

  1. NHL, Oilers-Leafs/Jackets-Sens/Devils-Habs, Saturday, CBC-Rogers: 2,400,000
  2. NHL, Penguins at Canucks, Saturday, CBC: 880,000
  3. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC-Rogers: 691,000
  4. NHL, Canadiens at Bruins, Sunday, Sportsnet: 631,000
  5. NHL, Leafs at Devils, Friday, Sportsnet Ontario: 452,000
  6. NHL, Hometown Hockey pre-game, Sunday, Sportsnet: 305,000
  7. Curling, Ontario men’s final, Sunday, Sportsnet: 298,000
  8. NBA, Spurs at Raptors, Sunday, TSN: 285,000
  9. PGA, Farmers Open final round, Sunday, Global: 266,000
  10. Soccer, Man U at West Ham, Sunday, TSNL 261,000
  11. NBA, Clippers at Raptors, Friday, Sportsnet One: 225,000
  12. NHL, Penguins at Flames, Friday, Sportsnet West: 200,000
  13. Curling, Manitoba men’s final, Sunday, Sportsnet East/Ontario: 192,000
  14. PGA, Farmers Open third round, Saturday, Global: 178,000
  15. Soccer, Liverpool at Everton, Saturday, Sportsnet: 156,000
  16. NHL, Blackhawks at Blues, Sunday, Sportsnet360: 151,000
  17. Ski jumping, men’s championship, Saturday, CBC: 135,000
  18. Curling, Alberta men’s final, Sunday, Sportsnet West: 127,000
  19. Soccer, Arsenal at Tottenham, Saturday, TSN: 120,000
  20. Figure skating, Skate Canada gala, Friday, TSN: 103,000

LINKS

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6 thoughts on “News & Notes: WWE Network Adds Providers; Fan 590 Update; Motors TV in Canada?

  1. There is already a replacement to the Speed Channel online!

    Available only in Canada and USA (supposedly), Torque.TV is the new home for motorsports fans in North America. Blancpain GT Series, BTCC, DTM, ELMS, ERC, European F3 and V8 Supercars are among the properties of the website. The website is currently free of charge with already more than 1000 hours of programming available.

    Torque.TV will be relaunch this spring and you will need a pay subscription to have access to the website then. I don’t know if we will be able to subscribe without a TV subscription (like Netflix) or if it will need a subscription to CBSSN (like Speed2 was).

    I think it worth mentioning that Torque.TV is back by Roger Werner, the founder of the original Speed Channel (Speedvision).

    • I already freely watch ELMS, Blancpain GT, and a bunch of other sports car racing online on the websites of the individual series or events (or nismo.tv). I just hope Torque.TV does not geo-block them and force us to pay them instead.

      The only thing I have ever paid to see online was the FIA World Endurance Championship site which has their races and qualifying, and last year started requiring a paid subscription after being free the previous year. It also does not include 24 Hours of Le Mans, which had its own site and separate subscription, although I was able to watch it on Speed in 2014.

      Looking at the Motors TV website and program listings, it seems they carry the FIA WEC but not Le Mans, which I assume is on a mainstream sports channel in Europe. I have no idea if Motors TV would be able to show Le Mans in Canada, if and when it ever became available here, but hopefully they would.
      And from what I can see on their Facebook page and Wikipedia, Motors TV is inexplicably not available in HD, still SD only?

      • I already knew that a lot of series is available legally and cost-free, but I would not be surprise if it’s geo-block in 2015. DTM was available in Canada on their YouTube channel in 2013, but in 2014 CBSSN (and therefore Torque.TV) get the broadcast deal for Canada & USA and the races has been geo-block since.

        The 24 Hours of Le Mans rights are exclusive to Eurosport in Europe. With a good VPN, you can subsribe to the Eurosport Player. It cost me around 7$/month. You have all the WEC, WTCC, World Series by Renault and WorldSBK races live and commentary-free with that player.

        I don’t think Motors TV would be able to show Le Mans in Canada because the TV rights are own by FOX Sports. Oh, and yes, Motors TV is effectively SD only, for the moment.

  2. Just as Speed was apparently about to go away for good, it seems Rogers cable has today returned Speed to its former spot in its channel line-up after an absence of almost one year, although it now inexplicably has a different name, Fox Racing (or maybe it’s Fox Sports Racing according to some people — I don’t have Rogers cable, so I can’t check to see what it is).

    • Official FOX Release:

      “FOX Sports today announces the re-branding of SPEED International, its motor sports and automotive network in Canada and the Caribbean, as FOX SPORTS RACING on Friday, Feb. 20, bolstering the high-octane programming lineup to deliver additional motor sports and big-event competition programming for 2015 and beyond.
      “We’ve put the power and influence of the FOX Sports brand behind our commitment to motor sports,” said Eric Shanks, President & COO/Executive Producer of FOX Sports. “With highly anticipated NASCAR and MotoGP seasons about to get underway, and several other popular series up and running, FOX SPORTS RACING is now the hub for a vast and diverse community of passionate race fans.”

      FOX SPORTS RACING returns to Rogers in Canada, beginning Friday, February 20, just in time for a live airing of the season-opening NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race from Daytona International Speedway at 7:30 PM ET. Additionally, FOX SPORTS RACING continues to be available to pay-TV subscribers in the Caribbean.

      With a 2015 schedule that includes 785 events and nearly 900 hours of competition-driven programming, the FOX SPORTS RACING lineup is highlighted by a full season of live NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES racing, practice and qualifying sessions from NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES and NASCAR XFINITY SERIES events; the MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP and its support series MOTO2 and MOTO3; MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS; TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP; ARCA RACING SERIES; and the inaugural season of the FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP, which makes its North American debut on March 14 in Miami.

      FOX SPORTS RACING also is home to STREET LEAGUE SKATEBOARDING, BURTON SNOWBOARDING, THE JOCKEY CLUB and the MASTERS AGILITY CHAMPIONSHIP AT WESTMINSTER.

      For a look at the complete FOX SPORTS RACING programming lineup, please visit: http://www.FOXSportsRacing.com.”

      • Nothing has changed except the name. Maybe they’ve added skateboarding, snowboarding, ( and dog agility?) mentioned in the second last paragraph, to now go along with the old reruns of ‘R U Faster Than A Redneck?’
        I see nothing else different about it, and no “additional” racing at all in spite of what the ridiculous press release claims. It is still not a worthwhile channel IMO.
        Whatever it was that caused Rogers to suddenly pick up the channel again had nothing to do with the programming content, because it has not changed.

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