Sportsnet Secures FA Cup Contract Through 2018

Sportsnet has announced a new broadcast deal to show the FA Cup through 2018. The new deal comes after recent announcements of Champions League, Europa League and World Cup qualifying on Sportsnet for the coming years. This new deal opens the door for matches to air on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One, not just Sportsnet World. This isn’t confirmed though.

Here is Sportsnet’s press release.

Sportsnet today announced it has reached a six-year multiplatform extension for the FA Cup through the 2017-18 season, maintaining the network’s hold as Canada’s premier destination for the world’s biggest soccer events.

The new deal delivers multimedia rights for up to 59 matches per year on television, online and mobile. The FA Cup is England’s most historic club competition, highlighted by some of the world’s best club teams including Manchester United and Arsenal.

Today’s announcement comes on the eve of the highly-anticipated 2012 FA Cup Final featuring Chelsea vs. Liverpool, airing this Saturday, May 5 on Sportsnet World. The action gets underway with the pre-game show at 11:15 a.m. ET / 8:15 a.m. PT.

Sportsnet’s broadcast rights for the FA Cup dates back to 2009.

“Soccer’s rapid popularity in Canada has developed a thirst for premier soccer events including the FA Cup tournament and the pageantry of the Cup Final,” said Navaid Mansuri, Vice-President of Finance & Sports Programming, Rogers Media. “The new agreement fuels fans with premium soccer content across our multiple platforms and supports Sportsnet’s already strong stable of best-in-class soccer properties.”

Hot on the heels of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers acquisition announced earlier this week, today’s announcement complements Sportsnet’s robust lineup of recent multiplatform rights agreements for soccer including the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Champions League.

2012 FA Cup: 4th Round Broadcast Schedule

The fourth round of this year’s FA Cup begins this evening. Sportsnet World are set to show 8 matches this weekend, including 6 live. The highlight of the weekend is Liverpool vs. Manchester United on Saturday morning. While it isn’t confirmed, the expectation is that Martin Tyler and Stewart Robson will be in the commentary box for that one. Here is the complete TV schedule.

Friday 1/27, 2:40pm – Watford vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday 1/28, 7:40am – Liverpool vs. Manchester United
Saturday 1/28, 9:55am – Derby County vs. Stoke City
Saturday 1/28, 12:10pm – Brighton & Hove vs. Newcastle United
Saturday 1/28, 2:15pm – Queen’s Park Rangers vs. Chelsea (TD)
Saturday 1/28, 4:00pm – Leicester City vs. Swindon Town (TD)
Sunday 1/29, 8:25am – Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough
Sunday 1/29, 10:55am – Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

2012 FA Cup: 3rd Round Broadcast Schedule

The oldest, and one of the most prestigious, football competitions in the world returns this weekend as Sportsnet World broadcasts Canadian coverage of the 3rd round of the FA Cup. All 20 Premier League clubs and all 24 Championship clubs, join the winners of the 2nd round matches in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Sportsnet World will broadcast 6 live games this weekend, as well as 2 more on tape delay. Here is Sportsnet World’s complete broadcast schedule for the 3rd round.

Saturday 1/7, 7:25am – Birmingham City vs. Wolves
Saturday 1/7, 9:55am – Swindon Town vs. Wigan Athletic
Saturday 1/7, 12:25pm – Bristol Rovers vs. Aston Villa
Saturday 1/7, 8:45pm – Fleetwood Town vs. Blackpool (TD)
Saturday 1/7, 10:30pm – Macclesfield Town vs. Bolton (TD)
Sunday 1/8, 7:55am – Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Sunday 1/8, 10:25am – Peterborough United vs. Sunderland

Premier League clubs who were toppled by lower-league sides in the 3rd round last year included Newcastle United and Sunderland.

Carling Cup

Sportsnet World will also broadcast the first legs of the Carling Cup semifinals next week. In one semifinal Championship sides Crystal Palace and Cardiff City meet, while in the other semifinal Premier League powerhouses Manchester City and Liverpool meet. Sportsnet World will show one match live, and the other on delay. Here is the schedule.

Tuesday 1/10, 2:55pm – Crystal Palace vs. Cardiff City, leg 1
Wednesday 1/11, 5:00pm – Manchester City vs. Liverpool, leg 1 (TD)

Both the Manchester Derby and Man City vs. Liverpool are must-watch games for me. What about everyone else?

FA Cup Final: Saturday on Setanta

I’ll be in press release mode for the rest of the week because of a death in my family. I can’t even guarantee press releases at any given time. Setanta has live coverage of the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Stoke City on Saturday morning.

Manchester City and Stoke City hope to end FA Cup droughts when they meet at Wembley Stadium Saturday, May 14 at 9:45 a.m. ET/ 6:45 a.m. PT live on Setanta Sports.

Stoke is in foreign territory, making their first ever FA Cup final appearance. The Potters cruised into the final with a dominating 5-0 performance in their semi final with Bolton Wanderers. The win marked the fourth time in five matches that Stoke has blanked their opposition in FA Cup play this season. The club have conceded just a single goal which came in a 2-1 sixth round win over West Ham.

Man City have been equally dominant in their five FA Cup matches this season. The club capped off a run to their first final since 1981 with a 1-0 Manchester derby win over United. Like Stoke, Manchester City also held their opposition without a goal in four of their five matches.

City have been to eight FA Cup finals winning exactly half. Their last Cup win came in 1969 when a first-half goal by Neil Young held up in a 1-0 win over Leicester City

The Citizens last trip to the final was notable in that it produced the first ever FA Cup final replay at Wembley. City and Tottenham Hotspur played to a 1-1 draw the first time out before Spurs took the replay by a 3-2 score. That match was considered one of the greatest ever played at Wembley Stadium and in fact the winning goal by Ricky Villa was voted Wembley goal of the century in 2001.

Manchester Derby and El Classico Today

Today is a huge day if you are a soccer fan, no matter where you live. This afternoon Manchester United takes on Manchester City in a FA Cup semifinal matchup. Following that the greatest rivalry in the world is re-newed for the first of four meetings in the next month as Barcelona takes on Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid. Here is the Canadian TV information for the two games.

The day kicks off with Manchester City vs. Manchester United in the first FA Cup semifinal from Wembley Stadium in London. Coverage begins with pre-game coverage from 12:00pm ET on Setanta Sports. Manchester United have dominated City of late, with City only managing one win and one draw from the last nine matches between the pair.  United has also dominated their inner-city rivals in FA Cup history winning 11 titles to City’s 4. Setanta Canada will be picking up the Setanta Ireland feed with commentary from Des Curran. This will be the second game of a Saturday doubleheader for Setanta Sports, they will have West Bromwich Albion-Chelsea as a lead-in from 9:15am ET. They will use Setanta Ireland’s coverage of that game too, with commentary from Connor Morris and David Speedy. How there are co-commentators on a Premier League game, but not an FA Cup semifinal is beyond me.

Then from 3:00pm ET GolTV Canada has pre-game coverage of Real Madrid vs. Barcelona. Kick-off for that game is at 4:00pm ET. Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson will call that game. It is the first of four meetings over the next few weeks for the rivals. They will also meet on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey Final. That game can also be seen on GolTV Canada, with commentary again from Schoen and Hudson. Coverage on Wednesday starts from 2:30pm ET, with kickoff 3:30pm ET. There will also be a 90 minute post-game show for the Copa del Rey Final. Real Madrid and Barcelona will also meet twice in the UEFA Champions League semi finals, beginning in a week and a half’s time.

FA Cup Quarterfinals: This Weekend

This weekend all four quarterfinals will be played in England’s top club knockout competition, the FA Cup. Setanta Sports will present live coverage in Canada. The most intriguing of the matchups comes on Saturday afternoon as Manchester United, who sit top of the Premier League, take on Arsenal who are just behind in second. Arsenal are out of the Champions League and recently lost the League Cup final to Birmingham City, so you know they will be hungry to get a big win and stay alive in the FA Cup. Meanwhile Manchester United are coming off losses to Chelsea last week and Liverpool on the weekend. You have to wonder if they might get caught looking ahead to a must-win in the Champions League against Marseille midweek.

Another intriguing matchup features League Cup winners Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers. Birmingham already pulled off the upset of Arsenal to win the League Cup, can they pull the miracle Cup double? On Sunday West Ham United visits Stoke City and the lone non-Premier League side remaining in the competition, Reading, travels to the City of Manchester Stadium where they will be in tough against Manchester City.

The full schedule is:
Saturday 3/12, 7:45am – Birmingham City vs. Bolton Wanderers
Saturday 3/12, 12:00pm – Manchester United vs. Arsenal
Sunday 3/13, 9:30am – Stoke City vs. West Ham United
Sunday 3/13, 12:45pm – Manchester City vs. Reading

FA Cup: This Weekend on Setanta

Setanta Sports will continue to broadcast the 2010-11 FA Cup in Canada this weekend with a 4th round replay and 5th round matches. Most coverage will be in high defination and coverage will come from Setanta Sports Ireland for many matches. Setanta will pick up the international feed for the other games. Here is the complete schedule. All matches 5th round unless otherwise noted and all times ET.

Saturday February 19
7:30am – Chelsea vs. Everton (4th round replay; HD)
9:30am – Birmingham City vs. Sheffield Wednesday*
12:15pm – Manchester United vs. Crawley City (HD)
4:00pm – Stoke City vs. Brighton & Hove

Sunday February 20
9:00am – Manchester City vs. Notts County (4th round replay; HD)*
11:30am – Leyton Orient vs. Arsenal (HD)
1:30pm – Fulham vs. Bolton Wanderers

Monday February 21
3:00pm – West Ham United vs. Burnley (HD)

*Feed will come from Setanta Sports Ireland, which includes a full pre/half/post game studio presentation.

As a Manchester United supporter, I am really looking forward to their game against Crawley City, who play in the Blue Square Premier League (the highest non-Football League division). This is a true battle of the giants against a small team without top players.

Sports on TV: Week in Review

Sorry everyone, I just haven’t had the time to post what I’ve wanted to post over the past ten days. So, here is everything I have wanted to write over the past ten days.

  • ESPN’s coverage of the BCS football games was great. A lot of people like to complain about ESPN, but I think most can agree that they do a great job at college football. They gave the games a big game feel, without overhyping them (during the broadcast at least, I’m sure they were overhyped on SportsCenter).
  • TSN does get credit for airing all five games between the main network and TSN2; however, they decided that going to SportsCentre at 12:20 was more important than sticking around for the the BCS trophy presentation. This would be like not showing the Stanley Cup, Grey Cup, Super Bowl, World Series or World Cup trophy presentation. Everyone knows that I usually think TSN does a great job at almost everything, but they simply screwed this up. It is unacceptable.
  • Setanta Sports picked up the Setanta Ireland feed for three FA Cup games last weekend. They deserve credit for this because it resulted in Canadian viewers getting pre and post game studio coverage for these three games. I think that many agree that it would be nice if Setanta picked up the Setanta Ireland feed for the Saturday 10am ET Premier League games.
  • I haven’t  really taken the time to talk about TSN’s coverage of the World Juniors. As usual I thought it was great; overhyped, but great. Gord Miller does his best work at the World Juniors and I believe that Pierre McGuire is the best hockey analyst around. Ryan Rishaug has really grown as a rinkside reporter over the past year covering big events like the World Juniors (in 2010 and 2011) and hockey at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. TSN’s new scorebar looks like a square version of CTV’s Olympic hockey scorebar, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago. TSN has yet to bring this graphic into their NHL broadcasts, so I’m still betting that we see a completely new TSN graphics package in April.
  • The Australian Open begins tomorrow on TSN2, with overnight and early morning coverage every day over the next two weeks on TSN and TSN2. TSN will once again be picking up ESPN’s coverage, and it is expected that ESPN will introduce a new tennis graphics package for this tournament, to fall in line with their football, basketball and baseball graphics.
  • TSN2 is airing NCAA hoops games every Saturday afternoon again this season. Conferences highlighted include the Big East, ACC and Big 12 on most Saturdays. They had a doubleheader last week, will have a singleheader today and a tripleheader next week. There should be 2-3 games every Saturday on TSN2.
  • Sportsnet is also airing CHL games again this season, culminating with the Memorial Cup in May. There is just something about all Sportsnet broadcasts, including the Memorial Cup, that makes them seem unimportant. This is especially true of regular season CHL games where games are produced in 4:3 SD. I understand that there aren’t enough HD trucks in Canada to cover all NHL teams, the Raptors and the CHL, but there is no excuse to not produce coverage in 16:9 SD at least. I’m trying to remember the last time that I saw any TSN produced (or US produced) coverage in 4:3.

New Year’s Sports Ratings

Tuesday 1/4, Red Wings @ Oilers on TSN: 517, 000

World Juniors
Sunday 1/2, Canada vs. Switzerland on TSN: 3.1 million
Monday 1/3, Sweden vs. Russia on TSN: 1.25 million
Monday 1/3, Canada vs. USA on TSN: 6.03 million
Wednesday 1/5, USA vs. Sweden on TSN: ~1 million
Wednesday 1/5, Canada vs. Russia on TSN: 6.23 million

Unfortunately I still haven’t came across numbers for the Winter Classic on CBC or last weekend’s NFL playoff games on CTV. If anyone has, let me know.

FA Cup – Third Round TV Schedule

The 3rd Round of the FA Cup is coming up next weekend. This is the first round that features teams from the Championship and Premier League. All games will be broadcast on Setanta. Matchups include Leeds United playing Arsenal and Manchester United playing Liverpool. Here is the schedule (all times ET)

Saturday January 8
7:00am – Arsenal vs. Leeds United (Live)
9:45am – Scunthorpe United vs. Everton (Live)
12:25pm – Stevenage vs. Newcastle United (Live)
6:15pm – Sheffield United vs. Aston Villa (tape delay)
8:00pm – Burton Albion vs. Middlesbrough (tape delay)

Sunday January 9
8:00am – Manchester United vs. Liverpool (Live)
10:55am – Leicester City vs. Manchester City (Live)

Monday January 10
2:55pm – Crawley Town vs. Derby County (Live)