Speed Channel Returns To Canada Re-Branded as Fox Sports Racing

Rogers customers began noticing on Thursday that a new channel had appeared in place of the empty slot that was once filled by Speed, the 24-hour motor sports network that was removed one-by-one by Canadian providers from our systems as the parent version in the U.S. became extinct. In its place was a channel that looked remarkably similar to Speed, but instead was named Fox Sports Racing. Confirmation came later that night from Fox Sports that Fox Sports Racing was indeed as re-brand of Speed International.

Fox Sports on Thursday announced the re-branding of SPEED International, its motor sports and automotive network in Canada and the Caribbean, as FOX Sports Racing. The new network will be on the air Friday and will bolster the high-octane programming lineup to deliver additional motor sports and big-event competition programming for 2015 and beyond.

FOX Sports Racing returns to Rogers in Canada just in time for a live airing of Friday’s season-opening NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Daytona International Speedway at 7:30 p.m. 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.

At this time, it appears Fox Sports Racing is only available to Rogers customers according to the press release above and online forums. I contacted Bell support and they seemed to know nothing about the channel. Rogers was one of the first providers to drop Speed, allegedly due to Fox Sports increasing the price it wanted for the channel despite the channel being stripped of its programming after the US version was killed.

There is nothing new really here to see other than a different shade of lipstick on a watered-down pig. Fox Sports Racing will carry all the same niche motor sports programming Speed carried and features the same crappy commercials and the same crappy realty programming. Live programming includes:

  • NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
  • NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Practice and qualifying)
  • NASCAR Xfinity Series (Practice and qualifying)
  • Monster Energy Supercross
  • ARCA Racing Series
  • ASMOIL A Renacross
  • TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
  • MotoGP
  • FIA Formula E Championship
  • Jockey Club Racing Tour
  • Masters At Westminster
  • Street League Skateboarding
  • Burton Snowboarding Events

The only interesting note is whether Fox Sports Racing will be blacked out when TSN is showing the same programming. For instance, next Friday afternoon TSN will be broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying, as is FS Racing. It wouldn’t be the first time the channel would be blacked out, as it regularly occurred during Formula 1 coverage when Speed held the U.S. rights.

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2012 NASCAR on TSN Schedule

TSN has released their 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series TV schedules. TSN and TSN2 will combine to broadcast every NASCAR race live in 2012. TSN will have exclusive coverage of more than half of these races, as coverage airs on ESPN and TNT in the US. Here is there press release.

From green flag to checkered flag, TSN and TSN2 hit the track once again with coverage of every single race from the 2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES and 2012 NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES, including live coverage of NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race, the DAYTONA 500.

TSN and TSN2’s complete package of NASCAR SPRINT CUP and NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES races kicks off with live coverage of the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on TSN2.

Along with the DAYTONA 500, highlights of TSN and TSN2’s 2012 NASCAR schedule include the SPRINT CUP: GATORADE DUEL AT DAYTONA on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. ET on TSN2, which determines the starting grid for Sunday’s championship race, and the NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES’ annual stop in Montreal on Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. ET on TSN.

DAYTONA 500
Known as “The Great American Race,” the DAYTONA 500 features 43 of the best stock car drivers in the world competing for the Harley J. Earl Trophy. TSN2 has live coverage of NASCAR’s premiere event on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 12 noon ET.

Chris Myers hosts coverage of the DAYTONA 500 alongside brothers and past DAYTONA 500 champs Darrell and Michael Waltrip from Daytona International Speedway. Race announcer Mike Joy calls the lap-by-lap action with analysis from Darrell Waltrip and former champion crew chief Larry McReynolds. Analyst and former championship-winning crew chief Jeff Hammond returns to cover the action in the garages and on pit road with fellow pit road reporters Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Matt Yocum and Krista Voda.

Continue after the break for the 2012 NASCAR Canadian TV schedule.

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Tying Up Some Loose Ends

It’s been a busy week for me, so here is the best of what I haven’t had the chance to write about this week.

One Year Since Vancouver

Saturday, February 12, marks exactly 365 days since the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Both CBC and CTV will be airing Olympic-related programming on the one year anniversary of the Games.

First on Friday at 9:00pm local CBC’s The Fifth Estate will take a look at the tragic event of the 2010 Games, the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. As many know the accident happened in luge training on the day of the Opening Ceremony last year. The Fifth Estate will shed light on some documents that got overlooked by the media during the hype of the competition at the Olympics last year. VANOC head John Furlong was interviewed by the CBC and will appear on the program. The report will also look into both VANOC’s and the FIL’s (Federation Internationale Luge) concerns that the track was too fast and may cause series injury, or worse, to even the best sliders in the world.

Then on Saturday CTV will look at some of the more joyous moments of the 2010 Olympics in a documentary special 17 Days. This documentary will offer a unique behind the scenes look at CTV’s Olympic broadcasts from last year. Highlights of the program include a discussion with producers on how to handle the Kumaritashvili death, Alexandre Bilodeau’s tour of the International Broadcasting Centre after winning Canada’s first gold on home soil (I’m guessing this won’t include the embarrassing moment of CTV’s coverage when Darren Dutchyshen brought champagne to an interview, not realizing that Bilodeau’s family doesn’t drink), a look at James Duthie’s busy days when he hosted Olympic Daytime in the morning and early afternoon, then headed over to Canada Hockey Place to prepare to be the studio host for Canada’s hockey games in the evening, and a reunion of all of Canada’s Olympic medalists on the CTV Olympics set. This seems like a special that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to the public, but for an Olympics and media junkie like me, it should be a great special to watch. 17 Days will air on Saturday February 12 at 7:00pm local on CTV.

Finally on Sunday evening CTV will air a two hour look back at the 2010 Olympics at 7:00pm local, 9:00pm in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The special will be a mix of highlights, never seen interviews, stories from the athletes and updates on how the athletes are doing one year later. Brian Williams, James Duthie and Lisa LaFlamme will host from Vancouver, with Jennifer Hedger also pitching in from Whistler. Athletes featured will include Alexandre Bilodeau, Jon Montgomery, Mellisa Hollingsworth, Charles Hamlen and Mariane St.-Gelais, Joannie Rochette and Lauren Woolstencroft. CTV will also have interviews with John Furlong and Wayne Gretzky. While all of this excites me, I am most looking forward to two video essays that will be presented. The first will start the program, and while no author has been announced, one can assume it will be Stephen Brunt who had this beautiful piece to conclude CTV’s 2010 coverage. Then to finish the program the soon-retired CTV News anchor Lloyd Robertson will offer his thoughts on the Olympics and how they changed Canada.

NASCAR Returns to TSN

TSN and TSN2 will once again broadcast every NASCAR Spring Cup and Nationwide Series race in Canada in 2011. Coverage begins with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Saturday night at 8:00pm ET on TSN. The highlight of the Sprint Cup schedule is the Daytona 500 on Sunday February 20 at 12:00pm ET on TSN. Coverage will come from Fox and Chris Myers will host with Jeff Hammond as the pre-race studio analyst. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will call the race, with Dick Berggren Matt Yocum, Steve Byrnes and Krista Voda reporting from the pits. The highlight on the Nationwide Series schedule here in Canada is the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Saturday August 20. You can see the full Sprint Cup Series Canadian schedule here and the full Nationwide Series Canadian TV schedule here.

Other News

  • Major League Soccer released their regular season schedule today, including ESPN2’s national TV schedule in the United States. No mention was made of coverage on Canadian TV, so we still wait for official details of TSN’s MLS TV deal.
  • Hockey Day in Canada on CBC is this Saturday. Check back soon for a full schedule.