Sunday, Monday & Wednesday Night MLB on TSN in 2015

TSN will show over 80 games this upcoming MLB season with ESPN’s Sunday, Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball across their five feeds and will also show ESPN’s flagship show Baseball Tonight. It begins tonight with Baseball Tonight at 7pm ET followed by the St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs at 8pm ET beginning the 2015 season. Monday will see three games back-to-back as part of MLB Opening Day.

Sunday Night Baseball has the usual crew of Dan Shulman, John Kruk and Curt Schilling. Monday Night Baseball has Dave O’Brien on play-by-play, Aaron Boone as full-time analyst, and in the first half of the season Mark Mulder with Dallas Braden in the second half. Wednesday Night Baseball will see Jon Sciambi and Rick Sutcliffe return.

TSN Radio 1290 Winnipeg has all Blue Jays games during the year while Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts can be heard across the TSN Radio network as well as select Blue Jays matchups, MLB playoff games and the World Series.

Below is the TSN on MLB schedule thus far.

tsn mlb 2015

Australian GP This Weekend Begins 2015 Formula 1 Season on TSN & RDS

The 2015 Formula 1 kicks off this weekend and TSN continues to have coverage of every practice, qualifying and race this season. As usual, they will take the feed from UK broadcasters BBC or Sky Sports. Disappointedly, as usual, TSN will provide no additional coverage for the Canadian Grand Prix this season as heaven forbid they should care about a sport despite it not having a Canadian in it. NBC will have four races on their regular channel during the season.

RDS, as usual, will have full coverage of the Canadian GP and broadcast every qualifying session and race of the season on their main channel.

Below is the full schedule for the season. All times are Eastern and times/channels subject to change.
Continue reading

Major League Soccer 2015 Canadian Schedule

Fans (and broadcasters) of MLS had reason to worry that the 2015 season – the league’s 20th – wouldn’t go ahead beginning this weekend due to the players not yet signing a new collective bargaining agreement with team owners. Relief came late last night though with the MLS officially announcing a new CBA and Friday night’s season opening game set to go ahead as scheduled.

TSN and Sportsnet will have full coverage of Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps while TSN will broadcast select Montreal Impact matches. On the French-language side, TVA Sports and RDS will cover the Impact, while RDS has select Toronto FC and Whitecaps games.

TSN has rights to all-American matchups as well as the MLS playoffs and all-star game. Disappointingly, TSN is only showing the late game as part of the triple-header this Sunday due to the Brier finals. Each week thereafter, ESPN and Fox Sports in the U.S. broadcast a double-header every Sunday afternoon/evening and based on the schedule has TSN released so far, there seems to be little to no coverage of these games with only seven weeks of the season having both games broadcasted. So much for five feeds. I highly recommend MLS Live if you’re looking to view non-Canadian games, only $75 for the season.

TORONTO FC

TSN will be home to 23 TFC games this season with the other 11 featured on Sportsnet. TSN’s main commentating team will be Luke Wileman and Jason deVos in the booth with Kristian Jack reporting from the sidelines. Vic Rauter, Nigel Reed, Greg Sutton, and Kara Lang will also contribute to the telecast during the season. A majority of TSN’s games will be broadcast across the four main TSN feeds (TSN1/3/4/5), though a couple will be on TSN2 or a couple of the four regional feeds. All but one of Sportsnet’s 11 broadcasts will be on SN360 and features Gerry Dobson and Paul Dolan commentating. RDS will cover 12 regular season games.

VANCOUVER WHITECAPS

TSN has exclusive national coverage of the Whitecaps’ season with 11 matches on TSN2 and the remaining majority on either TSN1 or all four feeds. Luke Wileman and Jason deVos will once again call the majority of Whitecaps matches on TSN with support on the sideline from Perry Solkowski. On the radio side, Peter Schaad and David Norman will have the call on TSN Radio 1410 Vancouver. RDS will broadcast 13 regular season games.

MONTREAL IMPACT

TVA Sports will show 21 games this season across their two networks while RDS picks up 13 games. TVA broadcasts will be Frédéric Lord calling the action while on RDS, Claudine Douville returns for the play-by-play with Jean Gounelle providing colour. Michel Y. Lacroix and François-Etienne Corbin will split duties as hosts, and analysts Patrick Leduc and Olivier Brett will round up the team. TSN will have 13 English-language broadcasts.

For individual games for each team, please visit the schedule linked below:

Toronto FC | Vancouver Whitecaps | Montreal Impact

— Dan | @SportsOnCdnTV

For a New Era, NHL Broadcasts Feel Very Familiar

When Rogers purchased NHL televisions rights for the next 12 seasons last November, everything was promised to be different. As Sportsnet rolled out its new flagship broadcasts, Wednesday Night Hockey, a reinvigorated Hockey Night in Canada and Hometown Hockey over the past week, the broadcasts felt remarkably similar to what we have watched on Sportsnet’s Hockey Central, HNIC and TSN in the past.

On Wednesday, Sportsnet signed on to show their first Wednesday Night Hockey telecast. In the studio were Hockey Central stalwarts Darren Millard, Doug MacLean, Nick Kypreos, joined by new recruit and former TSN analyst Darren Pang. While the studio itself was large, expansive and impressive, the on-air talent was the same as many regional broadcasts last season. But one can hardly really expect Sportsnet to compete with TSN’s James Duthie, Bob McKenzie and Aaron Ward regardless of how hard they try. What was more impressive, however, was Sportsnet in-game production. It felt very similar to a CBC broadcast, with CBC’s former lead broadcast crew of Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson, Glenn Healy and reporter Scott Oake still intact. The Canadiens-Leafs matchup gave us our first glimpse of the best innovation Sportsnet has offered thus far, the sky cam they installed at the ACC.

Something that I thought worked better than the Wednesday night broadcast was the debut of Hockey Night in Canada. Having the games spread out across CBC, City, Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet One was fantastic. Almost too much to keep track of. George Stroumboulopoulos exceeded my expectations as the new host. My only complaint is he seemed rushed at times during Sportsnet’s fast-paced pregame show. It was strange seeing Sportsnet microphone flags on CBC, but the broadcasts still felt very-CBC for a Sportsnet-produced broadcast. Again, Hughson, Simpson, Healy and Oake were at the helm in the primary 7:00pm ET broadcast on the CBC. Elsewhere former CBC personalities were equally well represented. Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey were in St. Louis, Bob Cole and Greg Millen were in Tampa Bay, Garry Galley and reporter David Amber was in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere on Saturday night, Don Cherry was cut down to a 5 minute segment in the first intermission. I think in a small dose, his continuing presence on Hockey Night will be fine. But where Sportsnet really missed the mark was the second intermission. Officially the Hotstove has been axed, but Sportsnet has kept a lighter version of it. With insiders Cox, Friedman and Kypreos in studio, Sportsnet has the opportunity to return the Hotstove to its former glory. I know Scott Moore has been clear that he wants to shift the focus away from off-ice stories (which I think is a mistake, but that’s a different matter) to on-ice, but devoting one segment a week to trade rumours seems important, regardless.

While the broadcasts on Wednesday and Saturday were really more of the same, City’s Sunday night broadcast of Hometown Hockey was new and innovative. Unfortunately, it didn’t really appeal to me. Sportsnet seemed to want to capture a family audience, which is fine for a Sunday evening broadcast, but it could come at the risk of alienating fans. It doesn’t seem like a weekly must-watch for me. The studio panel, with George, Healy and Cox, looked very casual with no ties, in a style similar to many English soccer broadcasts in Sky and the BBC. It was an interesting, and noticeable differentiation from just about every other sports broadcast in North America.

All early ratings were slightly down from last year. The Wednesday night games averaged 2 million (MTL-TOR) and 1 million (VAN-CGY) viewers. Canadiens-Leafs is now the most watched broadcast in Sportsnet history though. Saturday numbers were also slightly down. The early games averaged 2.25 million viewers, with TOR-PIT leading the way at 1.57 million. The late games averaged 1.31 million viewers.

Women’s Hockey Coming To Sportsnet

cwhlJust when you thought Rogers and Sportsnet couldn’t fill their schedule with any more hockey, here we are with an announcement that Sportsnet will broadcast the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s playoffs and special events in a four-year agreement.

Let the record show this deal is only for a grand total of four games a year — three Clarkson Cup championship playoff games and one “special event” to be named later. The CWHL will also take pride of place on sportsnet.ca, with game scores being featured on the site for the first time ever.

It’s good to see more womens sports on television, even if it is only four games. I’m not going to lie, I had never heard of the CWHL until this announcement, but if Sportsnet can give them a bunch of new fans, then you could consider the deal a success.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Sportsnet is on board to be our official playoff and special event broadcast partner,” CWHL commissioner Brenda Andress said. “This deal means unprecedented exposure for the female game, with more fans getting the chance to see our talented players in action every season and not just every four years, which will inspire more young girls to lace up their skates and pick up a stick.”

Weekend Roundup: New Websites, More Stats, Additional Channels

TSN's very first website. Hilarious.

TSN’s very first website. Hilarious.

• TSN has finally redesigned their website. From the look of the previous one, the last update occurred in the early 2000s, which is an eternity when it comes to the evolution of web design. They seem to have finally implemented a responsive design for those visiting on tablets and phones, as well as gone with the whole “white space” look which makes it look somewhat similar to the Sportsnet.ca redesign that has been partially launched. ESPN will also be launching a new site shortly heavy on white space.

• Kraft Hockeyville will return for the next three years with Sportsnet taking over where CBC left off. Hockeyville looks to improve arenas and support grassroots hockey in communities across Canada with over $3.5 million of contributions.

• Hockey analytics are hotter than ever with teams and networks jumping onboard the NHL’s version of Moneyball. Sportsnet recently aired ‘A Numbers Game’ which took a look at the history and current status of the analytics era (online version here). TSN launched ‘TSN Hockey Analytics’ this season which will break down all the fancy new advanced stats that are available and will screen on TSN platforms including live game broadcasts and online. Full details available here.

• Sportsnet have released a sneak-peek time lapse video of construction of the new Hockey Central set for the upcoming season. It doesn’t show what the set actually looks like as I guess they want to show that off on opening night, but who doesn’t like a good time lapse video?!

• If you’re a fan of TSN Radio Toronto’s Blue Jays beat reporter Scott MacArthur, Toronto Sports Media have a Q&A interview with him discussing his recent interview with Colby Rasmus and the baseball beat in general.

• If you’re a fan of La Liga or just watching soccer in general in Spanish, then good news for you. The CRTC has approved beIN Sports Espanol for carriage in Canada. Check your local provider to see whether they carry it (Bell Fibe already is). The channel is included in your monthly fee for the English version of the channel.

• Speaking of Bell, NBA League Pass will finally be available this season to those with Bell Fibe or Bell Satellite. I have no idea why it was never carried and what caused the change, but for $150 you can view all out-of-market NBA games this upcoming season. Look out for the Canadian TV schedule in the coming weeks.

• Over at BarDown (TSN’s attempt at a Grantland/Deadspin-type of site, I think), there is brief interview with TSN’s founding president Gordon Craig on how TSN came to be formed way back in the summer of 1984. Fun fact: Even back then, TSN was using darts and snooker as programming filler.

ICYMI Posts From This Week:

More Tennis, More EPL, More NCAA Football: TSN’s New Channels Go Live Monday Morning

tsnexpansionCircle 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
  • Eastlink
  • FibreOP TV (Bell Aliant)
  • MTS
  • Rogers
  • SaskTel
  • Shaw
  • 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:

Monday

  • 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.

Thursday

  • 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).

Friday

  • 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.

Saturday

  • 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).

Sunday

  • 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.