Ottawa Senators 2015–16 NHL Television Schedule

The English-language regional schedule for the Sens this season sees 54 games on TSN5 and 60 on the RDS network in French language. Nationally, there will be 28 games — 19 on Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada, three on Sunday nights and six on Wednesday Night Hockey. In French, TVA Sports will cover 22 games.

Sens on TSN matches will feature Gord Miller or Chris Cuthbert on play-by-play and Ray Ferraro or Jamie McLennan with analysis. TSN Radio 1200 in Ottawa will have coverage of every regular season game.

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Senators Regional Games are Headed to TSN

The Ottawa Senators and Bell Media announced a new agreement this morning that will see regional television and local radio coverage of the team air on Bell-owned stations for the next 12 seasons. This is the same duration as Sportsnet’s new national broadcast agreement with the NHL. The deal includes at least 52 games on TSN and at least 40 games on RDS within the Senators regional territory, which includes eastern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. TSN Radio 1200 retains exclusive radio rights to all games. Financial terms of the agreement were not released.

This agreement brings up several questions to Senators fans in the east. Will Bell charge extra for a TSN-Sens channel, as they do for local Winnipeg Jets games. The local Jets channel costs $10 a month (that comes out to about $1 per game). Or will Bell package the games along with TSN, as they do with regional Canadiens broadcasts, making them more accessible. Or will Bell combine the Canadiens and Senators packages, they share the same regional territory, into one regional NHL hockey package? The Jets games cost money because Bell had a pay a lot more for those rights than they did for the Canadiens rights.

Bell likely paid a significant amount for this Senators contract, considering the NHL/Rogers agreement sparked a bidding war between Bell and Rogers. So, I’d guess they will have to monetize these games in some fashion. How much money can they get considering the Senators quickly lose popularity once you cross the Ottawa River? This isn’t like Manitoba where an entire province loves the local team. The Senators have to compete with the Habs in Quebec, the Leafs in Ontario and both in the Maritimes. Indeed, even in Ottawa many fans still have ties to Montreal or Toronto.

The other looming question is what will come of longtime Senators voice Dean Brown? He has called almost every regional Senators game since Sportsnet launched in 1998. There are two possibilities for Brown. He is a Sportsnet employee and he does freelance work for the CBC. In my opinion he is a the best play-by-play announcer Sportsnet has in their ranks and deserves a spot on their new national broadcasts. Him and former partner Garry Galley would make an excellent eastern-based pairing for Rogers. While it is possible TSN could hire him to call Senators games regionally again, I think it is unlikely. Dennis Beyak will likely continue to call Jets regional games. That leaves Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller to do the Leafs and Senators.

2013-14 Senators on Sportsnet Schedule

Here is the press release:

Sportsnet today announced its 2013-14 Ottawa Senators regional broadcast schedule, featuring 54 regular season games, more than any other Canadian broadcaster. Coverage starts with the Senators season opener on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. ET on Sportsnet East when they visit the Buffalo Sabres in an Atlantic Division showdown. (Click here for Sportsnet’s complete 2013-14 Senators TV broadcast schedule).

Forty-seven of Sportsnet’s regular season Senators games will air on Sportsnet East, while seven will air on the Sportsnet ONE companion channel, Sportsnet Sens.

All broadcasts will feature play-by-play announcer Dean Brown, analyst and former Stanley Cup Champion Denis Potvin and host Ian Mendes.HOCKEY CENTRAL will preview every game with a half-hour pre-game show, and will also provide intermission and post-game analysis.

Highlights from Sportsnet’s Ottawa Senators broadcast schedule include:

·         Six all-Canadian matchups, including games versus Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary
·         The Senators takes on the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks in the Windy City on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 8 p.m. ET
·         A visit from former Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET
·         Three games versus Original Six teams in the newly realigned Atlantic Division, including Boston and Detroit

And the full schedule.

Stanley Cup Playoffs Ratings Update #1

Here are the ratings for games on CBC, as well as the Canucks on TSN and Canadiens on RDS for the first six days of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Montreal vs. Ottawa (CBC/RDS)
Game 1, 5/2: 1.9 million (CBC) + 1.2 million (RDS) = 3.1 million
Game 2, 5/3: 1.8 million (CBC) + 1.2 million (RDS) = 3 million
Game 3, 5/5: 2.3 million (CBC) + 1.3 million (RDS) = 3.6 million

Boston vs. Toronto (CBC)
Game 1, 5/1: 2.6 million
Game 2, 5/4: 3.2 million

Vancouver vs. San Jose (TSN)
Game 1, 5/1: 1.25 million
Game 2, 5/3: 1.3 million
Game 3, 5/5: 1.1 million

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles (CBC)
Game 1, 4/30: 1.3 million*
Game 2, 5/2: 822, 000
Game 3, 5/4: 1.1 million

Chicago vs. Minnesota (CBC)
Game 1, 4/30: 1.3 million*
Game 2, 5/3: 687, 000
Game 3, 5/5: 502, 000

*These games were a split-national broadcast; the ratings are for the two games combined.
All numbers are BBM Canada AMA 2+

Based on this, it looks like CBC made the right decision to take the Montreal-Ottawa series instead of the Canucks. Not only is it getting better ratings, but even CBC’s third choice (STL-LA) put up comparable numbers for game 3. Its never good when a series trends downward on the weekend, as happened with the Canucks last night. To compare, last year the Canucks had a million more viewers for game 3 (on a Wednesday night) on CBC. In fact the Canucks’ ratings for games 1-3 were quite comparable to Habs-Sens this year. I know there is a difference between TSN and CBC, but come on, it isn’t worth 50% reduction in audience levels. The first three games from Flyers-Penguins on TSN last spring all had better ratings than the first three from Sharks-Canucks this year.

For comparison, here are the ratings for the first few days of the playoffs last year.

Would CBC Take the Canucks over a Habs-Senators Series?

It seems like a very real possibility that the Ottawa Senators could play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs. All Ottawa has to do is beat Boston tonight. That would vault them up to 7th, and the Canadiens to 2nd. At first this seems like the elusive, dream all-Canadian matchup CBC is also looking for come April. But then again, maybe it’s not. TSN studio host James Duthie suggested he thinks CBC will select the Leafs’ and Canucks’ series on Sunday evening, regardless of if the Senators play the Canadiens or not. At first I was very skeptical, but after thinking about it and seeing how the Western Conference seedings, I’m beginning to agree with James.

The main goal for both the CBC and TSN is to attract ratings and advertising dollars. Ratings and length of series are both important. The Canucks are a proven playoff ratings earners for the CBC. The Senators, are not. The Canadiens will always result in part of their fanbase watching in French on RDS. Ottawa-Montreal averaged 870, 000 viewers on TSN in March. Also in March Vancouver-San Jose averaged 505, 000 viewers for a game only available in British Columbia on Sportsnet Pacific. While I can’t find any ratings from this year, the Canucks consistently averaged over 800, 000 viewers for games on TSN against US-based teams late last season (799, 000 vs. ANA; 824, 000 vs. LA; 856, 000 vs. DAL). Undoubtedly the Canucks can get the same type of ratings on their own that the Senators and Canadiens can muster together in English-Canada.

So, now that I’ve proven the ratings are close enough that CBC could reasonably take the Canucks over a Ottawa-Montreal series, that leads me to my second point. If CBC takes both TOR-BOS and OTT-MTL, that means they will probably end up with DET-ANA and LA-STL in the West. This is a scheduling nightmare. Of a possible 28 games, 21 take place in the Eastern or Central Timezones. Games in Detroit and St. Louis would have to air online for most of the country. CBC could only show 7 doubleheaders. Any of those that go head-to-head with the Canucks will get beaten. They might win the early timeslot every night, but they won’t post many wins at 10:00pm ET. And fans will be worse off if games in St. Louis and Detroit are only available on 1-2 regional stations in Ontario and online.

But, if CBC takes TOR-BOS and SJ-VAN, they could have an anchor for their doubleheader each night and avoid these problems. CBC would probably still take ANA-DET with the fourth pick and then either NYI-PIT or NYR-WSH later on. This would mean 17 games in the Eastern Time Zone and 11 in the Pacific Time Zone. And far less conflict, especially when Canadian teams are playing. CBC would win the late timeslot every night they have a game in it, even if going head-to-head with STL-LA on TSN. And they’d still win every early timeslot with the Leafs and probably have an afternoon game from their eastern-based US series, further reducing conflicts.

And, lastly, even going head-to-head with OTT-MTL on TSN, I think NYI-PIT or NYR-WSH will get better ratings than STL-LA. Easily. And I think CBC’s ratings as a whole would be higher. Of course criticism will come from CBC picking SJ-VAN over an all-Canadian series, but will that really matter? I think TSN had MTL-OTT around three times this season, so why not a few more? For those who have cable, it will probably mean more games on TV without needing CHEX or CBC Windsor.

2013 NHL Playoffs Matchups and TV Coverage

I expect that the NHL will release their 2013 Conference Quarterfinals schedule Sunday night at 11:00pm Eastern on a special that will air on NHL Network. That’s regardless of what happens tonight. However, with about 24 hours for schedules to leak before any is officially released, I’m sure some news will come out early.

In this post I’ll list the NHL Playoff Matchups as they are confirmed, what networks will cover them, and the night the series will start. I’ll also add full schedule information once it is available. Anything that is not confirmed, but worth mentioning (probably broadcasters and current, but not final standings) is in italics. I’m assuming every series will start Tuesday or Wednesday, but that’s not confirmed. Feel free to post any information you come across in the comments.

Eastern Conference
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) New York Islanders (Game 1, Wednesday)
(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (7) Ottawa Senators (Game 1, Wednesday)
(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) New York Rangers
(4) Boston Bruins vs. (5) Toronto Maple Leafs

Western Conference
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild (Game 1, Tuesday at 8pm)
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings (Game 1, Tuesday at 10:30pm)
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings (Game 1, Tuesday)

*The Canadiens will likely play game 1 on Tuesday.

2012 NHL Playoff Ratings: Update #4

There was lots of hockey on TV this past weekend. Multiple games averaged over a million viewers, including some in the afternoon. The Canucks set a new record for the 2012 playoffs, as their game on Sunday is the only one so far to average over 3 million viewers. Here are some NHL playoff ratings for April 20-22.

Friday April 20
7:30pm, PHI-PIT (g5), TSN: 1.878 million (479, 000 more on RDS)
8:00pm, DET-NSH (g5), CBC: 1.2 million

Saturday April 21
3:00pm, WSH-BOS (g5), CBC: 1.304 million*
7:00pm, OTT-NYR (g5), CBC: 2.3 million
7:30pm, SJ-STL (g5), TSN: 451, 000
10:00pm, CHI-PHX (g5), TSN: 919, 000

Sunday April 22
12:00pm, PIT-PHI (g6), TSN: 1.026 million*
3:00pm, BOS-WSH (g6, CBC: 1.4 million* (458, 000 more on RDS)
8:00pm, LA-VAN (g5), CBC: 3.34 million

* These games were also on NBC; those viewers are not counted.

The Kings vs. Canucks series is the highest rated so far, averaging 2.4 million. Flyers vs. Penguins averaged 1.42 million on TSN, which is great for an all-American series on a cable network. In contrast, Red Wings vs. Predators averaged half a million less at 911, 000 on CBC.

Check back on Wednesday evening for a complete report of the last week’s ratings, including more NHL and the Jays. At the end of the week I will post the rest of the 1st round ratings.

You can see the updated NHL playoff ratings database here. For the most up-to-date NHL playoff broadcasting news, including ratings, follow me on Twitter.