News & Notes: Blundell Starts Monday, TVA Sports 3, Shaw Dropping Speed, WWE Network, More

• Former shock-jock and all round douchebag Dean Blundell makes his return to the airwaves in Toronto on Monday, heading up Blundell & Co on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. Blundell will be joined by George Rusic and Kayla Harris. Guests during his first week include Blue Jays President Paul Beeston, fellow d-bag Don Cherry, Toronto Mayor John Tory and a couple Toronto sports figures. It’s no coincidence his show launches on trade deadline day to try and get lots of ears listening, but it will be interesting to see how much, if any, insight Blundell will provide. Then again, he does watch TSN’s Sportscentre every morning. What a clown.

• TVA Sports will launch a third channel on April 15 for those on Bell Fibe/Satellite, Rogers, Videotron and Telus Optik TV. The third channel will only temporary though. It’s only sole purpose really is for showing early round NHL playoff games when there are multiple games on the same night. The channel will disappear at the end of May and will be available for free to those who already get TVA Sports and TVA Sports 2.

• WWE Network is finally available to customers with Bell Fibe and Satellite television (channel 1446). The channel went into free preview this past Monday and will run until March 22 — a week out from the grand daddy of them all, Wrestlemania. The service is $11.99 monthly and includes all 12 pay-per-views.

• Before Speed Channel was rebranded as Fox Sports Racing last week, Shaw announced it would be dropping the channel April 1. As of now, Shaw still intends to drop the channel despite the makeover. From Racing North: “The operator of (Fox Sports Racing) provided (Shaw) with little notice or explanation of the name change, and we have no information to suggest that the programming will change,” a Shaw representative stated. “Shaw does not have control over the programming or branding choices that the various networks make.” Rogers is the only major Canadian provider that currently carries Fox Sports Racing.

• Tim Thompson, most commonly known as they guy who made all those opening HNIC montages for CBC, has been let go by Sportsnet for an unknown ridiculous reason. Thompson tweeted, “Unfortunately, I won’t be working for Hockey Night In Canada anymore. I was let go today. I’ll be back at CBC Sports & am excited about it.”

• The New York Times reports that Bell Media will only pay four percent more as a result of being given the World Cup rights for another cycle until 2026, but that will increase to ten percent should the United States hold the tournament. Bell will allegedly pay $40 million for the 2022 rights. This is a steal compared to Fox in the U.S. who will be paying a ten percent increase no matter where the tournament takes place. The generous offer from FIFA is to avoid the North American networks from suing FIFA due to the 2022 Qatar World Cup being moved from the traditional summer slot to a November-December timeframe due to the Qatari weather.

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