TSN To Launch Three New Sports Channels In Wake Of Losing NHL Rights
Canadian sports fans will "soon have more options in their television lineup, with the launch of three new TSN channels this fall," as provider Bell Media yesterday announced plans for TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5, according to David Friend of the CP. The additional channels will "allow the broadcaster to air multiple versions of its SportsCentre news show for various time zones and give it more leeway in real-time coverage of live events." The announcement comes as Bell Media "reworks its sports programming strategy in the wake of losing out to competitor Rogers Media," who paid C$5.2B for the broadcast rights of NHL games. Meanwhile, high ratings for the Raptors' playoff series against the Nets "caught TSN’s attention." TSN Dir of Communications Greg McIsaac said, "We are most definitely looking to offer more choice, more live events, and more NBA content overall to better serve Canadian basketball fans." Bell President & CEO George Cope said that the company has "no intention of giving it up its leadership position in the sports business." He later said that customers "won’t have to pay more on their cable bill for the extra channels." TSN said that with more channels it will "have extra space to air programs from U.S. sports network ESPN, and live coverage of events from various sports leagues." TSN also has rights to "certain NHL hockey games that don’t fall under Rogers’ national agreement with the league" (CP, 5/6). TSN President Stewart Johnston yesterday said, "Really, what this is, it's the evolution of where TSN has been tracking. We have been frustrated over the last few years with the lack of space we have to fully leverage our programming assets." TSN2 was launched six years ago, and the company "acquired The Score two years ago, and then re-branding it Sportsnet 360" (NATIONAL POST, 5/7).