Impact games move back to TSN 690

In news that will surprise precisely nobody, TSN and the Impact announced today that TSN Radio 690 will pick up English-language radio broadcast rights to Montreal Impact games for the next three years.

For the past two seasons, Impact games have aired on CJAD 800, which picked up the rights to home games to help fill the gap left by the loss of the Canadiens to TSN 690 in 2011. Now that CJAD and TSN are sister stations with the Bell purchase of Astral, the two don’t need to fight over such rights, and sports is being consolidated on TSN.

The new deal calls for all regular season and playoff games to air on the radio, which marks the first time that we have all away games on radio.

Rick Moffat, the former CJAD sports guy who has since moved to TSN, and Brian Wilde, CTV Montreal reporter who sidelines as an Impact fan, will “share play-by-play duties”, and former Impact player Grant Needham will do colour commentary during the broadcasts. Program director Chris Bury confirms to me that the broadcast team will travel with the Impact.

The press release says that TSN and CJAD will share broadcasts of the games, which likely means that when an Impact game conflicts with a Canadiens or Alouettes game, it’ll move to CJAD. The Alouettes haven’t released their 2014 schedule yet, and the Impact schedule is incomplete, but we already know that the first two Impact games of the season, on March 8 and 15, will conflict with Canadiens games, so expect those two Impact games to be on CJAD.

Alouettes broadcast rights in English still belong to CJAD, but it’s a formality at this point that most of the games will move back as well to TSN, with only those that conflict with Canadiens games airing on CJAD.

In the unlikely event of a three-way schedule conflict, there’s always CHOM, which has been used during CJAD’s conflicts in the past.

The announcement is good news for Impact fans, who will now be able to access all the games on the radio instead of just the home games and a few marquee away ones. The fact that Bell is sending a broadcast team to those away games — no small expense — is also a strong indication that it believes it’s worth investing in this franchise.

This news has already annoyed some francophone Impact fans because the team does not have a French-language radio partner. CKAC Sports used to air some Impact games before it became an all-traffic station. News-talk station 98.5 FM, which carries Canadiens and Alouettes games, doesn’t seem to be as interested in Impact broadcasts.

17 thoughts on “Impact games move back to TSN 690

  1. Media Man

    Yes, no surprise here in this non-news bulletin, but there seems a franchise available for TTP’s 850 sports station. Steve, have you heard of any interest on that front for at least 2015, seeing it’s likely for 2014 ?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Steve, have you heard of any interest on that front for at least 2015, seeing it’s likely for 2014 ?

      TTP Media are still hiding in whatever hole they’ve crawled into. But logic would suggest Impact French-language broadcast rights would be low-hanging fruit.

      Reply
  2. Noah

    “Alouettes broadcast rights in English still belong to CJAD, but it’s a formality at this point that most of the games will move back to TSN…”

    The Alouettes have never been on TSN to my knowledge… always CJAD. Not a big deal, but I figured you want that straight.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      The Alouettes have never been on TSN to my knowledge… always CJAD.

      You’re right, of course. I used the wrong word there. I’ve fixed it. Thanks.

      Reply
  3. Dilbert

    ” The fact that Bell is sending a broadcast team to those away games — no small expense — is also a strong indication that it believes it’s worth investing in this franchise.”

    I would say it’s more like “they figure they can sell more commercials on a full season than a partial season”. Missing almost half of the games because they are away games is no way to cover a team. It’s also a great way to get plenty of airtime filler material, including of course “game day reports” all through the day leading up to the games. It’s a winning strategy, especially considering the cost of the rights probably isn’t that significant – the airfare to the the people to the game is probably many times higher.

    Now, want to bet that the same people end up making reports for CTV sports from the games?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Now, want to bet that the same people end up making reports for CTV sports from the games?

      Since Brian Wilde works for CTV, that would seem a no-brainer. But plans haven’t been made to do that yet. It would require sending a cameraman too, which would be an additional expense, though they could probably arrange something with TSN TV. And Wilde will only be at Impact games when the Canadiens aren’t playing.

      Reply
      1. Dilbert

        Synergies… if TSN is there, than there is a camera and a feed that makes it to Bell land, which makes a remote story simple, and even makes a live hit potentially possible. Even if it’s not Wilde there for a given event, it’s almost a no brainer to get someone to report, and spread the expense.

        Nothing done at Bell is done just to marginally improve a radio market, it always has a bigger implication, somewhere… some how.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          if TSN is there, than there is a camera and a feed that makes it to Bell land, which makes a remote story simple

          According to the Impact’s schedule, TSN and TSN2 are carrying only three Impact road games — one in Toronto, one in Vancouver and one in New York. So that’s only going to have a limited benefit.

          Nothing done at Bell is done just to marginally improve a radio market, it always has a bigger implication, somewhere… some how.

          I look forward to hearing how sending a radio broadcast team to Impact road games is secretly part of some big conspiracy.

          Reply
          1. Dilbert

            “I look forward to hearing how sending a radio broadcast team to Impact road games is secretly part of some big conspiracy.”

            No conspiracy, just bottom line. CJAD as Astral wasn’t going to send a team because there wasn’t enough money in it doing it only for themselves. Having the team there for TSN radio is useful, both locally and nationally, as the coverage could be a 30 second or 1 minute piece used all day in the sports news. For that matter, having someone on scene who can do a stand up for TV (not only cfcf, but for the TSN sports news) would be quite useful. It’s one of those cases where bigger is better, because stand alone each one couldn’t do it, but together, they can afford it – and they need to do it for content.

            It’s not all a conspiracy Steve, just VERY big business that extends past the end of your local market nose.

            Reply
        2. Steve W

          It doesn’t sense for CTV Montreal to do a remote story for away Impact games. CTV Montreal doesn’t even do a remote report for away Canadiens games(the only exceptions is during the playoffs if the Canadiens make it). If TSN 690 considers MLS a major league pro sport, then they should cover all the Impact games on radio(away & home games). Right now, I still think the Alouettes are bigger than the Impact in Montreal.

          Reply
          1. Fagstein Post author

            It doesn’t sense for CTV Montreal to do a remote story for away Impact games. CTV Montreal doesn’t even do a remote report for away Canadiens games(the only exceptions is during the playoffs if the Canadiens make it).

            That’s because they don’t have a reporter or camera crew at the away games. If Wilde is going on the road, then they’ve already got half of that, and if TSN or RDS has a camera crew at the game, then sharing camera resources becomes easier.

            If TSN 690 considers MLS a major league pro sport, then they should cover all the Impact games on radio(away & home games).

            That’s what they’re doing starting this season.

            Reply
            1. Steve W

              This past season, Andre Corbeil covered the Impact for CTV Montreal, The year before, Randy Tieman(still pretty much clueless of soccer) covered the Impact for CTV Montreal. Brian Wilde, even when he was doing play-by-play for TSN 990, didn’t cover the Impact for CTV Montreal.

              Reply
              1. Fagstein Post author

                I think Andre’s been covering the Impact for longer than a year. Randy’s the go-to guy for Alouettes coverage. And Brian has done Impact stuff for TSN 690 and actively follows the team.

  4. Steve W

    How will Bell Radio split the play-by-play duties between Rick Moffat & Brian Wilde? At most, Wilde will only do the Impact games if the Canadiens aren’t playing(& only home Impact games)? Moffat will still be considered the lead play-by-play Impact guy?

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      How will Bell Radio split the play-by-play duties between Rick Moffat & Brian Wilde?

      We don’t know exactly, and I don’t think they do either. Wilde’s priority is the Canadiens, so he won’t start doing Impact stuff regularly (certainly not on the road) until the Canadiens’ season is over (anywhere from mid-April to early June) and will likely stop in time for Canadiens training camp in September.

      Moffat, meanwhile, should be expected to continue doing play-by-play for Alouettes games and make that his priority, so Wilde will probably do Impact games when they’re on the same day as Als games.

      The CFL doesn’t start up until after the Stanley Cup Final, so there’s no conflict there. There might be a few three-way conflicts between September and November, but TSN has half a year to figure out what to do about them, and I’m sure there’s no lack of people willing to fill in on Impact games in those situations.

      Reply
      1. Steve W

        To respond to your above comment. At most I think Andre Corbeil covered the Impact for past 2 years. 100% certain Randy Tieman use to cover the Montreal Impact beat(he use to discuss it on his TSN 990 radio program). I’m fully aware of Brian Wilde’s interest in the Impact(he discusses them non-stop on his Twitter account, when they’re playing).

        Reply

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