Updated with some clarification below about TSN’s main feed.
It was inevitable. With so much sports programming available, with so many scheduling conflicts, with prices going up (both in terms of subscription fees and in terms of rights fees) and with Rogers having scooped up national NHL games, TSN had to expand beyond the two channels it previously had.
Rogers crowed that it had nine channels available on Saturday nights for hockey: CBC, City, four regional Sportsnet channels, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet 360, and FX Canada. Rogers also owns Sportsnet World, and three special Sportsnet One regional feeds (for Canucks, Flames and Oilers games).
TSN, meanwhile, had TSN and TSN2, plus special part-time regional feeds for Jets and Canadiens games.
So on Monday, TSN officially expanded to five channels, numbered 1 through 5. The Jets and Canadiens channels disappear, and regional NHL games (Jets, Leafs and Senators) will instead air on the three new channels, which will be blacked out outside their regions when those teams are playing.
Videotron holds out
Bell Media managed to secure deals with most major providers to add the channels. Shaw, Rogers, Telus, Bell, Cogeco, Eastlink, MTS and SaskTel are all on board. The major holdout is Videotron, which says it’s still in talks with Bell Media over adding the channels.
These kind of negotiations are complex, and it’s hard, without getting details on those talks, to tell which side is being unreasonable. Videotron is out on its own here, but it’s also the only provider that allows its subscribers to choose just about everything à la carte. Right now TSN is one of those channels, and it comes with TSN2 thrown in for free.
Various factors come into play when negotiating over new channels: the price, packaging and other special conditions, available space on the distribution network, and of course subscriber demand.
TSN decided to launch the five feeds on the first day of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. Early rounds of a tennis major provide a very good example of how useful extra feeds can be, with lots of matches happening simultaneously. Viewers might be interested in following a Canadian, or checking up on their favourite tennis superstar, or checking out some interesting story going on in another match entirely. Having five feeds is very useful here.
But TSN seemed to try to artificially inflate demand on Tuesday by pushing a match by Eugenie Bouchard to TSN5 instead of having it on the main channel or TSN2. (Though strangely on Videotron, TSN’s main feed was replaced with TSN5 all day.) That led to a lot of people bugging their service providers (not just Videotron) about where TSN5 is.
UPDATE: As Josh explains in a comment below, TSN has decided that TSN1 is no longer its main feed nationally. Instead, TSN1 is the main feed for B.C. and Alberta, TSN3 is the main feed in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, TSN4 is the main feed for southern Ontario, and TSN5 is the main feed for eastern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. This allows those who only have one or two TSN channels (such as analog subscribers) to still get their Jets, Leafs and Senators regional games. This explains a lot of what we see below.
As they decide whether to add these channels, Videotron and others have to ask themselves: Just what do the other three TSN channels offer that its two existing ones don’t have?
This schedule for Saturday offers more insight into the added value of these additional feeds. Instead of one Premier League game on Saturday mornings, TSN can air three simultaneously. It can air college football games and more NASCAR races, things that would otherwise be shown on tape-delay or on those rare occasions when there was nothing better to show.
Fans of the Jets, Leafs and Senators (who live in their respective broadcast regions) will definitely appreciate the feeds during the NHL season. But that’s only 138 games, or 414 hours of programming, in a year. And as I mention above, subscribers in those regions don’t need the extra channels to watch their team (except in some areas of Ontario where the broadcast regions overlap).
Identical programming much of the time
If you look at other days, the value of extra TSN channels becomes less apparent. Take Friday, Sept. 5. The U.S. Open is still on, but its field has narrowed so much that only three matches are scheduled for that day: two women’s singles semifinals and the mixed doubles final. There’s also a NASCAR race and a CFL game that night. Two channels are more than enough for all that.
Looking at the schedule for that day, the lineup for TSN1, TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5 are identical from 2am to 11:30pm: 10 repeats of SportsCentre, U.S. Open tennis, and the B.C. vs. Ottawa CFL game.
Only TSN2 looks different, with NASCAR, MLS, Dave Naylor and various ESPN feature and talk shows.
Of course, these channels just launched, and we could see more differentiation in the future, especially as the number of subscribers who have only one or two TSN channels further diminishes. There was a suggestion early on of installing cameras in other TSN Radio studios and broadcasting other radio shows on TV. Repeats, documentaries and talk shows can also fill up the schedules pretty easily.
But because of TSN’s Sportsnet-like regionalization of those channels, it has essentially backed itself into duplicating much of its content across four of them (TSN2 isn’t the main feed anywhere, so its programming can be entirely distinct). So expect CFL games and major sporting events to still be the same across TSN1, TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5 for a while.
That’s not to say that the additional feeds aren’t worth it. But for now, their value depends on how much you want more choice in things like tennis, NASCAR, English soccer and U.S. college football, and whether you feel like, when it comes to sports, you absolutely cannot miss a thing.
UPDATE: Mitch Melnick speaks with TSN president Stewart Johnston about the new channels. Johnston says Videotron sees the value in them and the two parties are working on getting them added.
Last night Roger Federer and Serena WIlliams were playing live and TSN5, the one we get, was showing old matches taped from before. This shows how we need all the TSN channels.
So, you can watch whichever tennis match of the US Open you prefer, have all these channel options, modern day technology, bandwidth, and ‘CHOICES’, but these cable vultures (Rogers/Sportsnet, TVA Sports and Bell (RDS/TSN) can’t make a fiscal case to broadcast the 82 game schedule of the most followed sports team and sports brand in Canada (the Montreal Canadiens) ?
It’s perverse, incomprehensible and shameful.
I hope the September hearings of the CRTC in Ottawa this coming September on the future of cable broadcasting in Canada will soon force a reset for these cable pirates to give what fans want they demand and want rather than what most milks the most money out of the captive fan for the provider pirates.
So much is possible in this era of choice, value-added cable products and production cost efficiencies, but these dinosaurs are only interested in their corporate turf wars.
The NHL’s national black-out rule in Canada is also a major obstacle to the introduction of cost-affordable value added cable products/channels for hockey fans. Just like in the United States, a class-action legal challenge should be laid in Canadian courts on behalf of Canadian hockey fans challenging the unnecessary, arbitrary NHL corporate national black-out rule.
To make that happen, hockey fans will have to stand-up and demand change.
TVA Sports and RDS would love nothing better than to have all 82 Canadiens games. But they managed to win different parts of the contract.
As for TSN and Sportsnet, they simply aren’t willing to meet the price that the Canadiens have set.
What would you like to see exactly? You can still provide your thoughts to the commission.
Short-term, the most realistic goal is political pressure from Francophone organizations outside Quebec and inside Quebec to force the NHL to re-invoke an ‘exception’ to the NHL’s corporate national black-out rule to allow broadcasts of the full Canadiens’ schedule to Francophones across Canada.
The NHL’s black-out rules contravene in my opinion Canada’s bilingualism and cultural constitutional mandates of which apply equally to the broadcasting mediums.
In my recent curiosity to learn more of the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Act, here are facts that caught my eye:
“Broadcasting Policy for Canada
3. (1) It is hereby declared as the broadcasting policy for Canada that
(a) the Canadian broadcasting system shall be effectively owned and controlled by Canadians;”
So it was news to me the law states that the airways are public property.
Other lines that caught my eye:
– “(k) a range of broadcasting services in English and in French shall be extended to all Canadians as resources become available;”
– “r) the programming provided by alternative television programming services should…(v) be made available throughout Canada by the most cost-efficient means;” (i.e.; the NHL’s Centre Ice, which is not cost-efficient in the interest of Canadian consumers, for instance)
-”(s) private networks and programming undertakings should, to an extent be consistent with the financial and other resources available to them,…ii) be responsive to the evolving demands of the public;”
So wouldn’t it be interesting if our complaint about a lack of Habs hockey in French West of Belleville becomes the lightning rod issue that exposes Rogers/NHL for not respecting the Broadcasting Act ?
I’m not a lawyer, but blacking out hockey games in order to maximize profit does not seem to be in the public interest, nor in accordance with the spirit/letter of the Broadcasting Act.
Why for francophones and not anglophones? And do these broadcasts go to RDS or TVA Sports?
First of all, the NHL isn’t bound by the Broadcasting Act. And since Rogers isn’t responsible for RDS’s broadcasts, it would be hard to pin this on them.
And I don’t see how you can make a coherent argument that Toronto fans not being able to watch Habs games in French is a violation of any clause of the Act.
And yet it has been done for years without anyone trying to challenge it on such grounds. Just because something is unpopular doesn’t mean it’s illegal.
Five channels all showing out of area messages. What’s the point of this crap? I still can’t watch NHL games its sportsnet. For me.
Everyone should contact the CRTC to stop the culution between TSN and Sport net on stop Canadians from watching Canadain hockey and stop the blackouts
There is no collusion between TSN and Sportsnet on blackouts. It’s the NHL that imposes them. And the CRTC doesn’t regulate NHL broadcasting contracts.
Only Habs fans say the Habs are the most followed team in Canada, by numbers it is the Leafs.
Several credible polls say it’s the Habs.
The Habs are the largest most diverse hockey club fan base in the world, let alone Canada.
Your numbers come from English speaking broadcasts likely. The Montreal Canadiens numbers include French and English speaking followers of the Montreal Canadiens in Canada, which do not include thousands in the United States and overseas.
Since we’re talking about English-language broadcasts in Canada, that would seem irrelevant to the conversation, wouldn’t it?
Montreal has so many fans because Canada has so many immigrants that are attempting to look Canadian so they fly Canadian flags and wear the most Canadian jersey they can find..also they’re “the best” with all their cup wins..used to be my favorite team until I noticed that they only seem to be interested in french players..
Wait until those slow days when there are no major sports being played. What will show then? Re-runs, amateur sports or re-runs of them. They’ re trying to keep up with SportsNet and ESPN in the states. Don’t blame Videotron for not falling all over getting the extra channels. Can you say Ca$h grab? Overkill if you ask me.
Repeats of SportsCentre. Maybe some darts or poker other types of programming. But really, how many slow sports days are there these days?
Can you get a clarification from TSN/Bell Media if they will be adding cameras soon to TSN Radio studios across the country? That’s what I’m interested in(among other things), with more TSN TV feeds.
Lots and lots of televised poker.
Another disappointment with Videotron not adding the 5 channels. There are a few other channels that I would like see on Videotron but they will not air them such as HBO2, CHCH, CP24 and CBC, CTV and Global stations from Alberta, Manitoba, Toronto and Maritimes.
HBO2 is not available in Canada. As for the others, let Videotron know you want them. Consumer demand is a key factor in deciding to add new channels.
Robert H. is probably referring to the Western Canada feed of HBO Canada, which some providers in eastern Canada label as “HBO Canada 2”.
HBOH2 is channel 1259 on Bell satellite,
I’d like them to add TWN and CTV News channel in HD. But I’ve heard there’s no plans for those.
All of those channels are available on Bell Satellite. If you are an Anglo living in Quebec, or a francophone living here in southern Ontario or western Canada, satellite is the best alternative. Because they are a national service they offer virtually all the channels available in Canada to all areas of Canada. In BOTH LANGUAGES. One thing to remember though, neither satellite services will by pass the NHL blackouts discussed elsewhere on these pages. But for programming not subject to blackout, satellite is your answer.
I’m not sure TSN has done a particularly good job of publicizing this, but the main channel you see in the former ‘TSN’ channel position depends on where you live, and seems to be a function of their regional NHL rights. See the “I’m an analog subscriber” question near the bottom of TSN’s FAQ page on this topic. For a viewer like me on Rogers in Toronto, channel 30 (which used to be TSN) is TSN4, even though I also automatically got access to TSN1, 3, and 5 further up the digital-cable dial. For viewers in Quebec, that primary feed would be TSN5, and in that light the Bouchard placement there makes sense.
This would also explain a lot of the duplication you point out for CFL games and the like, because for now TSN isn’t going to restrict those major events to a single channel in a way that shuts out much of the remaining analog viewers.
TSN5 is the regional primary station for Montreal (and Ottawa). As such it will our “local” TSN. If the Canadiens and TSN come to an agreement to show games it would be on TSN5. It will carry Senators regional games.
I am with Videotron and has TSN & TSN2. The day matches for the tennis were on TSN (TSN5) yesterday but at night they repeated the day matches, they did not show any of the night matches!
Would had made more sense to have TSN1 as the national feed (easier to remember) and assign TSN2 in BC with the rest staying the same.
Not sure how Bell Media is offering the TSN feeds to Videotron. Currently the Sportsnet channels offered by Rogers all count as a single a-la-carte channel unlike RDS 1 and RDS 2 that count as two separate ones. Videotron should either offer all TSNs to count as a single a-la-carte channel or offer TSN2 and TSN5 as one and the other TSNs a-la-carte.
I have all the “regional” Sportsnet channels. What a joke. At the time I subscribed, if you took one, Videotron gave you all of them. This means I now get the same Blue Jays game, at the same time, on all the Sportsnet channels. If TSN does stuff like this then all I can say is what’s the point?
TSN is hooped. 5 channels to show what?Their hockey schedule is a smattering in this province…and some in that province. Bottom line they need hockey….without a strong lineup they’ve list their identity.
Have they? I find people overestimate how much NHL hockey there really was on TSN. They had Wednesday and Friday night games, and second choices of the first three rounds of the playoffs. They also had regional Jets and Canadiens games.
Personally, I associate TSN more with CFL, NBA, tennis, golf, curling and non-league sporting events than I do with the NHL.
And F1, Nascar, English Premier League…
exactly, tsn having 5 channels without national tv hockey rights is a waste. when you watch there thats hockey broadcasts, you get the feeling when they are doing these regional only games, that would be able to watch them but of course they are blacked out. unless you live in winnipeg or ottawa . TSN not having any national tv hockey will really hurt there ratings, while most dont like the idea of a monopoly that Rogers sportsnet does have now, the fact is thats what we get for next 12 years. and we will watch there channels because of that.
its a shame to see top insiders like Bob Mckenzie, and Pierre Lebrun being wasted on a network with no national hockey rights.
Is it, though? TSN had Wednesday night hockey, and U.S. matchups in early rounds of the playoffs, but were live NHL broadcasts really that important to the schedule? According to the NHL schedule, it had about 150 games on TSN and TSN2 last year, and about 10 from each of the Canadian teams, not including the Jets and Canadiens regional feeds and the playoffs.
It’s a loss, for sure, but surely TSN was the source for a lot more than just NHL hockey.
I checked out 4 out of the 5 TSN feeds when they launched. I have bell Satellite’s cheapest package which gives us TSN1, 3, 4 and 5. During the U.S. open, each channel had a different match, as was advertised. I hear there will be different offerings of NFL games as well. Since I don’t have the NFL package, the more games I can get, the better the chance of getting the game I want. Before midnight, each TSN channel also offers something different, some of which might be of interest to me. Having a different Premier League game is also a nice idea. For me, this is a win. Bell seemed to do it right for satellite subscribers. That’s to be expected though, since they are the parent company of TSN. What I thought would happen is that these channels would be available only to people who subscribe to the higher price packages. Instead every one gets them. That exceeded my expectations.
There could be another reason Videotron is holding out. They have NEVER favoured English language services, and may be waiting for RDS to have five channels before carrying all of tsn’s. That would be a long wait :(
That doesn’t make sense to me. RDS has no plans to expand its number of channels, and Videotron already carries all seven Sportsnet channels.
Videotron doesn’t favour English services as much as Bell, Shaw and Rogers because Videotron operates in Quebec. Nevertheless, it has almost all the English channels that its competitors do (and even some that they don’t).
Seems Habs Regional in English is shifting to Sportsnet East? https://twitter.com/Habs360/status/502603590528024576
That’s a rumour based on an assumption based on a tweet that says nothing of the sort. Maybe Sportsnet will pick up all regional games, or some regional games, or TSN will pick up some or all, or neither will pick up any. Until an announcement is made anything is on the table.
Called Videotron on Sunday about new channels for my Cable TV. Originally unaware (“no such thing as TSN 5!?”) after a few minutes of brushing up on issue while on hold was told these things take time and probably in negotiations. Glad I have 10 hours of Bell TV on my mobile phone where I can catch all 5 TSN channels when I need them – take that Videotron! Lucky their home phone cost is so cheap vs Bell or woulda switched to Bell Fibe long ago..
And so because Videotron is not (yet?) carrying all the TSN channels I’m seeing a truck race this afternoon rather than the CFL pregame show. I am not a happy camper — and Videotron will be hearing this from me in no uncertain terms.
You’ll only see CFL pregames now for Ottawa or Montreal On Friday night only TSN5 had the pregame for the Allouettes/Redblacks game. The others had separate programming on TSN 1, 2 and 3. Each of those were airing different shows for a half hour. One had “Around The Horn”, another had Inside Hockey and I forget what was on the 3rd…I opted for the pregame.
Thanks for the info… But it doesn’t seem to make sense. Since all CFL games are carried nationally, why wouldn’t the pregame shows be national also? The pregame shows for both of yesterday’s Labour Day Classics were available on Videotron.
Well this can get very political if anybody wants, if you support the PQ stick with videotron, that’s where the price hike in November will go, to the promotion of a sovereign Quebec.
The fibe truck is now installing my house….
These extra TSN channels are terrible! Most times it is same programming on most or all channels, other times it is no interest to general public.
Videotron will be adding the new channels on the 29th of October.
Really want to see TSN’s hockey season preview tonight, but for some reason it’s only airing on TSN 1 & 4. Looks like I’m ouuta luck as a Videotron subscriber.
Yeah it’s not very convenient for us… I’ve had to miss some soccer games because of the missing channels! We just have to be patient until the of the month i guess
I didn’t get my MNF feed because of Videotron, they better hurry up and get other feeds soon. If i miss another major sporting on tv i’m switching to Bell
They’re adding them Oct. 29.
If you do, congratulations, you’ll have successfully been used as a bargaining chip in carriage negotiations.
I am with Cogeco in Eastern Ontario and I missed a Saturday night B.C. Lions game a couple weeks ago because TSN5 took over the main channel and showed a PRE-SEASON Sens game. Last Monday – no MNF game because TSN5 took over again. Are they forcing me to buy all their channel? Who do I talk to – TSN or Cogeco?
Nobody’s forcing you to do anything. But if you want to watch MNF when the Senators are playing at the same time, you’ll need the other TSN feeds.
You can blame TSN for not having the football game on either TSN2 or your main feed (TSN5), or you can blame Cogeco for not giving you the other TSN channels.
I know this thread is getting along now but thanks for the reply. So far neither TSN or Cogeco have replied to my concerns.
This is what I deal with every year when preseason hockey starts. I don’t give a damn about hockey, but I care a lot about NFL football. I work evenings without access to TV, so on the way home I’m listening to Monday or Thursday night football until I get home. Most of the games are blacked out on TSN 1200 or 690 because either the Sens or Habs (or both) are playing….so i’m off to WFAN 660….and now that they have hockey again, ..sometimes I have to tune around…sometimes It’s WCBS….sometimes Chicago’s WSCR..and I remember one night, the only station I could clearly get with an NFL game because of conditions was WWL New Orleans..try getting that on AM in Ottawa. I’m so thankful for nighttime skywave because sometimes it’s the only way to get a game you want. Did any one actually see what the attendance was like for Monday night’s Sen’s game? The arena was EMPTY! I would have been livid if I had Roger’s cable on Monday night. With Bell, I just went to a different TSN channel.
first, the extra channels are a joke..same programming almost all day on TSN 1,3,4,5 except in that just home from work, ate dinner what’s on tv? time..
it’s like they don’t actually have enough content to support more than TSN1 and 2
and black-outs..holy eff those drive me INSANE..why black it out?..WHY?!!?..there is absolutely NO reason..I live in Winnipeg, NOT Vancouver..so watching a Canucks game on TV is in NO WAY taking ANY money out of tghe Canucks pocket because i “didn’t go to the game and stayed home to watch it”..I was in frickin’ WINNIPEG..is watching a Canucks game on TV somehow detrimental to the Jets bottom line?..seriously..I can understand a LOCAL blackout, to attempt to force fans to actually go to the games but, blacking out people who haven’t the ability to go anyway is asinine..
oh and my TSN4 and TSN5 now say “not authorized”
do they expect us to pay for these channels?..
the ONLY reason to have the extra regional channels is to watch the regional content, like Canucks games that my “local” feed doesn’t carry..which they black out..so, do they assume we’re retarded?..or are they?..
and to clarify, I am not a fan or a non-fan of the canucks, it’s just a team I had noticed being blacked out many times before..
so in conclusion..TSN’s 5 channels are just as useless to me and everyone else as Sportsnet’s East, West, Pacific, etc. garbage..
There is no way i will pay for the extra tsn channels when all they have is same programming, 5 channels should mean, i have 5 different shows on at the same time, Since there is no NHL hockey on tsn ( except for regional coverage which most of canada are blacked out) , we should expect at least 3 different NBA games on each night or college football , as do we really need to see World Series Poker, Off the Record reruns on every channel. Huge failure on TSN introducing all these channels, without sufficent programming
I’m not aware of any provider that is charging extra for the other TSN feeds.
The first time I heard TSN was expanding, I was thrilled. Instantly, I thought I would be able catch a lot more NBA games on TV and international soccer games. That’s not the case here. The “expansion” is misleading. What good does TSN 1, 3 & 5 offer when the channel is either under blackout effect, showing the exact same game as TSN 2 & 4 or showing replays of talk shows, etc. It’s annoying turning on your TV and you have the Raptors playing on all TSN channels.
If you’re going to offer additional TSN channels but their going to blacked out because I am not in the “broadcast region”, why even show the channel on my guide list when I’m scrolling through channels. Yes, lets look for something on TV. In the meantime, look at all the channels I don’t have. Their should be an option on your cable box that allows you to only view the channels you have according to your package. It would save a lot of time. Just saying.
That’s up to your cable provider. But in this case, you have the channel, it’s just blacked out for the game. TSN needed to add channels so it could have regional NHL games on weeknights and more feeds for things like Premier League games and tennis tournaments during the day and on weekends. But rather than say they’re adopting a Sportsnet-style regionalization, they sold it as five separate feeds of unique content, and now subscribers are reacting much like you are.
The good news is that you’re not paying extra for those other feeds.
On Sundat Nov 16 the Wpg jets were on TSN3 and on Shaw HD I could not get the CFL playoff game Edmonton vs Sask on the other TSN feed tyhat had Nascar. Who in their right mind would in Western Canada would want Nascaar over a CFL playoff game. Why is this happening and will it happen again this Sunday.
No it’s not worth it. The only sports I really watch is NASCAR & from what bell tells me since FOX SPORTS 1 took over speed channel TSN airs minimal NASCAR but will have 3-4 channels of the same hockey, curling or whatever game on all channels yet NASCAR fans get nothing. Therefore I plan to switch to shaw in may when my receivers are paid off.
first of all rogers you suck your tsn extra channels show exactly the same thing all the time and when it comes to watching hockey, football, etc etc you blackout a hockey game between edmonton and winnepeg here in vancouver, WHY or a game between toronto and st louis, again here in BC again WHY TAKE YOUR EXTRA TSN CHANNELS and please delete them they are of no use to us in CANADA and you will never get a dime from me, stay out of CANADA, i will be watching local channels only
Neither Rogers nor TSN is responsible for the NHL’s regional blackout policy. And as for duplicate content, expect that to decrease as more Canadians have access to all five channels. And it’s not like you’re paying five times as much for these channels.
So how many channels does Rogers offer in 4k?
I find tsn programming for me who.has tsn 2 and 3 in Manitoba very disappointing. We like to follow the Raptors and often not available. Tsn prefers to show a blank screen of unavailable hockey or sports recaps wrestling or totally uninspired viewing . I am annoyed to say the least that despite paying over 200.dollars to Shaw a month this is the best that can be done. I will not pay for more channels that show the same thing. Not sure why Raptors games in 3 channels but not 2. Losing interest in sports.