Sportsnet picks up Canadiens regional games, increases number of national games

With rumours spreading that there would, in fact, be a broadcaster picking up the regional rights to Canadiens games in English, Rogers finally announced today that it has not only picked up the rights to all regional Canadiens games, but that it has increased the number of Habs games being carried nationally, from 32 to 40.

The agreement is a three-year deal. It does not appear to include any preseason games. A play-by-play team has not yet been announced.

39 of the 42 regional games will air on Sportsnet East, which no longer has to worry about regional Senators games because those have moved to TSN. The other three (a Monday game and two Thursday games) will air on City Montreal.

Newly national games are:

  • Thursday, Oct. 9 (7pm @ Capitals) on Sportsnet 360
  • Thursday, Oct. 16 (7:30pm vs. Bruins) on Sportsnet 360
  • Monday, Oct. 27 (9:30pm @ Oilers) on Sportsnet One
  • Thursday, Oct. 30 (10pm @ Canucks) on Sportsnet 360
  • Saturday, Jan. 31 (1pm vs. Capitals) on Sportsnet
  • Wednesday, March 4 (10pm @ Ducks) on Sportsnet
  • Friday, April 3 (7pm @ Devils) on Sportsnet
  • Sunday, April 5 (5pm @ Panthers) on Sportsnet

This means that the Canadiens’ 82-game season breaks down as follows:

  • 39 regional games on Sportsnet East
  • 3 regional games on City Montreal
  • 10 national games (mainly Wednesdays) on Sportsnet East/Ontario/West/Pacific
  • 8 national games (first four Saturdays, most Sundays) on City
  • 4 national games on Sportsnet 360 (all Thursdays)
  • 1 national game on Sportsnet One (Monday Oct. 27)
  • 17 national games on Hockey Night in Canada, channels TBA

Because TSN has the Ottawa Senators regional games, and the two team’s regions are identical, two regional games between the two teams (Jan. 15 and March 12) will be on both TSN and Sportsnet, giving viewers a choice of which network to watch.

The deal does not affect radio rights, which are still held by TSN Radio 690.

I’ve updated my post on who’s carrying what games to include this deal as well as additional national games for the Flames and Oilers.

27 thoughts on “Sportsnet picks up Canadiens regional games, increases number of national games

  1. mario

    Boggles the mind why TSN opted to go with Ottawa Senators for their regional coverage in eastern Canada despite TSN’s synergies with RDS. TSN could have picked up 50 of the 60 games from their sister network (RDS) is broadcasting.

    Unless of course TSN got the Sens regional games on the cheap.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Boggles the mind why TSN opted to go with Ottawa Senators for their regional coverage in eastern Canada despite TSN’s synergies with RDS.

      It’s not like they were shown a buffet with the Senators and Canadiens on it and decided to go with Ottawa. They came to a deal with the Senators, but not with the Canadiens. That’s it.

      TSN could have picked up 50 of the 60 games from their sister network (RDS) is broadcasting.

      Perhaps. But the price it would have had to pay for that was apparently more than it was worth, particularly since it would be getting the audience anyway because people would be watching RDS.

      Reply
  2. Lurker

    Your breakdown adds up to a total of 83 games. I believe it’s because “4 regional games on City Montreal” should be “3 regional games on City Montreal”

    Reply
      1. Solanges

        There are two other quick corrections to make is where you say “8 national games (first four Saturdays, most Sundays) on City.” The Habs only play on the first three Saturdays (Oct. 11, 18, and 25). The Oct. 18 game is on Sportsnet Pacific/West/Ontario/East and the Habs do not play on Nov. 1, the fourth Saturday.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          I meant the first four Saturday games will be on City. And that includes the Oct. 18 game, according to this schedule. The NHL schedule still lists the Habs being on Sportsnet for that night and the Senators on City, so I’m not sure if Rogers has changed its mind or just got it wrong here.

          Reply
          1. Solanges

            Thank you for the clarification. I usually look at the schedules from NHL.com. I think many fans hope that the Habs will be on a fairly consistent channel for the Saturday games. The same goes for the Leafs and Senators.

            Reply
            1. Fagstein Post author

              I think many fans hope that the Habs will be on a fairly consistent channel for the Saturday games. The same goes for the Leafs and Senators.

              The thing is not all of them are playing on every Saturday night. So when the Leafs aren’t playing, it makes sense to put the Habs on CBC and the Senators on City, and maybe the Jets on Sportsnet. The key is the most popular teams will usually be on the most accessible channels.

              Reply
  3. jim macfarlan

    Once again people from Western Canada, both Anglophones and Francophones are screwed by one or another, or all, of the big business Eastern Canadian corporations- Rogers, Molsons, SN, NHL , etc. From 82 Habs games in 2013-14 , combined RDS and English, I can now see only 40 and MAYBE some by coughing up $199 with no guarantee against blackouts. Habs fans in both languages number hundreds of thousand across Western Canada. We buy Habs merchandise, and drink (sorry past tense drank) Molson’s beer. Now Geoff, Gary, Rogers have stuck it where I don’t like it. So much for loyalty, so much for the glorious bleu, blanc et rouge tradition. It has been replaced by the only colour that matters to these bums- the colour of money.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Once again people from Western Canada, both Anglophones and Francophones are screwed by one or another, or all, of the big business Eastern Canadian corporations- Rogers, Molsons, SN, NHL , etc.

      No more than people in Eastern Canada are screwed by those same corporations because we can’t watch Canucks or Flames games.

      Reply
      1. Christopher van Dyke

        Steve, the ‘demand’ for Habs’ games in Western Canada is a hundred-fold of Flames’ or Canucks’ games in Eastern Canada.

        In a perfect world, with today’s technology and capacity for consumer cable choice, each NHL team would have it’s dedicated team channel, i.e. a Canucks’ Channel, A Maple Leafs’ Channel, a Habs Channel, etc.. A Habs’ Channel, for instance, would have English and French broadcast options, 24CH, l’Anti Chambre, archived games, etc., etc..

        We all know this is definitely not a perfect world, yet more realistic at this time is convince the NHL their corporate national black-out rule of French language broadcasts have zero benefit for any NHL team in Canada and there an ‘exception’ should be made for their access west of Quebec.

        You may not agree with me Steve, but based on precedence allotted to Radio-Canada and RDS, and the bicultural, bilingual constitutional mandates unique to Canada, I believe there must be an ‘exception’ available to French language broadcasts for the Montreal Canadiens across Canada by the NHL.

        Bottom-line, this, the NHL’s national corporate black-out rule, is not what the consumer numbers wants and expects in this age of cable choice and technology, whether you are a an Anglophone or a Francophone.

        40 games is better than 32 Habs games. But it is ‘a bone’ thrown to some pretty angry Habs’ fans.

        These extra 8 games would not have been added without the effect of the Rogers NHL Habs Petition. http://bit.ly/1nLUkSk

        The unrest and protest among Habs fans over the past few months were thankfully heard by Geoff Molson and Rogers, and were obviously part of the negotiations. I have to thank them for hearing our concern.

        It shows when fans/consumers show assertive action to issues they find wrong and offensive to their intelligence and demands, one can make a difference.

        When something flies in the face of logic and what is right, never sit back and take what a corporation wants to do with your rear-end.

        Saying that however, though I sincerely believe that Mr. Molson, Mr. Pelley and Mr. Moore (there may have been others) lobbied Mr. Bettman to throw unhappy/angry Habs fans a bone, there is still a demand from tens of thousands West of Quebec that feel the NHL’s corporate national black-out rules remains a red-herring in Canada.

        Especially the fact the black-out of French-language national broadcasts of an 82-game Montreal Canadiens’ schedule make zero-effect to the local ratings for the Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Jets or the Maple Leafs.

        The Rogers NHL Habs Petition will not be satisfied until the full 82-game Montreal Canadiens’ schedule is available west of Quebec.

        The whole raison d’etre for the NHL’s national black-out policy is to force subscriptions to the Rogers/NHL-owned Centre Ice ‘premium product’. At this time, Centre Ice is also limited by the NHL’s national black-out policy.

        So subscribing to Centre Ice at this time is forcing an incomplete and unsatisfactory product on consumers, at an exorbitant cost.

        The cost of $ 200 per year for a presently half-assed product (Centre Ice), will cause the loss to the Montreal Canadiens, in-time, a significant percentage of it’s present fan base.

        In the Rogers NHL Habs Petitions’ opinion, the NHL’s corporate national black-out rule, in Canada, is unnecessary.

        In New York State, in the United States, the courts have approved to proceed, as of February 2015, an NHL fans’ class-action suit claiming the NHL’s national black-out rules suppress competition, prevent the creation of value-added team choice channel products, and exorbitantly increase the cost of the product to the fans/consumers.

        We believe a similar potential exists in Canadian courts of a class-action to over-turn the NHL’s national black-out rule.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          Steve, the ‘demand’ for Habs’ games in Western Canada is a hundred-fold of Flames’ or Canucks’ games in Eastern Canada.

          That’s part of the reason these blackouts exist in the first place, to protect the markets of teams like the Flames and Canucks.

          You may not agree with me Steve, but based on precedence allotted to Radio-Canada and RDS, and the bicultural, bilingual constitutional mandates unique to Canada, I believe there must be an ‘exception’ available to French language broadcasts for the Montreal Canadiens across Canada by the NHL.

          And why wouldn’t this exception apply to the Ottawa Senators, whose games are also broadcast in both languages?

          These extra 8 games would not have been added without the effect of the Rogers NHL Habs Petition.

          I doubt that’s true. We’ve known for a while that Rogers could nationalize some regional games. What’s changed here is the pickup of the regional rights. Rogers doesn’t need convincing to make more NHL games available to more people.

          The cost of $ 200 per year for a presently half-assed product (Centre Ice), will cause the loss to the Montreal Canadiens, in-time, a significant percentage of it’s present fan base.

          And that is, of course, something the NHL is aware of. In fact, it’s kind of why they do it in the first place, so that fans in Manitoba, for example, are more likely to become Jets fans, and fans in B.C. are more likely to become Canucks fans.

          Reply
        2. Tim

          I suspect they want you to subscribe to Bettmanvision Online if you live out of market for games… well, except east of Quebec City where they don’t have the market penetration for wireless.

          Reply
  4. John Haley

    So, that helps understand it better. But what it doesn’t explain is what happens with Centre Ice and GameCentre Live as far as Habs games go and who covers them. If I pay for Centre Ice (rip off) do I get to watch the Habs on Sportsnet east, or through the lame broadcasting crew of the team playing the Habs. Same question for GameCentre Live, is it any different for them as far as coverage of the Habs is concerned. But why on earth this isn’t a bigger deal is because no one west of Quebec primarily reads any of this coverage. And why can no one provide a decent, solid answer to the coverage question. Bettman’s gotta go, what a sad time for people who used to enjoy the Habs on RDS.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      But what it doesn’t explain is what happens with Centre Ice and GameCentre Live as far as Habs games go and who covers them.

      We should know this soon, possibly as early as Wednesday.

      Reply
  5. Marc

    Related to this, is Videotron now including TVA Sports for all? I noticed it enabled on my Illico, and I see nothing about a free preview.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Related to this, is Videotron now including TVA Sports for all? I noticed it enabled on my Illico, and I see nothing about a free preview.

      Is that TVA Sports (channel 23/623), or TVA Sports 2 (channel 24/624)? The latter is in preview because it hasn’t launched yet.

      Reply
      1. Marc

        TVA Sports 623. I never had it as one of my a la carte channels. Now I do, so I was wondering if they now include it in the basic service.

        Reply
        1. Fagstein Post author

          TVA Sports 623. I never had it as one of my a la carte channels. Now I do, so I was wondering if they now include it in the basic service.

          Nope. It’s on free preview until Oct. 15, along with TVA Sports 2.

          Reply
  6. James

    So I don’t need RDS anymore, esp. since Videotron forves you to take RDS 2 also in your 30 channel custom package. And I already have the 360/Sportsnet & City is in basic. So I could switch RDS & RDS2 for more English channels, like TSN3 to 5 eventually. Hmmm..

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      So I don’t need RDS anymore, esp. since Videotron forces you to take RDS 2 also in your 30 channel custom package.

      It’s more that RDS forces Videotron to do that, either through a specific agreement on packaging, or by setting the price of RDS alone so high it would otherwise be a premium channel, or both.

      Reply
  7. Janes

    Ahh OK, good to know that it is RDS that forces RDS2. Anyway, there is now nothing I can’t get on English channels RDS has. At least TVA Sports has some Mtl Impact games I can’t get elsewhere but hope they don’t force TVA2 on me. Too bad there is not much local sports live coverage like Junior /Senior level soccer or Lower level hockey like in the old Videotron cable channel or even the old Heros du Samedi on Radio-Canada.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Anyway, there is now nothing I can’t get on English channels RDS has.

      As a general rule, most of the stuff on RDS is also on TSN or Sportsnet. Though there are some differences.

      hope they don’t force TVA2 on me.

      TVA Sports 2 is included with TVA Sports. It’s two feeds of the same service, much like TSN.

      Too bad there is not much local sports live coverage like Junior /Senior level soccer or Lower level hockey like in the old Videotron cable channel or even the old Heros du Samedi on Radio-Canada.

      There will be coverage of CHL (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) games on Sportsnet and TVA Sports. Going lower than that, though, and the demand for content doesn’t really justify the cost of providing the coverage.

      Reply

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