We now know where the 2016 Impact games — at least those played in the MLS regular season — will be broadcast, on TV and radio, in French and English.
Like with the NHL’s national/regional split, the Impact’s MLS games are split between those whose broadcast rights are sold by the league (which partners with TSN and RDS) and those whose rights are sold by the club (which partners with TVA Sports).
RDS: 13 games plus playoffs
RDS announced it will broadcast 13 Impact games, including all MLS games against Canadian opponents (Toronto or Vancouver), plus all playoff games. Its schedule also includes 10 Toronto FC games (three of which are against Montreal) and 10 Vancouver Whitecaps games (one of which is against Toronto and one of which is against Montreal), for a total of 28 games. Games not involving Montreal will generally be put on RDS2.
The RDS broadcast team is Claudine Douville on play-by-play, with Jean Gounelle doing analysis, plus Olivier Brett and Patrick Leduc during pregame and halftime.
TVA Sports: 21 games
TVA Sports, meanwhile, has the remaining 21 Impact MLS games, including the two games at Olympic Stadium, and the season finale on Oct. 23. Most games will be on the main channel, with Saturday night games moved to TVA Sports 2.
The TVA broadcast team is Frédéric Lord on play-by-play, with Vincent Destouches doing analysis.
TSN: 10 games plus playoffs
Ten games will be carried in English on TSN channels, including the season opener in Vancouver, the Saputo Stadium home opener April 23 against Toronto, and the last home game of the season, also against Toronto.
The TSN TV broadcast teams are Like Wileman/Jason deVos and Vic Rauter/Greg Sutton.
TSN Radio 690/CJAD: all regular-season and playoff games
On radio, all games are set for broadcast on TSN Radio 690, though that will likely change when scheduling conflicts arise with Alouettes games, Canadiens playoff games (don’t laugh) and next season’s Canadiens games in October. (That goes for RDS as well.)
98.5FM: minimum 21 games
Only 21 games are set for radio in French, on 98.5 FM, though that’s more than last year, and the press release describes it as a “minimum”. That station doesn’t have a backup in case of conflict, so can’t really broadcast games when the Canadiens or Alouettes are playing.
Jeremy Filosa is the voice of the Impact for 98.5. Each match will have a 30-minute pregame show and a postgame show.
You’d think this would open up an opportunity for Montreal’s all-sports-talk station 91.9 Sport to pick up those games. But it hasn’t chosen to do so. Even if the rights are dirt cheap, it’s expensive to produce such matches. That said, the thing 91.9 needs most right now is marketing and recognition, and broadcasting games would be a big step in that direction.