It’s official: Canadiens regional games move to TSN

Two weeks after rumours began spreading, TSN and the Canadiens have confirmed that the Bell-owned broadcaster has picked up the team’s regional English-language television rights from Sportsnet as of the 2017-18 season.

The team has also renewed its English-language radio deal with TSN 690. According to the station, that deal is for five years.

The press releases about TSN’s deal are intentionally vague on details. They speak of “a slate” of games, so it’s unclear if it will be broadcasting all the games it’s entitled to or if, like in the days of the “TSN Habs” channel, it will only broadcast a selection. On one hand, every other Canadian team has all 82 games a year broadcast in English, and the Sportsnet/NHL deal caused TSN to invest far more in regional broadcast rights. On the other hand, Canadiens games are also broadcast on RDS, so not every game needs to be broadcast in English.

The press releases also don’t specify how long the TV deal is for. I’ve asked TSN for specifics and will update if I hear back.

Also unanswered so far is what channel the games will air on. TSN5 is used by the Ottawa Senators, so some sort of overflow channel will need to be used when both the Senators and Canadiens are playing, at the very least. (By my count, there are 15 regular-season games that the two teams play simultaneously — but not against each other — that aren’t part of the Sportsnet national windows.) That, and on-air hirings, will be answered closer to the start of the season.

The deal will give TSN TV rights to all Canadiens preseason games, and up to 50 of the team’s regular-season games, mostly those that don’t air Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday nights. Saturday night games, special games like outdoor games, and all playoff games stay with Sportsnet.

The deal will also mean far fewer nationally-broadcast Habs games, limited to only Sportsnet’s national broadcast windows. All TSN Habs games will be blacked out outside the Canadiens broadcast region.

UPDATE: Sportsnet has released its national schedule, which includes 32 Canadiens games. That’s 10 more than TVA Sports gets for some reason. Sportsnet’s picks include:

  • 4/4 games vs. Toronto
  • 3/4 games vs. Ottawa, including the “NHL 100 Classic” game on Dec. 16
  • 1/2 games vs. Winnipeg
  • 2/2 games vs. Edmonton
  • 0/2 games vs. Calgary
  • 1/2 games vs. Vancouver
  • 4/4 games vs. Boston
  • 2/2 games vs. Nashville
  • The first ever Canadiens game in Las Vegas
  • All playoff games

That leaves TSN with:

  • All preseason games
  • The Canadiens’ season opener
  • The Canadiens’ home opener
  • A game each against Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver
  • Both games against Calgary
  • The Vegas Golden Knights’ visit to the Bell Centre

6 thoughts on “It’s official: Canadiens regional games move to TSN

  1. Anonymous

    While the quality of the regional broadcasts of Habs games in english on Sportsnet could be called into question compared to RDS’s Pierre Houde, at least all 82 Canadiens regular season games were available in english across all the SN platforms plus CBC’s HNIC saturday broadcast. This may not be the case with TSN that it will broadcast all the regional games for its Quebec & eastern Canada viewers.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    I am wondering if I will be able to get the regional games in Thunder Bay now?
    The past 3 years under sportsnet I was able to on Sportsnet East even though Thunder Bay is not in the “habs region”. Not sure how but I was getting the.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      I am wondering if I will be able to get the regional games in Thunder Bay now?
      The past 3 years under sportsnet I was able to on Sportsnet East even though Thunder Bay is not in the “habs region”. Not sure how but I was getting the.

      You shouldn’t be able to, but the region doesn’t change, so if you get Canadiens and Senators games, you should still be able to get them. It could be your TV provider wasn’t respecting the regional blackout policy, in which case it’s hard to predict if they would continue that way.

      Reply
      1. Solanges

        Northwestern Ontario was getting the regional Habs games on SN East because it was a shared area with the Leafs. This arrangement was happening when the Senators used to be on that channel for its regional games.

        Reply
  3. Matt

    If regional Senators games through TSN5 were available to the person posting above from Thunder Bay, then getting the Canadiens games shouldn’t be a problem. If not, all bets might be off.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Yes I can confirm I was getting the Senators games on TSN 5 here in Thunder Bay
      along with leafs on one of the TSN’s and Jets on TSN 3. All habs games were available on Sportsnet East.

      Reply

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