The CRTC has approved a specialty TV service for Rogers called Rogers Sportsnet 2 (really? Couldn’t come up with anything better than that?), which is focused exclusively (90%) on soccer, cricket and rugby (also known as “the lesser team sports that only old British people watch). In fact, the license specifically prohibits the channel from carrying anything related to men’s ice hockey, basketball, U.S. and Canadian football and baseball (in other words, NHL, NBA, NFL, CFL, MLB, their minor leagues, junior leagues, amateur leagues, pee-wee leagues, street leagues or any other versions of these sports where the players have penises). This is to prevent competition with existing networks like TSN and RDS.
The application got two interventions, one from CTVglobemedia (which owns TSN), asking for a tougher restriction (Rogers initially offered a prohibition only on the major leagues, but agreed to the change), and the other from the Asian Television Network, which has its own cricket channel called Cricket Plus.
The latter got a funny-sounding response from Rogers, who said that because their channel focuses also on soccer and rugby, “the proposed service would not serve the interests of the cricket enthusiast as effectively as Cricket Plus.” Which is kind of like saying that because RDS carries baseball and football, it won’t serve the interests of hockey enthusiasts as well as the NHL Network. The idea of national exclusivity contracts (which is why NHL Network doesn’t carry any Canadian games) wasn’t brought up.
But that’s neither here nor there, since Cricket Plus doesn’t enjoy any guarantee from competition. What is interesting however, is that Cricket Plus is carried by Rogers cable, and so if the channels do end up competing with each other, it might be in Rogers’s interest to either remove Cricket Plus from its cable lineup or otherwise make it fail.
But perhaps I’m just being paranoid.