For the second consecutive year, the Alouettes have prematurely ended their deal with their official French-language radio broadcaster and switched to its major competitor.
It was announced on Tuesday that the Alouettes will be returning to Cogeco’s CKAC Sports for the 2011 season. CKAC will broadcast 20 games (the regular season has
19 18, so this covers all of those and the two preseason games), plus all playoff games.
Pierre Martineau, a spokesperson for Cogeco Diffusion, says the deal is for this coming season only, and some games will also air on Cogeco’s regional FM stations.
Having CKAC Sports broadcast the games seems like such a no-brainer, and indeed they broadcast the games for many years, signing a five-year deal in 2007. But that deal was mutually dissolved so that the Alouettes could strike a deal with Astral Media’s NRJ for broadcast rights in 2010. That deal was supposed to last until 2013.
The switch to NRJ wasn’t perfectly smooth. NRJ is a music station (like CHOM, which also broadcasts some Alouettes games), and license limits meant they couldn’t broadcast five games last season, according to La Presse.
Fans also weren’t crazy that NRJ used the RDS play-by-play audio instead of their own staff, though CKAC did the same thing.
A representative of the Alouettes did not immediately respond to voice mail messages requesting comment.
The Alouettes’ English radio rights are held by Astral, with games airing on CJAD and CHOM until 2013. It’s unclear if the move away from Astral on the French side will have any impact on the English rights. No doubt the Team 990 would be more than happy to pick up rights to Alouettes games, much like they would love to take rights to Canadiens games away from CJAD someday.
Last month, CKAC announced an agreement to air Canadiens games for two more seasons, ending in 2013-14.