TVA Sports takes away MLS rights from RDS, will broadcast all Impact games until 2021

TVA Sports, which is aggressively fighting with RDS for broadcasting rights to sporting events that Quebecers want to watch, scored a pretty big coup today, wrestling away the national French-language Major League Soccer rights from RDS.

So big they even issued a press release in English, this means TVA Sports will air all Montreal Impact games, since they already have a deal with the Impact for the games the team sells the rights to.

Similar to the NHL and other leagues, MLS sells a national package, which includes marquee matchups, events like the all-star game and all playoffs, while the team sells rights to other games in the regular season. (Thankfully, unlike with the NHL, we don’t have to deal with regional game blackouts with MLS.)

TVA Sports’s national rights deal is for five years, from 2017 through 2021.

On the English side, TSN extended its rights agreement for an unspecified number of years (but probably five as well). That means some Impact games (including most likely its matches against Canadian opponents) will continue to be aired on TSN. TSN has all the rights to Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps games, but the English-language package sold by the Impact for its remaining games still seems to be up for grabs.

Financial aspects of the deal were not disclosed, but there were rumours that Sportsnet might try to outbid TSN, and I’m certain RDS wanted to keep its MLS rights.

I won’t compare TVA and RDS broadcasts of Impact games, since everyone seems to have an opinion on stuff like that, but I will note that this means we won’t hear the voice of Claudine Douville doing play-by-play of Impact games anymore. When the number of female voices doing play-by-play can be counted on one hand, it’s unfortunate to lose one.

Radio rights, which are held in English by Bell Media (TSN 690 and CJAD) and in French by Cogeco (98.5fm, though it airs only select games), are unaffected by these deals.

6 thoughts on “TVA Sports takes away MLS rights from RDS, will broadcast all Impact games until 2021

  1. Peter Arzenshek

    Then can RDS supply an Anti-Chambre (version MLS) to switch to after muting the game broadcast? Such a click-bait parvenu reseau …. the PRO leagues benefit, while viewers suffer. Not Good.

  2. Tommy Côté

    Asking for a friend… What Impact games will still be available on the MLS Live package? It used to be that the RDS games (national games) were blacked out, but the TVA games were on.

    1. Fagstein Post author

      What Impact games will still be available on the MLS Live package?

      Unless the policy changes, national games are still blacked out on MLS Live. So all games on TSN will be blacked out. Local blackouts are decided by the team, and the Impact has chosen not to exercise that option. Which of TVA Sports’s games will be available will be known when the 2017 MLS schedule is released.

  3. Steve

    Have Montreal ever been able to sell English-language rights? From what I recall, the only time Impact games were broadcast in English were the dozen or so matches TSN covered because they happened to have the RDS broadcast. Can’t seem them purchasing English-language rights when the ratings will be split and be bad.

    1. Brett

      Wonder if that could mean Sportsnet trying for English rights? Although if you look at radio the French and English broadcast are owned by two different owners.


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