Changes In NFL TV Canadian Landscape?


I posted this on twitter earlier, but various folks are telling me that TSN is about to announce an exclusive deal with the NFL for broadcast rights to games in Canada. Various reports are conflicting this morning on what the deal will mean. I’m told that Thursday night games will be on TSN. I’m trying to get more info before elaborating.

Several people alluded to the fact that the deal with James Duthie would see his scope expanded beyond hockey and it appears that nfl football is on his horizon.

Meanwhile, the stories making the rounds right now about the Rogers NHL deal really went down are, if true quite amazing. I’m waiting for a couple more sources to confirm before saying more.

Happy Saturday.


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Ami Angelwings
December 7, 2013 7:05 am

Wow, Shannon was on fire today. >_> He said the Tampa Bay Rays had won a World Series, he thought Red Blacks translated to Rouge Et Or, and he said the roundtable needed to explain to the audience who Lou Marsh was when Damien Cox had already explained who he was a few minutes before.

mike (in boston)
December 7, 2013 9:15 am

Since TSM has posted a Saturday thread, I’ll skip this weekend’s Seen & Heard and just add some thoughts here.

It makes sense for TSN to go big on the NFL. First, they already have a relationship with ESPN, so they can piggy back on ESPN’s NFL experts, some of whom are very good. Second, if the NFL ever comes to Canada, TSN might be better poised to capitalize on that. Third, they will need to find some work for their hockey people.

On the topic of TSN’s hockey people, I wonder if/when we will see some pink slips. As we discussed back in this thread …

… it’s really hard to get fired “on the merits” from a sports gig in Toronto media. Unless you reach Krystal-esque levels of ineptitude, you have a job for life. Even in Krystal’s case, it took forever to get him off the air, and we never even were told he was fired. Rather he was assigned to “special projects.”

But, I wonder if TSN will opt to make some cuts due to lack of need for so many hockey pucks. Any views on who might be near the bottom of TSN’s depth chart?

Sam in Scarb
Sam in Scarb
December 7, 2013 9:18 am

I flipped off PTS 4 minutes after I tuned in. Having blair,shannon & cox on at the same time is just an insult to the listening public.

Mike in Midtown
Mike in Midtown
December 7, 2013 9:50 am

I didnt even bother wasting my time listenting to PTS last night. The bottom of the barrel on the roundtable. Jeff Blair and John Shannon. Those 2 clowns are absolute morons. Talking over each other all the time. Just annoying. More and more I find myself tuning into TSN Drive with Dave Naylor. Main reason Naylor has the rotating co host DAILY! And its usually decent choice. Even his back up host Former Q107 Morning Show Co Host & Bryan’s dad BILL HAYES is pretty good in comparison to what PTS is offering.

If this report is indeed true I think its a great move by TSN to strengthen the NFL TV package. They have all the assets from ESPN as mentioned above. I think the fans would enjoy it. I’m not really into how Sportsnet presents the NFL in terms of who they use for commentary.

I’ll be staying tuned for the story later re Rogers TV deal with NHL.

December 7, 2013 3:15 pm

I think Blair is fine on PTS. Thought he was good as a roundtable guest the other week too, if only because he can intelligently discuss several sports. But yeah, Shannon was just unbelievably bad. The Tampa Bay Rays comment that Ami mentioned made me laugh out loud. Funny awkward pause immediately afterward before a couple of the others said ‘uh, no they haven’t’.

December 7, 2013 3:17 pm

Interesting if TSN makes an NFL play, because that’s a field Rogers seems to have tried hard to associate itself with. Particularly with the whole Bills thing, and rumours of trying to bring a team here.

mike (in boston)
December 7, 2013 3:22 pm

hey Daniel – views on the Jays’ catcher situation? Can a team that fancies itself as a contender really go into the season with two highly traveled league average backups as a replacement for their disastrous starting catcher?

I’m worried that “being an improvement over Arencibia” will be interpreted as “good.” Neither of these guys are good starting catchers, though each might be a good back-up.

December 7, 2013 5:06 pm

Yeah, catching and 2B are bare right now. But I think almost every good team has a weak spot or two in the lineup. At catcher, the Tigers had Alex Avila, and the Rays had Jose Molina last year just off the top of my head. I think there’s a good chance Navarro is league average for catchers next year which I think is fine enough.

Honestly, I think the offence as a whole could be improved, but is generally fine. 100% they will live or die with their starting pitching. As is, it looks rough on that front. Maybe Morrow comes back and is great, and maybe Stroman/Hutchinson give them strong starts and the team is fine.

But I’d feel a looooooot more comfortable if they added another arm or two. If they do nothing else with the offense, but add a good starting pitcher or two, then I’d be satisfied with the offseason.

December 7, 2013 5:08 pm

But I do hear what you’re saying. Navarro was good last year, but only played 95 games. And Thole was awful. So, it’s definitely risky.

December 7, 2013 6:10 pm

@Mike in Midtown

> I’m not really into how Sportsnet presents the NFL in terms of who they use for commentary.

What are you talking about? Sportsnet nor TSN use their own commentators on NFL.

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
December 8, 2013 3:42 pm

Bell would be wise now to rebrand TSN and TSN2 as ESPN for a few reasons.

1. their gonna have to use a lot more of ESPN’s product so if they keep the TSN name it will just look like a 2nd tier network with a network that can’t produce their own sports shows.

2.By going with the ESPN name and branding it will be a smother transition with ESPN sporting events and talent in Canada.

3. more cross promotion with ESPN in the states

4. might help Bell owned products like the CFL which might be looked at as a bigger product if ESPN were to help promote it on the other side of the border.

5. Bell would keep ahead of Rogers by bringing up ESPN to Canada.

6. potential for future deals with NBA, UFC if it were to become ESPN Canada.

I’m sure their are more to name but rebranding TSN as ESPN in Canada might be the best way for TSN to stay ahead of Sportsnet even if they own NHL rights.

December 8, 2013 8:33 pm

I’m not sure the idea that Rogers or MLSE want to buy an NFL team has ever had much reality to it. The NFL requires teams to be controlled by an individual owner (not a corporation like Rogers or MLSE) who does NOT own a team in any of the other major North American sports leagues. And remember that the Bills Toronto series did not involve Rogers acquiring any ownership stake in the team, so even if Rogers was allowed to bid , presumably they would have no advantage over any other potential buyer if and when Wilson ‘s heirs sold the team to the highest bidder.

December 9, 2013 1:38 am

The rumour from Cathal Kelly, Bruce Arthur and Shoalts re the NFL was this:

Bon Jovi, Tannenbaum and Edward Rogers would pool money together to try to buy the Bills and move them to Toronto. Edward Rogers being the primary owner. Then MLSE would build, own and operate the stadium.

So MLSE would be intertwined in it all, but Edward Rogers (or Tannenbaum) would be the principle owner.

December 9, 2013 9:05 am

Doesnt Paul Allen own the Seahawks and Trailblazers?

And depending on your definition of major, some people own nfl and mls teams, including Robert Kraft.

December 9, 2013 10:28 am

Re: NFL ownership policies, back in 97 a vote was held allowing multiple pro teams to be owned, this was done for Huizinga, not sure if or how the policy has changed since.

Mike S
Mike S
December 9, 2013 10:31 am

Since TSN already has Sunday/Monday Night Football and Sunday early afternoon football I guess this means they will be adding Thursday nights and Sunday late afternoons……………this will give them quite a bit of programming between September and December but there is still a big void without hockey and a huge void when the NFL season is over

I wonder if TSN will try to acquire the rights to the MLB playoffs including the World Series………….does anyone know how many more years Sportsnet has those rights ???

December 9, 2013 11:33 am

Alex, I’ve read that:
(a) you are permitted to own franchise in another sport if it’s in the same city, and/or
(b) you are permitted to own franchise in another sport in another city ONLY if that city does not have an NFL team.

So, the NFL allows Paul Allen to own the Seahawks while owning the Trail Blazers because Portland does not have an NFL team.

Robert Kraft can own both the Pats and the Revolution because they are in the same city (actually, I don’t know if the protectionism includes MLS as well), but could not, for example, buy the Buffalo Sabres, because it would infringe on the Bills territory.

I’ve heard what Daniel mentioned too, in the supposed Toronto NFL plan that MLSE would not be a direct owner, but owner/operator of stadium, so even if there was an issue of cross-ownership, it wouldn’t be an issue because they would not be owners of the NFL team.

Mike V
Mike V
December 9, 2013 11:43 am

What about Stan Kroenke then? He owns the Rams in St. Louis and the Nuggets and Avalanche in Denver.

December 9, 2013 1:22 pm

Kroenke’s kid is the majority owner of the franchises in Denver.

December 9, 2013 2:59 pm

NFL and Bell Media Extend and Expand Canadian Broadcast Agreement

– Multi-year deal delivers expanded NFL content to Bell Media beginning 2014/15 –

– For the first time, Sunday 4 p.m. package comes to CTV, TSN –

– New digital rights deliver NFL games to fans on internet and wireless devices –

To tweet this release:

TORONTO and NEW YORK (December 9, 2013) – Bell Media and the National Football League announced today a multi-year extension of their broadcast partnership that will see more NFL games on more Bell Media channels and platforms than ever before. The agreement brings the 4 p.m. Sunday package to CTV and TSN for the first time, allowing for a full day of Sunday NFL programming on Bell Media channels (see below for Sunday lineup). The new agreement is complementary to the existing agreement for primetime games on TSN.

Beginning Fall 2014, Bell Media becomes the rights holder to NFL football in Canada for:

Sunday 1 p.m. regular-season games
Sunday 4 p.m. regular-season games
Sunday Night regular-season games
Monday Night regular-season games
All Playoff Games

Fans will now receive Sunday afternoon games on conventional (CTV/CTV Two) and specialty (TSN/TSN2) at both 1 and 4 p.m.

Additionally, the new agreement grants Bell Media digital media rights for the first time, giving Canadian fans the ability to watch NFL games and content on Bell Media TV Everywhere platforms, including CTV GO and TSN GO.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

“As NFL audiences continue to rise, Bell Media is proud to provide even wider access to Canadian NFL fans wherever they may be and on whatever platform,” said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports. “The National Football League is a brand synonymous with excellence and leadership to both fans and advertisers alike. We look forward to elevating the NFL in Canada to even higher peaks.”

“Since partnering with Bell Media we have seen a strong lift in our viewership in Canada,” said Julie Moeller, Vice President of International Media Business Development, NFL. “Starting in 2014, Bell Media will offer live NFL football all day on Sundays across their networks and digital offerings, providing a dynamic viewing experience for the fans. We are pleased to extend our partnership.”

As the home of professional football in Canada, TSN will continue to be Canada’s source for NFL news and information, led by SPORTSCENTRE. In addition to broadcasting NFL programming from ESPN, including NFL COUNTDOWN on Sunday mornings, MONDAY NIGHT COUNTDOWN, and the NFL DRAFT, TSN also broadcasts the Sunday night pre-game show FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA.

NFL Sundays in Canada:


1 p.m. Two games in each market

4 p.m. Two games in each market


8:30 p.m. Sunday night football


TSN has been televising NFL games since 1987, where it is among the Top 3 sports broadcast on the network, while CTV’s partnership with the NFL began in 2007. Since that time, NFL audiences have grown 76% for regular season games on CTV and 48% for playoff games. Since 2012, audiences have spiked for males, up 15% for M18-49 and up 18% for M25-54. The SUPER BOWL remains the most-watched television event in Canada, with an audience of 7.4 million on CTV and RDS in 2013.

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