SPORTSNET is a Canadian English-language sports specialty service .
It was established in 1998 as CTV SPORTSNET, a joint venture between
Liberty Media , and
Rogers Media . CTV parent Bell Globemedia
then was required to divest its stake in the network following its
2001 acquisition of competing network TSN . Rogers then became the
sole owner of
Sportsnet in 2004 after it bought the remaining minority
stake that was held by Fox .
Sportsnet license comprises four 24-hour programming services;
Sportsnet was originally licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and
Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as a category A service ,
operating as a group of regional sports networks offering programming
tailored to each feed's region (in contrast to TSN, which was licensed
at the time to operate as a national sports service, and could only
offer limited regional opt-outs). Since 2011, the service has
operated under deregulated category C licensing, which allows
Sportsnet to operate multiple feeds with no restrictions on alternate
programming. In each region, only the local
Sportsnet channel is
available on analogue cable, but all four channels are available
nationally via digital cable (subject to blackouts for some
Sportsnet feeds air some common programming and simulcast
major, national events, but are capable of airing programming
autonomously—most prominently regional programming.
Sportsnet is the
national cable rightsholder of the
National Hockey League
National Hockey League , and also
holds regional rights to five of the league's Canadian franchises. It
is also the national rightsholder of
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball in Canada
(although most of
ESPN 's MLB broadcasts are sub-licensed to rival
network TSN ), and the exclusive broadcaster of the co-owned Toronto
Blue Jays . It also splits regional coverage of the
Toronto Raptors with TSN;
Rogers Communications and TSN's
Bell Canada own a joint majority stake in the teams\'
parent company .
Sportsnet brand has since been extended beyond the original
regional channels, now encompassing the national channels Sportsnet
Sportsnet One (and its regional part-time companion channels),
Sportsnet World ;
Sportsnet Radio stations in
Toronto and Calgary;
Sportsnet Magazine . With these brand extensions, Rogers now
generally uses "Sportsnet" (by itself) to denote its sports media
properties as a whole, and on-air promotions for programs being
carried nationally by these four regional feeds often list all four
channels separately, or refer to the
Sportsnet "regional" (or "main")
channels, to avoid any ambiguity. However, standalone mentions of
"Sportsnet" in reference to a specific channel can still generally be
assumed to be referring to the four regional channels (or the specific
regional channel available locally on analogue cable).
According to Rogers,
Sportsnet is available in 8.2 million Canadian
* 1 History
* 1.1 Acquisition by Rogers
* 1.2 Expansion
* 1.2.1 "Fuelled By Fans" re-launch
* 1.3 2013–present
* 2 Regional feeds
* 3 Programming
* 3.1 Hockey coverage
* 3.1.1 National NHL contracts
* 3.2 Olympics coverage
* 4 Original programs
* 5 Notable on-air staff
* 5.1 Notable alumni
* 6 Other services
* 6.1 Internet streaming
Ultra high-definition television
* 7 References
* 8 Sources
* 9 External links
Sportsnet was approved by the CRTC in September 1996 under the
tentative name S3, with Baton Broadcasting Inc. (later renamed to CTV
Inc.) holding a 40% controlling interest in the network, and 20%
minority stakes held by
Rogers Media and
Liberty Media . The network
proposed a structure with an emphasis on regional programming,
operating four feeds to serve different areas of the country.
The network launched on October 9, 1998 as CTV SPORTSNET, under the
ownership of CTV, Rogers, and Liberty; the latter which owned some of
the Fox Sports Net operations that Fox ran in the United States after
which the channel was named.
The new network gained credibility before it went on the air, having
acquired national cable rights to the
National Hockey League
National Hockey League from
long-time holder TSN . From 1998–99 until 2001–02 , Sportsnet
aired NHL games to a national audience throughout the regular season,
and covered first-round playoff series not involving Canadian teams.
Its first live sports event was an NHL opening night telecast between
Philadelphia Flyers and
New York Rangers . The national cable
rights to the NHL returned to TSN in 2002, though
regional broadcast rights for most Canadian NHL teams.
ACQUISITION BY ROGERS
When CTV purchased NetStar, the former parent company of TSN, in
2000, the CRTC ordered CTV to sell either TSN or its stake in
Sportsnet. CTV ultimately chose to retain TSN, and sell its stake in
Sportsnet. The other shareholders had first right of refusal; as
Rogers was the only interested party, it acquired CTV's stake in the
summer of 2001, and soon after renamed it ROGERS SPORTSNET. During
part of the transition period, during which time the channel was known
as "Sportsnet", CTV was allowed to control programming on both
networks, and some cross-affiliation and programs that were going to
be tape-delayed on TSN, most notably figure skating , were given to
Sportsnet. In 2004, Rogers then bought the remaining 20 percent stake
Sportsnet had been based there from the beginning, TSN's
operations would move to CTV's suburban
Toronto complex, 9 Channel
Nine Court , following the acquisition. This led to some peculiarities
related to the fact that the two rival sports channels were only
separated by a "parking lot ", leading to jokes and references from
both networks. On April 30, 2008, Rogers
Sportsnet moved its broadcast
9 Channel Nine Court to the Rogers Building , a
cluster of buildings in the Mount Pleasant-Jarvis Street area of
In 2010, Rogers began to extend the
Sportsnet brand beyond the
original regional networks with the August 14 launch of Rogers
Sportsnet One – a national companion channel promising 800 hours of
live events per year. The channel was also accompanied by additional
part-time feeds to serve as overflow channels for its regional NHL
coverage. Sportsnet's original "Player" logo
maintained the same basic form until 2011. The logos are of
pre-launch, 1998–2001, 2001–2010, and 2010–2011
In January 2011, Rogers' sports radio stations,
Fan 590") and
Calgary ("The Fan 960"), were rebranded as
Sportsnet Radio Fan 590" and "
Sportsnet Radio Fan 960" respectively.
Critics speculated that the
Sportsnet Radio branding was intended to
increase synergy with its television counterparts, upon rumors that
TSN would be launching a sports radio network of its own .
In July 2011, Rogers announced that it would be rebranding its
premium international sports channel
Setanta Sports Canada as
Sportsnet World " on October 3, 2011 – a move that would allow the
channel better opportunities for cross-promotion with other Sportsnet
services. As part of the transition,
Setanta Sports sold its minority
ownership interest in the channel to MLM Management.
On September 29, 2011, Rogers published the first issue of Sportsnet
Magazine , a bi-weekly sports magazine positioned "for Canadian sports
fans", covering professional sports from a Canadian perspective.
Stephen Brunt left his position at The Globe and Mail
newspaper to become the magazine's back page columnist.
"Fuelled By Fans" Re-launch
On October 3, 2011, Rogers
Sportsnet underwent a major rebranding,
introducing a revamped logo and visual appearance designed in
conjunction with Troika Design Group , and a new image campaign
("Fuelled By Fans"). Additionally, the network's official name was
shortened to just SPORTSNET. The new logo does not incorporate the
previous "player" emblem that had been used in the network's branding
since its original launch, as research performed by Rogers indicated
that its association with
Sportsnet did not resonate well with
viewers. The redesign of
Sportsnet was overseen by Dean Bender, who
served as the network's creative director upon its original launch as
On August 25, 2012, Rogers announced that it would acquire the
television assets of
Score Media , owners of The Score Television
Network (a competing sports network which primarily airs sports news
and highlights, alongside event coverage), in a transaction valued at
$167 million. The acquisition itself closed on October 19, 2012, at
which point Score Media's digital assets (including its website and
mobile apps ) were spun off into another company, theScore Inc. , in
Rogers Media would retain a 10% interest. Score Media's TV
properties were immediately placed into a blind trust , under trustee
Peter Viner, pending final CRTC approval. Rogers plans to continue
running the network as a sports news service.
The acquisition and Rogers' proposed amendments (which included a
reduction in the frequency of sports updates during live events) were
approved by the CRTC on April 30, 2013; the same day, The Score also
began to air more Sportsnet-produced programming, including a
simulcast of CJCL's afternoon show Tim the channel changed its name to
Sportsnet 360 on July 1, 2013.
Similarly to regional sports networks in the United States, Sportsnet
is operated in four regional feeds. While the feeds carry national
programming as well, they primarily broadcast sporting events tailored
to the region they serve. The four regional feeds are listed in the
All four feeds are available in both standard and high definition
formats. Although cable providers in Canada are permitted to carry
only the local
Sportsnet feed on analogue cable packages, all four
feeds can be carried on digital television services. However, in some
instances, programming on the out-of-market
particularly regional NHL games, are blacked out due to league
restrictions on teams' regional broadcast rights. Since the revival of
Winnipeg Jets in 2011, regional Flames and Oilers games on
Sportsnet West have also been blacked out in Manitoba, despite it
being the "local"
Sportsnet feed for that province.
DESCRIPTION AND PROGRAMMING
Regional feed for
British Columbia and the
Yukon ; airs regional
Vancouver Canucks games.
Regional feed for the Prairies , the
Northwest Territories and
Nunavut ; airs regional
Calgary Flames and
Edmonton Oilers games
Winnipeg Jets region.
Regional feed for most of
Ontario ; airs regional
Leafs , also
Ottawa Senators games.
Regional feed for eastern
Atlantic Canada ;
Montreal Canadiens games.
Sportsnet is the main television outlet for
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball in
Canada: it is the exclusive television outlet for the
Jays (which are also owned by Rogers), airing all of its games and
other Blue Jays-related programming throughout the season. It also
holds Canadian rights to Fox Saturday Baseball , the All-Star Game and
the postseason (through Fox, TBS and
MLB International ). Sportsnet
also carries other MLB games simulcast from U.S. regional sports
Sportsnet began airing
National Football League
National Football League games Starting with
the 2005 season, splitting late games across the Pacific and West
feeds, and the East and
Ontario feeds. The games not shown in the
opposite regions were carried regionally by City . It also had rights
Thursday Night Football and the American Thanksgiving games .
Sportsnet lost all NFL broadcasting rights for the 2017 season.
Sportsnet carries a large amount of soccer programming; it has been
the Canadian broadcaster of the
English Premier League since 1998, and
also held rights to the
UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League and
Europa League .
Sportsnet lost UEFA coverage to TSN for 2015, but gained rights to
Bundesliga matches beginning in the 2015-16 season.
Canadian Championship , an annual competition featuring
Canada's five professional soccer teams –
Toronto FC , Montreal
Vancouver Whitecaps FC ,
FC Edmonton , and
Ottawa Fury FC ,
until TSN aquired full rights in 2017.
Sportsnet aired coverage of the FIFA World Cup as part of a
consortium with TSN and CTV. From 2011 through 2014, beginning with
the 2011 FIFA Women\'s World Cup , CBC sub-licensed cable rights to
FIFA tournaments to Sportsnet, including the
2014 FIFA World Cup
2014 FIFA World Cup .
Since the acquisition of the City stations (known as Citytv at the
time of the acquisition) by Rogers,
Sportsnet began providing sports
updates for those channels in some cases, although certain stations
retain their own sports departments. In the event of programming
Sportsnet has occasionally moved
Calgary Flames , Edmonton
Vancouver Canucks games to the local City station, although
the network's current preference is to use
Sportsnet One 's companion
channels for this purpose instead.
On February 8, 2011,
Sportsnet announced that it had signed a
multi-year deal with
Tennis Canada to acquire early round rights to
the Rogers Cup .
Sportsnet also acquired rights to the ATP World Tour
Masters 1000 and
ATP World Tour 500 series events. As per an
extension of Rogers' sponsorship rights to the tournament, Sportsnet
holds sole rights to the Rogers Cup beginning in 2016. In 2016,
Sportsnet lost the ATP tours to TSN, but it still maintains exclusive
rights to the Rogers Cup, as well as the
Davis Cup and
Fed Cup .
In February 2013,
Sportsnet announced that it would become the
official Canadian broadcaster of the
IndyCar Series beginning in the
2013 season in a five-year deal with the series. The new contract
includes broadcasts on Sportsnet's networks and City, and French
rights sub-licensed to
TVA Sports . Additionally,
originates coverage from the
Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg ,
Indianapolis 500 and Honda Indy
Toronto , with
Bill Adam , Todd Lewis
Rob Faulds . Canadian driver
Paul Tracy joined
Sportsnet as an
In May 2013,
Sportsnet reached a six-year deal for rights to the
Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), such as the
Mitchell Bowl ,
Uteck Bowl , and
Vanier Cup .
Sportsnet also covers curling coverage with CBC such as the Grand
Slam of Curling since 2012.
Sportsnet is a major broadcaster of
National Hockey League
National Hockey League games; the
network is the current national cable rightsholder to the league, and
regularly airs nationally televised games on Wednesday, Saturday
nights as part of
Hockey Night in Canada , and Sunday nights as part
of Rogers Hometown Hockey.
Sportsnet is also a major regional
broadcaster of the NHL; its four regional feeds carry regional
telecasts of five of the seven Canadian franchises, including the
Montreal Canadiens on
Sportsnet East, the
Toronto Maple Leafs on
Ontario (split with
TSN4 beginning in 2014-15; Rogers and
Bell Canada own a joint, majority stake in the team's parent company
Maple Leaf Sports it aired a package of Tuesday night games, along
with coverage of non-Canadian matchups from the first round of the
Stanley Cup Playoffs.
On November 26, 2013,
Rogers Communications announced that it had
reached a 12-year deal to become the exclusive national rightsholder
for the National Hockey League, again displacing TSN, along with CBC ,
a deal which began in the 2014-15 season. Valued at $5.2 billion and
covering both television and digital media rights to the league, the
value of the contract surpassed the league's most recent U.S. rights
deal with NBC . Alongside its existing regional rights,
airs Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey, along with games during Hockey
Night in Canada .
In early 2005,
Rogers Media and
CTVglobemedia jointly acquired
broadcast rights to the Vancouver
2010 Winter Olympics
2010 Winter Olympics , as well as
2012 Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics . This was considered a serious coup,
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) had consistently won
Olympic broadcast rights from the
1996 Summer Olympics
1996 Summer Olympics through to the
2008 Summer Olympics
2008 Summer Olympics . CTV and V were the primary broadcasters;
Sportsnet, TSN and RDS provided supplementary coverage. Rogers
announced in 2011 that it would not bid with CTVglobemedia's
Bell Media for the rights to the 2014 and 2016 games,
citing scheduling and financial issues.
Bell Media did attempt to partner with the CBC in 2011 to bid
for coverage, CBC reached a deal of its own in August 2012, winning
the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games. On February 7, 2013, CBC
announced that it had reached deals with
Sportsnet and TSN for both
networks to become their official cable partners, beginning at the
2014 Winter Olympics
2014 Winter Olympics . CBC will continue this sub-licensing
agreement through the
2020 Summer Olympics
2020 Summer Olympics .
Sportsnet televised coverage of the
2015 Pan-American Games , also as
part of a sub-license with CBC; it aired coverage of the soccer
tournaments, as well as a Men's basketball semi-final game involving
Sportsnet Central – The daily sports news/highlights program of
Sportsnet. Hosted by various personalities. Formerly known as
Sportscentral, Sportsnetnews, and
Hockey Central – News and reports from the NHL. Hosted by Daren
Millard , and features hockey analysts
Nick Kypreos ,
Bill Watters and
Gord Stellick .
Hockey Central at Noon – Simulcast from
CJCL ; News and reports
from the NHL. Hosted by Millard and features either
Nick Kypreos or
Bill Berg as co-host.
* Premier League Matchday – News and reports from the Canadian and
world soccer scene and highlights from matches from all the major
leagues in Europe and around the world with Gerry Dobson and Craig
* Tim -webkit-column-width: 20em; column-width: 20em;">
David Amber (also with
CBC Sports )
* Jamie Campbell
* Anthony Carelli
Don Cherry (also with CBC Sports)
* Bob Cole
Elliotte Friedman (also with CBC Sports)
* John Garrett
Ron MacLean (also with CBC Sports)
* Dan Murphy
Scott Oake (also with CBC Sports)
* Kevin Quinn
* John Shannon
Dan Shulman (also with
This list includes the all time
Sportsnet 360 staff dated to its days
as The Score.
* Dean Brown (at TSN)
* Chantal Desjardins
Darren Dreger (at TSN)
Erin Hawksworth (at
* Mike Johnson
Steve Kouleas (at TSN)
Gabriel Morency (at The Fight Network)
Arda Ocal (at
WWE as Kyle Edwards)
Sara Orlesky (at TSN)
* Renee Paquette (at
Renee Young )
* Cabral "Cabbie" Richards (at TSN )
* Don Taylor (at TSN)
Adnan Virk (at
Sportsnet operates a
TV Everywhere service known as SPORTSNET NOW,
which streams the programming of the
Sportsnet regional channels,
Sportsnet One, and
Sportsnet 360. On March 31, 2016, Rogers announced
Sportsnet Now would be made available without a television
subscription as a subscription-based over-the-top streaming service,
priced at $ 24.99 per-month. the service remains free to authenticated
Sportsnet on participating providers.
Sportsnet operates four high-definition feeds, one for each regional
Sportsnet operated one national feed that
consisted primarily of a simulcast of
Sportsnet Ontario, carrying
nationally televised events, or separate content from other regional
feeds. That feed was launched on September 1, 2003.
Sportsnet began using a second high-definition feed in order
to broadcast select
Vancouver Canucks ,
Calgary Flames , Edmonton
Toronto Maple Leafs and
Ottawa Senators hockey games in HD,
beginning in the
2007–08 NHL season , activated only in the regions
where a game is set to be televised. On January 26, 2009, the national
HD feed was replaced by individual HD feeds for each region.
ULTRA HIGH-DEFINITION TELEVISION
On October 5, 2015, Rogers announced that it planned to produce 101
sports telecasts in 4K ultra-high-definition format in 2016, including
Toronto Blue Jays home games, and "marquee" NHL games beginning in
January 2016. These broadcasts are offered via 4K event channels on
participating television providers.
On January 14, 2016, in cooperation with
BT Sport , Sportsnet
broadcast the first ever
NBA game produced in 4K, and the first live
sporting event in 4K in Canadian history—a
Toronto Raptors /Orlando
Magic game at O2 Arena in
London . Sportsnet's first domestic 4K
Toronto Maple Leafs/
Montreal Canadiens game, aired January
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* Official website