I asked this in another forum but I might get more traction here...
There was a time, not too long ago, when TSN was the king of Canadian Sports TV. Then Rogers:
Bought the Blue Jays and their games;
Stole (almost) every NHL game from under TSN's nose;
Prevented MLSE from buying the Argos - TBH, the team is in serious trouble and, if they survive, will likely not have a home after 2017.
A year (too late) after losing the NHL national package, TSN expanded to 5 feeds. For what? To show:
A) MLB non Jays games? Who will watch?
B) CFL games (possibly) without a Toronto franchise? How profitable will it be without a team in Canada's biggest market?
C) NFL games on Sunday? Where's the Canadian content?
D) MLS? TV ratings are friends and family numbers.
That leaves Curling (which does really well), the World Juniors (amazing numbers), the CHL(I THINK they have bought the rights), and well... poker and darts.
As an owner of BCE stock, I appreciate the march up in stock price and the increase in dividends but how long do they put profit ahead of quality. How far does TSN fall? To me, it's sad how far the mighty have fallen and the worse thing that happened to TSN was Keith Pelley leaving.
Well considering that Rogers just cut their CIS coverage because they anticipate losing hundreds of millions on the NHL contract, I think TSN is sitting pretty. Rogers just blew their brains out and now all TSN has to do is wait for the body bag to arrive and renegotiate a reasonable deal with the NHL
TSN/RDS are going to be OK through the NHL regular season because of all the regional games they will have in local markets for the Leafs, Jets, Sens and Habs which will help them keep decent ratings for their programs like That's Hockey Tonight and Sportscentre.
They get solid ratings for their NFL and CFL games in summer fall until December. They still have the World Juniors at Christmas. They are gonna be weak programming wise through the late April/May and June time frame when Rogers has both the NHL play-offs and Jays. They've got to hope the Raptors last a couple of rounds in the NBA playoffs to get a few nights or afternoons of good ratings for those games.
But they do certainly face some challenges - that's for sure.
And FYI - TSN and RDS are paying HUGE money for their regional deals for the Sens, Habs, Leafs and Jets. In some cases a million dollars a game!
Braleys priority is getting the Argos into BMO field. He may even continue to own the team when they move to a new stadium. He has his sights set on getting this team a home it can be profitable in. It wont go homeless.
No question Rogers has risen in the media sportsworld lately, I'm not going to deny that. But I rarely watch Sportsnet or 360 since the only games I really watch start to finish are CFL games and NFL games (just playoffs mainly though). Also World Juniors I do watch start to finish when Canada is playing and other big games in the tournament. Just about everything else sports wise I watch on a sports newscast wrap-up and that is Sportscentre for me and not Connected if that's what it's still called. If I had my way I'd drop Sportsnet in a second but it comes with my basic cable package. But I'm not going to deny that I'm a rare type of sportsviewer especially in S Ontario where my guess is Sportsnet is king. I also just don't like Rogers much so I do try and purposely not watch Sportsnet, will admit that.
And if TSN is falling, why are there now 5 TSN channels (believe that to be the case)? :?
The bottom line for all these so called sports channels here in Canada, how many ways can you slice the pie.
Diluting the viewership I believe is not beneficial to either competitor, be it 11-15 of Rogers and TSN combined or whatever is the total without the specialty sports related added.
I would be surprised if any are making money.
As far as the MLB, yes the Jays are a hot item now, but that's after tanking for nearly two decades. It's no stretch of the imagination of the org regressing in 5 years (or less). I will admit, yes the Jays are the most popular Canadian franchise, and yes the MLB has finally dragged itself out from under the weight of the steroid scandals, but other MLB games are still watched. No matter where you go, there are always Yankee fans and Red Sox fans, which TSN tends to grab.
As far as the CFL, it's still the second most viewed sports property in Canada. Assuming the Argos do fold (which at this point is far from a sure thing) the league is still pulling in solid figures across the nation, and Hamilton also serves the market to a degree. There would be a hit yes, but I think now with Ottawa in the league, you aren't going to see a massive dive in the ratings compared to the boosted ratings the league has now that Ottawa is back. This is of course assuming Braley doesn't work out a deal with MLSE, doesn't find a new home for the Argos and opts to fold the team and the league then also opts to fold the team. If it gets resolved, it's a mute point and there are 3 years to resolve it.
As far as the NFL, the NFL is the third most valuable sports property in Canada and TSN will of course look to expand coverage here. The affiliation with ESPN tends to leave TSN in the position of getting favorable games.
As far as MLS, the thing with MLS is while the ratings aren't stellar, the TV deal is dirt cheap. Consider that the rights for the US broadcast are $38 Million total across 4 providers, the Canadian deal is likely around the $5 million range.
As far as the other broadcasts, you pretty much explained it. Curling does very well and they have the deal for the Briar, Scotties and the Worlds, the Juniors and various National team events they also have and does crazy good. I'm not sure about the CHL, and how well it draws but I'd assume decent enough for TSN2 or 3 at least. TSN I believe owns the rights to all of the golf majors, the Canadian open and the Ryder Cup. They also seem to have cornered Tennis too, and have a decent chunk of the Premier League. There's always La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga to grab. TSN also seems to be getting the better NBA games, for what that is worth. They also have a solid chunk of NCAA Football and I believe they also have March Maddness locked up. I think TSN also gets most of the racing stuff, Formula 1 and NASCAR, but that's a limited market up here.
As far as other Canadian content, obviously having the CFL is huge. The Canadian Open is there I believe, plus the Briar, Scotties, every IHL Canadian broadcast. Pretty sure they have the rights for the Raptors and the good NBA games. They also are still picking up the NHL games Rogers simply can't broadcast (who btw many are reporting the TV deal was way too much). You also touched base on CHL hockey rights, but also CIS Football is now available, as is Canadian Lacrosse. There is also some talk about CFL owners and the NASL getting together to have a Canadian Soccer League in the NASL operate similar to the MLB's National and American league's which is more Canadian content. Given Ottawa and Edmonton are already there and there appears to be a lot of rumbling coming from Hamilton, it's a distinct possibility. There's also the Canadian national Soccer and Rugby teams. TSN has found some success with Rugby, although the Canadian National Soccer team I think Rogers has the broadcast rights. You also have three Canadian based AHL teams, two in the "Hockey Starved" southern Ontario market, who are the minor teams of the two biggest hockey franchises in world. They are just asking for someone to improve the broadcast quality and gain affluence that kind of television marketing can bring. Rogers has grabbed a couple games, as has CBC but no one really has committed to the league, which if you are starved for content, is an easy pickup to broadcast all the games. Unsure if the US affiliates of the Canucks, Oilers, Sens and Flames would count, likely not. Most of all though, Sportscentre remains a vastly superior product to Sportsnet Connected and it's produced in Canada. Running it 24/7 at all times on one of the channels just makes sense.
Point is though, there is plenty of content and Canadian content out there to grab and TSN to me, I've found, has a much broader content then Rogers does. They do a much better job of polishing up content then Rogers does. The only item of interest to me is that Rogers pulls in more UFC and MMA events, but they compete with other networks (FOX for one) for much of that content, and will likely never sway the UFC or Boxing away from the PPV model. The only really big item I see with Rogers having now is the Stanley Cup Playoffs in April and May. Any other month, TSN has the better content or is on par with them.
Rogers and Sportsnet will not renew their contract with the NHL and it well go back to TSN in 15 years. Rogers are not stupid, they have plans and it has already started. You can get the NHL Centre Ice package on your phone.....if you are with Rogers. The fact they picked up the digital rights was key for them. I said this from the day they announced the deal, there will be few games available on free TV (including Sportsnet) than in over a decade starting this season and each year will see less and less. Rogers will move as much as they can to a variety of pay services.
Are you a fan of CHL hockey? Kiss those broadcasts goodbye. We'll be lucky if Sportsnet shows a game a week one Sportsnet One, which few subscribers get, and the Memorial Cup in May will get third world status behind NHL playoffs and Blue Jays baseball.
I dropped Sportsnet at the end of the Memorial Cup last May because that's the only thing I watch on Sportsnet and I don't see CHL hockey getting much play on their channel this season. Rogers sucks and they should, and will, take a huge finacial hit for this contract.
I prepared to give Sportsnet a bit of a break. I do hate their lackadaisical coverage of the CHL and I absolutely despise them for dropping the CIS/OUA after signing a new contract. But they are one of the few networks out there (plus the CBC to a lesser degree) that does show some of the other sports that I do enjoy, like skiing, cycling, canoe/kayaking, and the rest of the so called "Olympic" sports. If there was another option for these - in the up coming pick and pay universe - I'd drop Sportsnet like dirty underwear.