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Sports broadcasting contracts in Canada

This article refers to sports broadcasting contracts in Canada. For broadcasting rights lists of other countries, see Sports television broadcast contracts.


Major League Baseball


National Basketball Association

The NBA's Canadian marketing arm is managed by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, parent company of the Toronto Raptors. In turn, MLSE is majority-owned by Bell Canada and Rogers Communications; as such, coverage is mostly confined to their co-owned TSN and Sportsnet properties, along with the MLSE-owned NBA TV Canada. Toronto Raptors games are primarily aired by TSN and TSN2, with selected games airing on Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, or Sportsnet 360.[1] Ancillary Raptors content, including game encores, air on NBA TV Canada.

TSN2 airs most regular-season TNT games, and TSN exclusively carries the NBA Finals (although virtually every viewer who receives TSN also gets ABC from their cable or satellite service provider; although it is not legally required to, co-owned provider Bell TV will simsub ABC feeds with TSN). Some of ABC's non-Finals games are simulcast on CHCH-TV, allowing for simsubs for those in the Hamilton and Toronto regions. NBA TV Canada primarily carries NBA TV and other ESPN games.

All remaining games are available through the NBA League Pass out-of-market sports package.


TSN owns the Canadian broadcast rights to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament through a deal with ESPN International. CBS coverage of the tournament is also available in Canada.

Coverage of regular-season games vary; both Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network, along with U.S. network broadcasts of games are available, while TSN simulcasts selected ESPN games throughout the season.


Asian Television Network owns the vast majority of Canadian cricket rights, with marquee events typically airing live on CBN, and selected events and other programming airing on ATN Cricket Plus. ATN also owns the rights to the ICC Cricket World Cup, this tournament is broadcast on pay-per-view throughout Canada.

The Indian Premier League was telecast live on CBN with replays and highlights on ATN Cricket Plus. However, starting with the 2011 IPL tournament, games were shifted to being aired live on pay-per-view and on Sportsnet.



Canadian Football League

  • TSN – all games including playoffs and Grey Cup
  • RDS – all Montreal games in French; as well as playoffs and the Grey Cup.

National Football League

Contracts are current as of the 2014 NFL season.

  • CTV – Sunday afternoon games in both the "early" (1:00 pm ET) and "late" (4:05 / 4:25 pm ET) windows, most playoff games, and the Super Bowl.
    • CTV Two occasionally airs additional Sunday afternoon games. In Atlantic Canada, all regular-season games in the Sunday late-afternoon window are relocated to CTV Two Atlantic.
    • Additional Sunday afternoon games, and playoff games interfering with other major events carried on CTV, may air on one or more of the TSN feeds. The divisional playoff game on late Sunday afternoon usually airs on TSN due to the possibility of a late-running game interfering with CTV's broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards that evening.
  • TSN – Airs all games in the NBC Sunday Night Football and ESPN Monday Night Football packages, including the NFL Kickoff game, but excluding NBC's game on U.S. Thanksgiving night. CTV may have the option to simulcast these games, as occurred for the 2007 New England Patriots-New York Giants game (following the last-minute decision to simulcast that NFLN game on NBC and CBS; at that time TSN also held the NFLN package), but Bell TV does simsub TSN's simulcasts over U.S. feeds.
  • Sportsnet – All games in the Thursday Night Football package, all (U.S.) Thanksgiving Day games, and the Pro Bowl. Games originated by U.S. broadcast networks are usually simulcast (for simsub purposes) on City or Omni.
  • RDS / RDS2 – exclusive French-language rights. Presently RDS carries selected Sunday games (up to two per week in either the 1:00, 4:05/4:25, and 8:30 ET timeslots, mainly towards the end of the season) and the playoffs, and RDS2 carries Monday night games.

NBC, CBS, and Fox are available in Canada but their broadcasts may be subject to simultaneous substitution. NFL Network is available as well, but its games are similarly blacked out in Canada in deference to Sportsnet. Finally, NFL Sunday Ticket is also available through virtually all service providers, whereas in the U.S. the service is exclusive to DirecTV.

Due to Canadian regulations that permit stations from different areas to be carried in the same market, several games may be available in each of the Sunday timeslots through a combination of domestic and American stations from different areas, without a subscription to Sunday Ticket. By contrast, outside a handful of areas where multiple neighbouring network affiliates are available, no more than three games may be aired in a given U.S. market on any Sunday afternoon (up to four games in week 17).

Canadian college football

As of 2013, Sportsnet broadcasts the national CIS playoff games, namely the Mitchell Bowl, the Uteck Bowl, and the Vanier Cup. Ici Radio-Canada Télé carries many QSSF games.[6] Games not covered by these contracts are often carried by local cable community channels.

U.S. college football

Most ESPN games are aired by TSN's feeds. The network also holds rights to most bowl games (which were, in the past, shared with Sportsnet 360 as well) and the College Football Playoff.

Coverage of games is also available from U.S. networks carried in Canada, such as Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network, along with broadcast network coverage or syndicated packages (such as American Sports Network on WNYO-TV and WHAM-TV, and formerly SEC TV, aired by WPCH-TV, which has historically been carried on Canadian providers as a superstation). An out-of-market sports package offered by some providers includes other games from U.S. outlets that are not otherwise available in Canada (such as Fox Sports Networks).

Australian Football


  • TSN carries coverage of The Masters (first two rounds live, final two rounds on tape delay), the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship, as well as selected other R&A, USGA and PGA of America events. It also carries a limited schedule of PGA Tour coverage (including the early rounds of the Canadian Open, sub-licensed from Golf Channel). As of 2014, TSN is also the exclusive broadcaster of the Canadian Women's Open.
  • Global carries live weekend coverage of The Masters, as well as most PGA Tour events carried by U.S. network television (in many cases carrying the final round only).
  • Golf Channel (based in the U.S. but available in much of Canada on digital cable/satellite) carries early-round coverage of all PGA Tour events, and four-round coverage of some late/early-season tournaments. This coverage was carried on TSN prior to 2007.



The CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, at that time owned by "Canadian Sports Network", the production arm of MacLaren Advertising, was outbid for the broadcast rights to the 1972 Summit Series by a partnership of Harold Ballard and Bobby Orr, but HNIC staff were used.[8]

Globe and Mail writer Bruce Dowbiggin credits TSN with turning the World Junior Hockey Championships from an obscure non-event when it accuired the rights in 1991 (and which it remains in most hockey countries) to one of Canada's most beloved annual sports events, and at the same time cementing the link between Canadian nationalism and hockey, and inspiring the NHL's Winter Classic.[9][10]

National Hockey League

Rogers Communications is the sole national rightsholder of the NHL in Canada as of the 2014–15 NHL season. Most national telecasts air on Sportsnet properties.[11][12][13]

  • Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey; exclusive national window on Wednesday nights.
  • Simulcasts of NHL on NBC coverage, including Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon games .
  • Thursday night games, mostly U.S.-vs.-U.S., on Sportsnet 360
  • Occasional U.S.-vs.-U.S. games, or "regional" Sportsnet telecasts upgraded to national coverage.
  • Hockey Night in Canada: exclusive national windows on Saturday nights, multiple games airing across CBC Television, City, and Sportsnet channels, along with a single U.S.-vs.-U.S. game primarily on FX Canada.
    • In rare circumstances, due to non-hockey programming conflicts such as UFC events or the Major League Baseball postseason airing on Sportsnet One and/or 360, the Sportsnet regional channels may air different games.[14] However, all four Sportsnet regional channels are available nationwide through the digital services of most providers.
  • Rogers Hometown Hockey: National Sunday night game on City.
  • Minority language content on Omni Television, including a Hockey Night doubleheader with Punjabi language commentary.[15]
  • Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage; finals coverage to air solely on CBC, but may be simulcast across Sportsnet networks as well.
  • Canadian distribution and marketing rights to the NHL GameCentre Live and NHL Centre Ice services

French-language rights were sub-licensed to Quebecor Media. All coverage airs on TVA Sports, with different nights of the week devoted to differently-themed games:[16][17]

  • La super soirée LNH: two Saturday night games, one of which involving the Montreal Canadiens.
  • La soirée des étoiles: games focusing on top players.
  • Les grandes rivalités: games focusing on major rivalries.
  • La soirée des fans: viewer-voted games.
  • All-Star Game, Winter Classic, and Stanley Cup Playoffs.


Canadian teams also contract with local or regional broadcasters for selected pre-season and regular season games not covered by the national contracts. These deals are separate from the national rights deal, and may cover up to 60 regular-season games per season. Rights are current as of the 2014–15 NHL season.

Each team's regional game broadcasts are restricted to viewers of that team's designated home broadcast region as assigned by the NHL. Outside said region, these broadcasts are made available exclusively through NHL Centre Ice (TV) or Rogers NHL GameCentre Live (online). If the originating channel is available outside a team's region (e.g. out-of-market Sportsnet feeds), the game broadcasts must be blacked out in these other areas. Sportsnet also operates part-time channels for the Canucks, Flames, and Oilers in case of scheduling conflicts: these channels are tied to the Sportsnet One service.

Under previous (2002–14) rights deals with RDS, French-language rights to all Canadiens games were included in the national NHL contract and could be televised nationally. With the national rights changing hands to Rogers/TVA as of the 2014–15 season, the Canadiens had the option to either continue packaging its rights with the national deal, or opt-out and sell regional-only rights separately.[19] The Canadiens opted for the latter, signing a separate twelve-year deal with RDS for French-language TV rights in the team's designated broadcast region.[20] (The team is part-owned by TSN/RDS parent company BCE.)

U.S. teams in close proximity to the Canadian border are now also able to sell Canadian regional broadcast rights to their games. As of the 2013–14 season, Bell Satellite TV and Bell Fibe TV own regional rights to Buffalo Sabres broadcasts for portions of Canada within a 50-mile radius of First Niagara Center, approximately stretching from Niagara Falls to the community of Stoney Creek in Hamilton. Sabres game broadcasts are available to Bell TV subscribers in this region at no extra cost, and moreover are no longer available as part of the NHL Centre Ice package through other providers serving this region.[21] The Detroit Red Wings, whose market borders on Windsor, Ontario, is presumably able to sell similar rights but has not yet done so.

As with other sports properties, game broadcasts on U.S. terrestrial stations carried in Canada, such as the NBC broadcast network's national rights package as well as WGN-TV's broadcasts of the Chicago Blackhawks, are not subject to blackout for Canadian cable/satellite subscribers receiving those stations.

Canadian Hockey League

Sportsnet airs the Memorial Cup tournament and selected other games from across the CHL's member leagues. Many regular-season games are aired locally by the applicable cable community channels.

College ice hockey

TSN also carries a package of regular season games from various broadcasters (primarily NBCSN and regional sports networks). Games are also available via Big Ten Network and CBS Sports Network.

Other events

Mixed Martial Arts

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Rights to UFC programs and events in Canada were previously held by Sportsnet under a four-year deal which lasted from 2011 to 2015.[22] TSN airs major events, including PPV preliminaries, domestic UFC Fight Night events, and The Ultimate Fighter. Coverage was also sub-licensed to Fight Network, broadcasting preliminaries for non-PPV events, international Fight Night events. and producing ancillary UFC programming (such as pre-shows) for TSN.[23][24]


FIA Championships

FIM Championships



Touring Car

Sports Car

Drag racing


Major League Soccer

  • National broadcasts: TSN has the primary national broadcast contract for the 2011 to 2016 seasons, including first selection of games involving Canadian teams. Games may air on either TSN or TSN2 in English, and in some cases also on either RDS or RDS2 in French. This includes:
    • 30 games involving Canadian teams per season, with approximately equal appearances by all three Canadian teams.
    • The MLS All-Star Game and MLS Cup for all six seasons. TSN also owns broadcast rights to the MLS Cup Playoffs, but does not usually air all such games.
    • Additional games not involving Canadian teams, presently all simulcast from ESPN / ESPN2 or Fox Sports 1.
  • Regional broadcasts: (Note there are no out-of-market blackouts, so all games are available across Canada to digital cable and satellite subscribers.)

Other domestic leagues

North American/Canadian Soccer

International soccer






  1. ^ Zelkovich, Chris (June 16, 2010). "Sportsnet back in the game with Raptors". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ "TSN, CCA EXTEND CURLING PARTNERSHIP THROUGH 2020 SEASON". Bell Media. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Sportsnet new owner of Grand Slam curling". The Curling News. 30 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "BREAKING: Sportsnet, CBC back on curling ice". The Curling News. 29 August 2012. 
  5. ^ "Grand Slam of Curling returns to CBC". CBC Sports. 30 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sportsnet Announces Six-Year Deal with CIS, Including Vanier Cup". Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Television Info - Aussie Rules TV Coverage for North America in 2015". Australian Football Association of North America. Retrieved 16 April 2015. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Rogers scores national NHL TV rights for $5.2B". CBC. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  12. ^ "500-plus NHL games to air under Rogers deal". Sportsnet. 2014-02-04. Retrieved 2014-02-05. 
  13. ^ Rogers Media (2014-06-22). "Rogers Unveils 2014-15 National NHL Broadcast Schedule". CNW Group. Retrieved 2014-06-22. 
  14. ^ Faguy, Steve (2014-06-22). "NHL schedule: Rogers will air 32 Canadiens games nationally in 2014-15". Fagstein. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  15. ^ "Canadians to Experience NHL Content in 22 Languages, This Season on OMNI Television". Rogers Media. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "TVA SPORTS DÉVOILE SON CALENDRIER". Groupe TVA. 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  17. ^ "NHL, TVA Sports launch French-language agreement". Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "Canadiens, Sportsnet ink new regional deal". Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Cousineau, Sophie (2013-11-28). "TVA to pay Rogers $120-million a year to be NHL's French-language broadcaster". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  20. ^ "Canadiens reach new TV deal with RDS". The Gazette (Montreal). 2013-12-20. Retrieved 2013-12-20. 
  21. ^ Buffalo Sabres (2013-10-09). "SOUTHERN ONTARIO IS NOW "SABRES COUNTRY"". Retrieved 2013-10-16. 
  22. ^ "UFC and Sportsnet agree to four-year deal". 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  23. ^ "UFC reaches Canadian broadcast deal with TSN, RDS". Postmedia News. Retrieved 23 December 2014. UFC reaches Canadian broadcast deal with TSN, RDS 
  24. ^ "TSN, RDS, and Fight Network become new Canadian home for UFC". Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  25. ^ "World RX teams presented in Barcelona". Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  26. ^ "MotoGP™ reaches record global TV coverage for 2015". Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  27. ^ "TSN to broadcast all Whitecaps FC games beginning in 2014". Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  28. ^ "Every Game, All Season Long: MLS ON TSN Kicks Off its Complete Coverage of Vancouver Whitecaps FC This Saturday". Bell Media PR. Retrieved 5 April 2014. 
  29. ^ "Bell Media lands deal for FIFA soccer from 2015 through 2022". October 27, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2011. 
  30. ^ The Sports Network (February 1, 2011). "TSN Acquires Rights to Euro 2012 and 2016". Retrieved February 13, 2011. 
  31. ^ Based on ESPN's announcement of U.S. rights to the same tournaments.