CBC Takes Top Foreign Figure Skating TV Rights

Two weeks after rival CTV grabbed the local TV rights to domestic Skate Canada events for ten years, the CBC responded Wednesday with a five-year deal to air International Skating Union competitions.

TORONTO -- It’s a TV figure skating rivalry worthy of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.

After rival CTV two weeks ago grabbed the marquee Skate Canada TV property away from the CBC with a new ten-year deal, the public broadcaster on Wednesday answered with a five-year deal with the International Skating Union to air top international figure skating and speed-skating events.

CTV’s plum Skate Canada deal includes all premier domestic figure skating competitions like the Skate Canada International, which annually draws the top international skaters, and the Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

But the CBC’s ISU rights deal hands the public broadcaster access to top international competitions like the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.

Like the Olympic Games, much depends on which country and time zone is hosting the top ISU events, and which champion figure skaters attend or sit out in any given year.

But by securing the broadcast rights to international events where the best Canadian skaters will compete and fill local TV screens, the CBC has managed to keep pace with CTV, which in recent years has made it a habit of taking key TV sport properties, including the Canadian rights to the Olympics, away from the public broadcaster.