COC pushes Canadian amateur athletics channel


TORONTO -- The Canadian Olympic Committee on Wednesday unveiled plans to launch twin English- and French-language amateur sport channels, pending regulatory approval.

The two proposed domestic channels -- Canadian Amateur Sports Network and le Reseau du sport amateur canadien -- aim to showcase Olympic and non-Olympic amateur sports at regional, national and international events.

"Between Olympic Games, it is as if there are no Canadian athletes. Our networks will bring more sports and more young Canadians to the attention of Canadians," said Richard Pound, a veteran International Olympic Committee member and chairman of the proposed COC channels.

The applications were formally submitted by the COC to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the country's TV regulator, which is expected to hold hearings on a possible new domestic sports channel before rendering a decision.

The CRTC also is expected to shortly receive an application from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to launch an all-sports digital channel. Programming on the proposed CBC channel will include sporting events with cash prizes, in addition to amateur sports.

The COC will ask the CRTC to grant its twin amateur sports channels mandatory carriage on domestic cable and satellite TV schedules.

The CBC, for its part, will ask the CRTC to make carriage of its proposed sports channel optional.