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TORONTO — Canada’s The Sports Network has inked a six-year broadcast deal with North America’s Major League Soccer league.
The national TV rights were previously with rivals CBC and Rogers Sportsnet.
The agreement will give Canadian cable sports channel TSN and its secondary TSN2 channel a national package of 24 MLS games this coming season that feature Toronto FC and the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC team.
Then from 2012-16, TSN’s national broadcast package will see the cable channel air 30 games each season, including matches with the Montreal FC team to come into the league in 2012.
The CBC and Rogers Sportsnet will still have a chance to bid on local rights to Toronto and Montreal games this coming season.
But an MLS spokesman said TSN will have “first priority” to select games for the six-year term of the agreement.
The Toronto and Vancouver pro soccer teams will unveil their local broadcast TV packages shortly.
TSN similarly wrested the national rights to the Canadian Football League away from the CBC.
And the MLS deal is only the latest from TSN after the cable sports channel snagged the rights to the Tour de France pro cycling race in July, and the exclusive local rights to the EURO 2012 and 2016 European football championships from the Union of European Football Associations.
TSN and Rogers Sportsnet, a regional sports channel owned by Rogers Communications, aired the Euro 2008 competition together.
TSN and Rogers Sportsnet also jointly outbid the CBC for the Canadian rights to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics events.
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