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Terms of the new agreement were not disclosed, but the latest deal for exclusive Canadian access to original ESPN programming comes just in time as TSN is to lose virtually all access to NHL games from next season as part of a recent US$4.9 billion TV deal signed by Rogers Communications.
That will mean more space on the dial for ESPN Films and live sports events, news and information programming from the U.S. sports media brand.
“The strength of TSN has always been the breadth and depth of our broadcast schedule, and this partnership underscores our commitment to bringing our viewers, clients and partners sports and news content from the United States’ top sports media brand,” said TSN president Stewart Johnston in a statement on Tuesday.
ESPN has a 30 percent equity stake in CTV Specialty Inc., which includes TSN and RDS.
The new multi-year Canadian deal covers ESPN’s slate of college football programming, including the new College Football Playoff system that’s to start in January 2015, NCAA basketball, the Australian Open and the U.S. cable sport channel’s football news programming.
As part of the agreement, Bell Media Radio holds radio broadcast rights, while TSN and RDS digital platforms acquire Canadian media rights to ESPN digital content, including video, fantasy games and ESPN.com’s sports columnists and analysts.
The TSN and RDS deals offer the only legitimate access to ESPN programming by Canadians, as the CRTC, the country’s broadcast regulator, continues to bar the U.S. sports channel from having its TV service carried north of the border.
An exception is ESPN Classic Canada, a niche channel that features replays of live events at least 18 months after they first took place.
ESPN International and TSN and RDS have had a supply deal since 2001.
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