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The Sports Network 2 (TSN2)
TSN2 logo
Launched 1997
August 29, 2008 (relaunch as TSN2)
Owned by CTV Speciality Television Inc. (CTVglobemedia 80%/ESPN 20%)
Picture format 480i SD
720p HD
Country Canada
Broadcast area National
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Formerly called TSN alternate feed (1997-2008)
Replaced TSN alternate feed
Sister channel(s) TSN
Website TSN2
Bell TV Channel 401 (SD)
Channel 851 (HD)
Shaw Direct Channel 401 (SD)
Channel 269 (HD)
Available on many Canadian cable systems Check local listings, channels may vary

TSN2 is a secondary feed of the Canadian English language specialty channel TSN, owned by CTV Specialty Television Inc., a joint venture of CTVglobemedia (80%) and ESPN (20%). It was launched in its current form on August 29, 2008.

TSN and TSN2 operate under a single Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) licence,[1] which originally meant that TSN2 was restricted to a few hours of live programming a day, with all other programs on a three-hour tape delay from TSN's main feed. With the implementation of new conditions of licence from the CRTC in early 2010, which permit multiple feeds with no limits on additional programming,[2] the tape delay is no longer strictly observed, with other original or repeat programming from the TSN and ESPN libraries airing alongside live events.

TSN2, unlike the main TSN feed, is only available to be distributed by digital cable and satellite, rather than analogue cable, although it has been carried by some cable operators on analogue on a short-term "preview" basis.



TSN first launched what it then called its "alternate feed" in 1997 as a result of occasional regional blackouts for TSN programming in some areas. In its original iteration, the alternate feed could only air on analog cable in specific areas, replacing the national service. Alternate programming could make up a maximum of 10% of the TSN schedule — an average of 2.4 hours a day.[3]

In fall 2006, TSN was allowed by the CRTC to air multiple feeds nationally,[4] with the alternate feed only available on digital platforms, as had previously been permitted for Rogers Sportsnet's regional feeds. In essence this meant that for digital cable and satellite subscribers, TSN now had two channels on which to air programming. The broadcaster's use of the alternate feed changed significantly following this decision, as the alternate feed began to carry a much larger number of live events that could be aired nationally when the main feed was carrying another ongoing event. [5]


Launch of TSN2

The Globe and Mail announced on August 6, 2008 that the TSN alternate feed would be replaced by a new network known as TSN2. The new channel promised "major league programming" throughout the day, and would have extensive coverage of auto racing and tennis. Unlike the existing TSN alternate feed, which was available free of charge, service providers (and potentially, in turn, consumers) would be required to pay extra in order to carry TSN2, and providers that had not yet agreed to carry the new channel were required to stop carrying the alternate feed in August 2008. Unlike the alternate feed, TSN2 would also be available in high-definition.[6] Initially, TSN2 was restricted to acting as a timeshift channel for TSN, with most non-live programming being aired on a three hour tape delay from TSN proper, allowing TSN2 viewers in the Pacific Time Zone to watch many programs at the same local time as TSN viewers in the Eastern Time Zone. However, as had been the case with the alternate feed, up to 10% of the TSN2 schedule could consist of alternative live sporting events that cannot air on TSN due to other programming commitments.

A separate TSN2 channel had been approved by the CRTC in 2000[7], but was never launched due to a prohibition on live programming. The authority for this channel expired in 2004 and never re-applied for, so the present TSN2 is not directly connected to the 2000 licence.[8]

The new channel was launched on August 29, 2008 at 7 p.m. EST, with live coverage of the US Open tennis tournament continued from TSN, followed by an encore presentation of a Friday night CFL game aired earlier on TSN.

TSN2 HD logo

TSN2 HD, a high definition simulcast of TSN2, launched simultaneous to that of the standard-definition channel.

Since February 1, 2010, TSN has been subject to revised conditions of licence that allow TSN2 to operate autonomously from TSN's main channel.[2]


Prior to February 2010, up to 10% of the TSN2 schedule could consist of alternative live-event programming. TSN promised "800+" hours per year of live events on TSN2, which is in line with this limit. All other programming was timeshifted from TSN proper, which means repeat broadcasts of live events on TSN and original programs such as SportsCentre. This is similar to the timeshifted east / west feeds offered by channels such as Showcase and The Comedy Network.[9]

TSN2's alternative programming typically consists of NHL games, including alternative Stanley Cup Playoff games when TSN proper is carrying another playoff game; NBA games featuring the Toronto Raptors; and NASCAR Nationwide Series races. However, it has also included tennis, boxing,baseball and Major League Lacrosse coverage.

On October 22, 2008, it was announced that TSN2 would air 25 Toronto Raptors basketball games during the 2008-2009 NBA season. However, due to the lack of carriage agreements at the time, these games were not available to cable subscribers in the team's home market of Toronto and other regions served by Rogers, as well as Vidéotron subscribers in Quebec.[10] 6 games of the Toronto Rock of the National Lacrosse League will be broadcasted on TSN2 this season.[citation needed]


As of May 19, 2009, providers that carry TSN2 include Access Communications, Aliant, Bell TV, Cogeco, EastLink, Rogers Cable, SaskTel, Shaw Cable, Shaw Direct, Vidéotron and a handful of independent cablesystems.[11]

Rogers Cable finally signed on to carry the channel in August 2009 after months of negotiations.[12] The apparent impetus for the deal was the placement of three key mid-May games between the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox (at that point the top two teams in the AL East) on the secondary channel; the Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Communications, as is Rogers Cable.[13] TSN itself was unable to carry the games due to NHL and NBA playoff commitments, while the team's other broadcaster Rogers Sportsnet was committed to coverage of the 2009 Memorial Cup.

Regulatory status

The Globe and Mail reported on September 15, 2008, that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (who have a licence for CBC SportsPlus, a sports channel focusing on Canadian athletes with a particular interest on amateur sports) and Score Media Inc. (owners of The Score, which also has restrictions on the amount of live programming it can air, as it is licensed primarily as a sports news service akin to ESPNews) made a complaint to the CRTC about TSN2's exploitation of a rule imposed by the CRTC legally allowing timeshifted feeds of channels for the west coast, subject to regulatory requirements restricting the amount of alternate programming that can be shown on alternate feeds. John Levy of Score Media claimed that TSN2 should not be allowed to sell new advertising on the network based on their interpretation of the rules.[1]

However, these complaints were ultimately dismissed by the CRTC.[14]

Soon after TSN2 was launched, the CRTC announced a proposal to remove genre exclusivity protections for "mainstream sports" and "national news" channels in the near future. As a byproduct of the decision, TSN would be allowed to use streamlined conditions of licence which states that the service may offer "multiple feeds", without any restrictions on alternate programming.[15] TSN was officially permitted to use these streamlined conditions of licence on February 1, 2010.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Rivals want TSN2 kicked out of game". The Globe and Mail. September 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-18.  [Access restricted]
  2. ^ a b c Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2010-49, 2010-02-01
  3. ^ "CRTC Decision 97-290". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. July 3, 1997. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2006-620
  5. ^ "CRTC Decision 2006-620". [Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission]]. November 9, 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  6. ^ "TSN getting set to launch companion channel". The Globe and Mail. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  7. ^ CRTC Decision 2000-720
  8. ^ "Final extension" approved in Decision CRTC 2003-599 and expired November 2004
  9. ^ TSN press release, August 14, 2008
  10. ^ "TSN2 gets 25 Raptors games". The National Post. October 22nd, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  11. ^ TSN2 channel listings, retrieved May 17, 2009
  12. ^ TSN2 Available to Rogers Customers, Rogers press release, May 17, 2009
  13. ^ TSN2 to Launch on Rogers Cable on Tuesday, TSN press release, May 17, 2009
  14. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2008-352, December 12, 2008
  15. ^ "Broadcasting Public Notice CRTC 2008-103" (in English). Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. October 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 

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