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The Sports Network (TSN)
TSN Logo.svg
TSN logo
Launched September 1, 1984
Owned by CTV Specialty Television (CTVglobemedia 80%/ESPN 20%)
(The Sports Network Inc.)
Slogan Canada's Sports Leader
Country Canada
Broadcast area National
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario
Sister channel(s) TSN2, RDS, RIS
Website TSN
Bell TV Channel 400 (SD)
Channel 850 (HD)
Shaw Direct Channel 400 (SD)
Channel 280 (HD)
Available on most Canadian cable systems Check local listings, channels may vary

The Sports Network, commonly abbrieviated as TSN, is a Canadian English language cable television specialty channel and is Canada's leading English language sports TV channel. TSN premiered in 1984, in the second group of Canadian specialty cable channels. TSN is owned by CTV Specialty Television, a joint venture of CTVglobemedia (80%) and ESPN (20%).



TSN logo

Licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on April 2, 1984 as Action Canada Sports Network[1], the channel was launched on September 1st of the same year as "The Sports Network", or "TSN". TSN was originally the property of Labatt Brewing Company, partly to help market the company's flagship products but also to act as a vehicle for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, also a Labatt property at that time. Labatt was forced to spin off TSN once it was acquired by Interbrew to satisfy foreign ownership rules. As of 2005, most Blue Jays games were again on a service affiliated with the owner of the team, but that service is now TSN's chief rival, Rogers Sportsnet.

Labatt's broadcasting assets were sold to a privately held consortium named NetStar Communications, the investors of which included a number of Canadian firms as well as ESPN, which held about 30%. In 2000, after ESPN blocked two attempts by the Canadian partners to sell NetStar to CanWest Global, CTV acquired the Canadian partners' shares thanks in part to ESPN's disapproval of CanWest Global.

Today, the majority owner of TSN is CTVglobemedia, which became CTV's parent in early 2001. ESPN retains a minority share, and as part of that restructuring in 2001, got CTV to agree to change the name to ESPN Canada. That change never went through because of the popularity and value of the TSN brand in Canada. ESPN also firmly denied occasional rumours that it would consider outsourcing production of its flagship sports news show, SportsCenter, or other studio shows to TSN, the way Fox Sports World Canada/Fox Soccer Channel's Fox Soccer Report is produced by CKND-TV (a Global Television station) in Winnipeg. ESPN retains some input on the direction and look of TSN, including redesigning TSN's logo to look somewhat like its own. Also, TSN airs many ESPN programs in the same form and time-slots (see below).

The Globe and Mail reported that CTVglobemedia bid $1.4 billion (CDN) over 10 years for full Canadian broadcasting rights to the National Hockey League, which would include cable and over-the-air rights in both English and French, i.e., coverage on CTV, TSN and RDS.[2] However in March 2007, CBC Television retained the rights to Saturday night games and the Stanley Cup Finals in a new contract with the NHL. TSN renewed its national cable rights with expanded Canadian team coverage.

For several years, both TSN and Rogers Sportsnet were based out of separate studios at CTV's suburban Toronto complex, 9 Channel Nine Court; Sportsnet, originally a CTV property, had been there since its launch in 1998, while TSN moved in shortly after the sale to CTV in 2000. This led to some pecularities related to the fact that the two rival sports channels were only separated by a "parking lot". On April 30, 2008, Rogers Sportsnet moved broadcast operations from the Agincourt complex to a new studio in the Rogers Building, a cluster of buildings in the Mount Pleasant-Jarvis Street area of Downtown Toronto.[3]

Sister networks and other affiliations

RDS is TSN's French sister station.

TSN's sister French language sports service is Réseau des sports (RDS). Other services managed by TSN include ESPN Classic Canada, NHL Network Canada.

TSN2 logo

Effective August 29, 2008, a timeshifted West coast feed called TSN2 launched. The channel, which is only available on digital cable or satellite TV, carries over 800 hours a year of live coverage not carried by TSN, as well as timeshifted programming on a three hour tape delay, broadcast earlier on the main channel.

TSN also hosts much of Canada's supplementary Olympic coverage, being the first pay-TV station in the world to ever broadcast the Olympics with the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, and having been part of the CBC's coverage from 1998 to 2008. The station will be part of CTV's coverage from 2010 to 2012.

Sports news segments on CTV owned-and-operated stations and on CTV News Channel are co-branded with TSN.


TSN's flagship programme is a highlights and sports news show that airs several times a day. Before fall 2001, the show was called Sportsdesk. As part of TSN's corporate restructuring in 2001, ESPN licensed the name SportsCenter and its SC logo to TSN (and permitted TSN to Canadianise the name by spelling it SportsCentre). In the fall of 2001, TSN dropped the name Sportsdesk and replaced it with the ESPN-branded SportsCentre name and SC logo. TSN's news studio was then redesigned to look like ESPN's and even promo commercials were recorded that resembled those used by ESPN to promote its SportsCenter. In 2006, TSN built a new studio to support high-definition broadcasts and on September 25, SportsCentre became the first daily newscast in Canada to be broadcast in High Definition.

TSN also airs ESPN original programming, including Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football, and Pardon the Interruption, as well as a number of events for which ESPN owns the worldwide or North American rights.

The major U.S.-based leagues sell Canadian broadcasting rights separately, hence ESPN-branded coverage is sometimes found on Sportsnet (baseball) or The Score (college sports).

The network covers and broadcasts most major national and international sports, such as National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), UEFA Champions League, and Canadian Football League (CFL) games, and Formula One auto racing.

TSN is the master rights-holder for the CFL, but sub-licensed the English-language rights to selected games, including the playoffs, to CBC through 2007. On December 20, 2006, the rights to all CFL games were transferred to TSN and French sister station RDS as of the 2008 season, playoff and Grey Cup games included.[4]

In addition to Monday Night Football and the CFL, TSN broadcasts NBC Sunday Night Football and the NFL Network's package. Beginning in 2007, it produces a Sunday afternoon telecast for CTV, although the feed is taken from CBS or FOX.

It also shares the Canadian broadcast rights to the PGA Tour with The Golf Channel, as well as NASCAR, the Toronto Blue Jays, and the National Basketball Association with Sportsnet and/or The Score. TSN's NBA coverage mostly features the Toronto Raptors, but it does hold exclusive Canadian broadcast rights to the NBA Finals, using the ABC feed.

As noted elsewhere, much of TSN's coverage, especially for the NFL, NBA games not involving the Raptors, UEFA Champions League, Grand Slams, Indy Racing League, and NASCAR, is simulcast with ESPN or ABC. Any U.S. programming available in high definition (regardless of network) is also broadcast on TSN's HD feed.

TSN often picks up American feeds of NHL games involving American teams if NBC or Versus is televising the game in the U.S. so they can save production costs and sim-sub on Bell TV. In almost a reverse fashion, TSN's coverage of the first round of the NHL Entry Draft is simulcast on Versus, although ESPN picked up TSN's coverage of previous drafts; this is because TSN offers coverage similar to what ESPN does for the NFL Draft and NBA Draft.


TSN bills itself as the 'home for Hockey' in Canada. TSN holds the national rights to broadcast the NHL in Canada except for Saturday nights (those rights belong to CBC for their Hockey Night in Canada programme). On Wednesday nights, they enjoy "exclusive" rights, meaning no regional NHL broadcast in Canada may compete with TSN's. Their broadcasts on this night are branded Wednesday Night Hockey. Their entire NHL package is branded the NHL on TSN.

Beginning in 2008-09, the NHL will change the determination of playoff television rights in Canada. TSN will now have the third, fifth, and seventh choices of the first-round playoff series, regardless of the teams involved. This means that, for the first time ever, Canadian-based teams may have their playoff games appear on cable, instead of over-the-air.[5]

Hockey Canada and TSN are in the middle of a 7-year contract that gives TSN the rights to broadcast the IIHF World Junior Championships, Men's and Women's World Hockey Championship, Men's Under-18 World Championships, Allan Cup, Royal Bank Cup, Spengler Cup, Telus Cup and ESSO Women's Nationals.

TSN's parent, CTV Inc., acquired the rights to The Hockey Theme after the CBC decided not to renew its rights to the theme song in June 2008 amid a legal dispute with its composer, Dolores Claman. A re-orchestrated version of the tune, which has been the theme song of Hockey Night in Canada for 40 years, has been used for hockey broadcasts on TSN and RDS since fall 2008.[6]

Canadian content

TSN has frequently produced its own coverage of events based in Canada, including NHL, CFL, Blue Jays, and curling events. The TSN Skins Game is an invitational curling tournament sponsored and operated by the network. For major national and international events, including the Tim Hortons Brier, the Scott Tournament of Hearts and the Ford World Championships, it has historically had a curling broadcast deal where the round-robin and page-playoff quarter-finals have aired on the network, while the semi-final and final rounds air on CBC.

On June 15, 2006, the Canadian Curling Association announced that TSN/CTV would obtain exclusive rights to curling broadcasts in Canada as of the 2008-09 season,[7] shutting CBC Television out of the championship weekend for the first time in 40-plus years.

Canadian University sports events are also sometimes featured, as well as coverage of women's international hockey.


TSN featured live professional wrestling in the form of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)'s flagship show, RAW for over a decade. However, the WWE Raw program, which aired live, occasionally had been censored live for extremely violent scenes, or when female wrestlers or characters were assaulted by male wrestlers. These actions are supposed to be in order to meet Canadian broadcast standards, with repeat broadcasts often more heavily edited.

This has disappointed many wrestling fans over the years, and is unusual since the violence of wrestling scenes are not significantly different from other television programs aired on regular Canadian networks. It was expected that in fall 2006, when TSN started airing the ESPN iteration of Monday Night Football (as well as the NBC Sunday Night Football games), that WWE RAW was expected to air on tape delay during the NFL season. However, the WWE decided to move the program to rival sports network The Score rather than air on tape delay, although RAW continues to air on tape delay on The Score by 15 minutes, for editing purposes in addition to limits on the amount of live programming the Score can air in a week.

In 2004, both TSN and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) Wrestling, (known then as NWA-TNA), erroneously announced that Impact! would air on the network, although that deal was never completed and the article on the TSN Wrestling page was taken down shortly after. However, TSN's French-language sister network RDS airs the program.

In past years, TSN also aired shows from the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Stampede Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) Monday Night Nitro, as well as producing a one-hour show called Pro Wrestling Plus, which featured highlights from various promotions and was hosted by Stampede announcer Ed Whalen; that program was the Canadian equivalent of the syndicated American program Pro Wrestling This Week.

The final episode of WWE RAW, aired July 31, 2006, although it did not end the relationship between TSN and WWE as the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony was aired on the network. As well, Off The Record with Michael Landsberg continues to occasionally feature professional wrestlers in unscripted interviews, which it has throughout its run.

Other Sports

From August 2009, TSN and TSN2 have commenced screening live and delayed coverage of Australian Rules Football. Selected games from the Australian Football League (or AFL as the competition is also known) Premiership Season and Finals Series including the AFL Grand Final are broadcast live or on delay every weekend.



Various reporters and analysts from ESPN (such as Chris Berman , Barry Melrose and Steve Phillips) may also be featured in certain segments.


Original programmes


TSN HD logo.svg

TSN HD is a high definition simulcast of TSN that launched on August 15, 2003. TSN HD airs widescreen and high-definition feeds of sporting events when available. On September 25, 2006, SportsCentre transitioned to HD, airing high definition highlights of sporting events when possible, adding even more high definition content to the channel.

The Sports Network Inc. registered their website address on October 15, 2000[8]. However, according to the Internet Archive, the website has been available since as early as 1996.[9]

International distribution


12.AFL and ESPN(TSN)in U.S./Canada TV Rights Deal. [1]

13.TV coverage returns to TSN and ESPN. [2]

External links

Simple English

The Sports Network (commonly known as TSN) is a Canadian English language cable television specialty channel and is Canada's first English language sports television channel. TSN started in 1984, in the second group of Canadian specialty cable channels. TSN is owned by CTV Speciality Television Inc; a division of CTVglobemedia (80%) and ESPN (20%).

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