The Sports Network

The Sports Network

Infobox TV channel
name = The Sports Network (TSN)
logofile = TSN Logo.svg
logoalt =
logosize = 180px
launch = September 1, 1984
closed date =
picture format =
share =
share as of =
share source =
network =
owner = CTV Specialty Television Inc. (CTVglobemedia 80%/ESPN 20%)
slogan = Canada's Sports Leader
country = Canada
broadcast area = National
headquarters = Toronto, Ontario
former names =
replaced names =
sister names = TSN2
timeshift names =
web = [ TSN]
terr serv 1 =
terr chan 1 =
sat serv 1 = Bell TV
sat chan 1 = Channel 400
sat serv 2 = Star Choice
sat chan 2 = Channel 400
cable serv 1 = Available on most Canadian cable systems
cable chan 1 = Check local listings, channels may vary
sat radio serv 1 =
sat radio chan 1 =
online serv 1 =
online chan 1 =

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


Licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on April 2, 1984 as "Action Canada Sports Network", 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, partly because of the popularity of the TSN brand in Canada but primarily because the CRTC, Canada's broadcasting regulator, refused to allow the name change. 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. The CRTC did permit ESPN to retain some input on the direction and look of TSN. That decision resulted in ESPN 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 is 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. This would not affect regional rights, which are controlled by the teams and held mainly by Sportsnet. It is expected that CTV would not air playoff games as regularly as does CBC Television, because of other programming commitments, but additional games could air on TSN2 and the NHL Network, another CTVglobemedia outlet. [ [ CHANNEL CANADA :: Bell Globemedia bidding $1.4B for TV hockey rights ] ] 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.

Birth of TSN2

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's flagship program 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 Canadianize 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, National Football League, UEFA Champions League and Canadian Football League 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. [ [ CHANNEL CANADA :: Grey Cup Moves to TSN/RDS in Historic 5-Year, Multi-Platform CFL Deal ] ]

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 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 and playoff games involving Canadian teams (those rights belong to CBC for their "Hockey Night in Canada" program). 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 since the 80's, Canadian-based teams may have their playoff games appear on cable, instead of over-the-air. [ [ CANOE – SLAM! Sports – NHL – CBC retains puck rights ] ]

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.

Like the CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, TSN has attracted criticism from fans of Western Canadian hockey clubs for refusing to split the network to ensure that teams scheduled to receive a local team's game receive the entire game. If the eastern game (most often involving the Toronto Maple Leafs) runs into overtime or a shootout fans of the western club will miss a portion of their game. [ [ TSN at it again – Canucks Board ] ]

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 forty years, will be used for hockey broadcasts on TSN and RDS beginning in the fall of 2008. [ [ "CTV acquires rights to hockey theme song"] , "CTV News", June 9, 2008]

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 was 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.

However, as of June 15, 2006, the Canadian Curling Association announced that TSN/CTV will obtain exclusive rights to curling broadcasts in Canada as of the 2008-09 season, [ [ Canadian Curling Association ] ] shutting the CBC 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 both women's international hockey and NWHL games.


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, WWE decided to move the program to 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, however the 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.


TSN has been criticized for providing a much more focused look towards Toronto teams in its coverage, earning the moniker "Toronto" Sports Network" from some critics. This may be due to the demographics of sports fans in Canada: Toronto is the largest market, and the city hosts the only NBA, MLB, and MLS teams in Canada. This perception has been taken advantage of by the network's main rival Rogers Sportsnet, which operates four different regional feeds so as to air more regional coverage of local teams.

The broadcasting of events with limited interest in Canada (such as NASCAR) instead of more popular events such as the Canadian Football League games is also a frequently contended decision. This may be addressed by the recent approval of an alternate feed and broadcasting of all CFL games starting in 2008.

TSN's decision to replace Sportsdesk with "SportsCentre" was a blow to an original Canadian landmark name that had aired since 1984 and fueled the view that the network was being Americanized. Some Canadians still call the program Sportsdesk out of habit.

Other affiliations

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

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 1996 to 2008. The station will be part of CTV's coverage from 2010 to 2012. TSN has a similar agreement with Rogers Sportsnet to share coverage of soccer's World Cup.

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



*Russ Anber – "In This Corner" host
*Rod Black – Blue Jays play-by-play, Raptors host, and "CFL on TSN" play-by-play
*Shawn Churchill – Winnipeg reporter
*Jock Climie – "CFL on TSN" studio analyst
*Chris Cuthbert – "CFL on TSN" and "NHL on TSN" play-by-play
*James Cybulski – Toronto reporter
*Darren Dreger – "NHL on TSN" studio analyst
*Darren Dutchyshen – "SportsCentre" host
*Darren Pang – "NHL on TSN" studio analyst
*Matt Dunigan – "CFL on TSN" studio analyst
*James Duthie – "NHL on TSN" studio host
*Claude Feig
*Duane Forde – "CFL on TSN" colour analyst
*Sheri Forde – Toronto reporter
*Jermain Franklin – Calgary reporter
*Glenn Healy – "NHL on TSN" colour analyst / studio analyst
*Jennifer Hedger – "SportsCentre" host
*Leah Hextall – "SportsCentre" host (substitute)
*Dave Hodge – "The Reporters" host
*Paul Hollingsworth – Halifax reporter
*Holly Horton – "SportsCentre" host
*Michael Landsberg – "Off The Record" host
*Farhan Lalji – Vancouver reporter
*John Lu – Montreal reporter
*Maggie the Macaque – "NHL on TSN" playoff predictor
*Pierre McGuire – "NHL on TSN" colour analyst / studio host
*Bob McKenzie – "NHL on TSN" studio analyst
*Gord Miller – "NHL on TSN" play-by-play
*Wray Morrison – Regina reporter
*Bryan Mudryk – "SportsCentre" host
*Sarah Orlesky – Toronto reporter
*Jay Onrait – "SportsCentre" host
*Dan O'Toole – "SportsCentre" host
*Jesse Palmer – "NFL on TSN" analyst – Monday Morning Quarterback
*Dave Randorf – "CFL on TSN" studio host / "NHL on TSN" play-by-play
*Vic RauterFormula One host and curling play-by-play
*Gino Reda – "That's Hockey" host
*Ryan Rishaug – Edmonton reporter
*Chris Schultz – "CFL on TSN" studio analyst
*Rod Smith – "SportsCentre" host
*Glen Suitor – "CFL on TSN" colour analyst
*Pat Tabler – Blue Jays colour analyst
*Ray Turnbull – Curling analyst
*Brent Wallace – Ottawa reporter
*Alex J. Walling
*Bob Weeks – [Score Golf Television] host and golf analyst
*Michael Whalen – Montreal reporter
*Brian Williams – Olympic games host and *CFL on TSN* on site host
*Cory Woron – "SportsCentre" host

Various reporters and analysts from ESPN may also be featured.


*David Amber (now a reporter for ESPN)
*Lisa Hillary (now an anchor and reporter at Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic)
*Teresa Kruze (now an anchor and reporter at CTVglobemedia's 24 news channel based in Toronto; CP24.
*Dan Shulman (now play-by-play for ESPN, although TSN may simulcast games he calls)
*Jim Van Horne
*John Wells

Original programs

*"CFL on TSN" – Live coverage of CFL games with Dave Randorf in studio and a panel joining him to analyze the games – Jock Climie, Matt Dunigan and Chris Schultz. Friday broadcasts are known as "Friday Night Football"
*"In this Corner" – The latest news and reports from world of Boxing with Darren Dutchyshen and Russ Anber
*"NHL on TSN" – Live coverage of NHL games
*"Off The Record"- talkshow featuring various personalities discussing the latest Sports headlines with Michael Landsberg
*"SportsCentre" – Flagship news show on the network
*"TSN Profile" – Biographical portrait of various sports personalities
*"TSN The Reporters" – Sunday roundtable debate that examines the issues making headlines with Dave Hodge and featuring top Canadian Sports journalists Damien Cox, Michael Farber and Steve Simmons
*"That's Hockey" – All the latest news and reports from the National Hockey League with Gino Reda
*"TSN Skins Game" – Annual curling bonspiel
*Toronto Blue Jays Baseball – About 20 games a year. Rod Black and Pat Tabler provide commentary
*Toronto Raptors Basketball – About 20 games a year. Produced by Raptors NBA TV


, SportsCentre transitioned to HD, airing high definition highlights of sporting events when possible, adding even more high definition content to the channel.

The "Parking Lot"

Until April 30, 2008, both TSN and its main competitor Rogers Sportsnet were based at 9 Channel Nine Court in the Toronto neighbourhood of Agincourt. Sportsnet, originally controlled by CTV before its acquisition of TSN in 2000, had been based there from the start and never moved out. Hence, when on-air hosts, such as Darren Dreger, move from one channel to the other, it has been referred to as "crossing the parking lot" or, less commonly, "crossing the street". Some at Sportsnet had complained about feeling like "poor country cousins" to CTV and TSN at Agincourt.cite web|title=Going Downtown||url=|accessdate=March 23|accessyear=2007]

This peculiarity had been made light of by a couple of notable hosts on Rogers Sportsnet. Bob McCown, a radio host on Rogers-owned The Fan 590, had constantly commented on his show Prime Time Sports (a simulcast of his radio show on The Fan 590) that Sportsnet executives throw bottles across the street at the TSN studios. In addition, "Sportsnet Connected" anchor Sean McCormick had openly stated on-air that he drives to work with his wife, Jennifer Hedger, who anchors "SportsCentre" on TSN.

On April 30, 2008, Rogers Sportsnet moved broadcast operations from the CTV compound in Agincourt to Downtown Toronto and the newly constructed Rogers Building, a cluster of buildings in the Mount Pleasant-Jarvis Street area.cite web|title=Going Downtown||url=|accessdate=March 23|accessyear=2007]

International distribution

* Jamaica – distributed on Flow Cable systems. [ [ Flow Cable channel lineup] ]
* Bahamas – distributed on Cable Bahamas systems. [ [ Cable Bahamas channel lineup] ]


External links

* [ TSN]
* [ TSN HD]
* [ CRTC Decision CRTC 84-339 – Original Broadcast Decision]


*Rogers Sportsnet
*The Score

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