Wednesday, March 28, 2007

TSN to get Canadian playoff content

I didn't get to spend an awful lot of time talking about the CBC's new television contract with the NHL, but one of the more noteworthy tidbits that was picked up by the National Post's Mark Spector was the fact TSN is going to be guaranteed a Canadian team's playoff series in the future — as long as three clubs from this country qualify for the playoffs.

That's generally a pretty safe bet.

I honestly don't know if this deal kicks in this season (probably not), but if it does, here's how the Canadian TV rights would play out:

Obviously Edmonton's not part of the equation, but with Ottawa and Vancouver having already clinched spots, and Calgary all but assured of getting in, TSN would get Canadian content in the first round for the first time in a long time.

As Spector outlines, the way the television rights will be divvied up is that CBC gets its first two choices (probably Toronto and Montreal, if they qualify, followed by Vancouver, Ottawa and finally Calgary and Edmonton) and TSN then has its pick of the litter in the third and fifth spots. If five Canadian teams qualify, TSN could show two series featuring teams from home.

The tricky thing this year is that the Maple Leafs and Canadiens are on the bubble — but given the way things have played out, I think it's a relatively safe assumption to assume one of the pair will make it in. If that's the case, expect the CBC to opt for the Leafs/Habs vs. Buffalo/New Jersey/Pittsburgh series as well as the Vancouver vs. Minny/Dallas/San Jose series.

TSN's crew would then likely opt to remain in the Eastern time zone with Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh/New Jersey — which would be another terrific series.

In general, TSN has really stepped up its postseason NHL coverage the past few years, which is a great thing for those looking to see a wide variety of action. For far too long the CBC was limited to its one channel and two games a night, which, when the Leafs were in the playoffs, meant it was impossible to catch either Montreal and/or Ottawa for an entire series.

That can't happen anymore. At least once this new deal kicks in.



At 11:55 p.m., March 28, 2007, Blogger El Brucio said...

You're forgetting other possibilities, such as head to head matches. While it looks doubtful this year that there will be a first round head to head match unless Vancouver leapfrogs the rest of the West and finishes 1st to play Calgary (8th), it is mathematically likely in the case of 5 or 6 Canadian teams making the playoffs.

It'd be interesting if the CBC had the choice of these matchups, what they would choose:

Toronto v Atlanta
Montreal v Ottawa
Calgary v Edmonton
Vancouver v Detroit

At 12:25 a.m., March 29, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

I wonder if this was a concession given to TSN by CBC in order to not have TSN agressively pursue Saturday night hockey.

It'd be interesting if the CBC had the choice of these matchups, what they would choose:

Toronto v Atlanta
Montreal v Ottawa
Calgary v Edmonton
Vancouver v Detroit

They take Toronto no matter who they are playing as the Toronto fan base might equal all the other teams combined. I suspect the other series they would take would be Calgary-Edmonton though Vancouver-Detroit would be intriguing too as half the games would be played in the eastern time zone and potentially a better draw in the larger populated east. Montreal-Ottawa would be interesting too but you have to remember that half or more of the Montreal fan base will watch the French broadcast and the Ottawa fan base is probably the smallest of any Canadian team so my guess is Montreal-Ottawa would be CBC's last choice.

At 8:56 a.m., March 29, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

I like that the content for events like the playoffs are being split between carriers.

The best thing about the World Cup was that all the games were available live.

And DJ is right, for the same reason that the Leafs are on almost every Saturday they would be first pick for a series.

At 12:28 p.m., March 29, 2007, Anonymous snafu said...

Any idea what the monetary value is for this deal?


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