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TVA Sports: Sportsnet may be the only way to save the channel

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of talk about TVA Sports’ financial difficulties. Pierre-Karl Péladeau is the first to admit it: his sports channel is losing money by the ton(figures of $200 million and $220 million keep cropping up), and we’re struggling to keep our heads above water.

The market is tough… and the very expensive NHL broadcast rights contract doesn’t (really) help. Again, not my words, but PKP’s.

In short, we’re at the point where we need to find solutions. And in his Radio-Canada piece of the day, Martin Leclerc raised an interesting idea: what if TVA Sports were sold to Sportsnet (or, in other words, Rogers) to keep the ship from sinking?

At the same time, we could create a dynamic similar to that between RDS and TSN, which are both owned by Bell.

As Leclerc notes, the English-speaking market is in much better shape than the French-speaking market when it comes to specialty sports channels. While TSN and Sportsnet are raking in big profits, RDS oscillates between the green and the red, while TVA Sports is constantly in the red.

What’s the difference? The advertising market is much bigger in English Canada than it is here.

What we’ve also noticed is that the latest negotiations for NHL broadcasting rights have really hurt Quebec channels. Both RDS and TVA Sports have ended up cannibalizing each other and paying inordinate prices.

The two cash cows have been milked to the last drop… to the point where it’s difficult for each of them right now. And imagine what it would have been like if RDS had matched Quebecor’s offer to keep the monopoly in the final negotiations. As Leclerc points out, former president Gerry Frappier really knew how to avoid catastrophe.

The question, however, is what the market will look like in the next round of broadcasting rights negotiations.

RDS should be there, but can it afford to pay the big price again?

We can expect TVA Sports to keep quiet, considering its precarious future… unless it can afford Rogers? And even if there is a sale, we don’t know what the outcome will be.

And let’s not forget the great unknown in Apple, who is interested in ESPN (the NHL’s national broadcaster in the USA). After stealing MLS from TVA Sports, could the NHL be next?

This will be an issue to keep an eye on over the next few years, but the idea of Rogers poking its nose into the French-speaking sports market is intriguing.

At the same time, if the company is afraid of Apple, it might decide to stay out of harm’s way…

In full

– Hat.

– Very nice gesture.

– A professional trial in Pittsburgh for Colin White.

– Not strong.

– He’ll be the talk of the town for the next few months.

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