Thursday, August 14, 2008

TSN 2 to debut on August 29th; A-Channel now simply "A"

Here are two quick media tidbits for those of us that will be watching any National Hockey League games originating from Canada during the upcoming 2008-2009 season, especially if you are doing so via NHL Center Ice.

For all the Canadian hockey fans that are priviledged to watch a lot of games on The Sports Network (TSN), here is some news for you.

TSN officially announced today there will be a launch of a second channel for its sports programming. TSN 2 will make its debut on August 29th at 7:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

"In today's day and age of immediacy, fans want and crave live coverage of sports. TSN2 will deliver more premium live sports programming while complementing TSN's already powerful live sports lineup. The days of tape delayed sports coverage on television are over," TSN president Phil King said in the network's press release issued today. "Sports fans have identified a strong need and desire for this complementary service. TSN2 provides additional value to our progressive and passionate sports audience as it allows us to air two live events simultaneously, giving sports fans more choice and diversity."

I did get an e-mail notice of this back on Sunday, but I figured I'd wait until TSN had the press release available on their web site before writing this quick blog entry.

Meantime, three days ago, A-Channel has re-branded itself to simply as A. Interesting new name, don't you think? Talk about using one letter to identify the name of a network, huh? If it makes it easy for viewers to remember it, it's a brillant move for those in charge.

How does this effect the NHL, you ask?

As one of the largest multimedia companies in Canada with ownership of Canadian Television (CTV) and shares of TSN and A, CTVglobemedia has established a significant footpoint in the NHL. TSN plans to show 70 games nationally for the 2008-2009 season while sister network and French-language Le Réseau des Sports (RDS) will show all 82 Montréal Canadiens games. Ottawa Senators fans tuning in around the National Capital Region to watch their team on CHRO-TV (known as "A Ottawa") should expect to see the new A logo in the television station's graphics package during game telecasts. Oh, and did I tell you that CTVglobemedia has an ownership stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Yes, as usual, they'll get their fair share of air time locally and nationally.

And by the way, a legendary staple in Canadian society after it was composed by Dolores Claman in 1968, "The Hockey Theme" makes its debut on TSN and RDS hockey cablecasts this fall. You'll have to get used to it not being on CBC with their Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts as the rights contract was not renewed this summer.

As for TSN 2, it basically replaces what was called the TSN "alternate feed" and would come in handy in the event an overflow channel is needed during NHL on TSN cablecasts. This would especially be the case during days of doubleheader coverage when the first game may not end before the second game is scheduled to begin.

ESPN already has a family of channels here in the United States, but with the addition of TSN 2 as a full-time cable channel in Canada, this will create more room to alleviate a crowded program lineup on TSN. When it comes to NHL games, nobody wants to miss a minute of the action.

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