Originally Posted by Globe Sports
In an ambitious move that will have an impact on sports television in several ways, TSN is planning to launch a companion channel called TSN2.
The new service, which will start in the fall, will provide content that will include major-league programming such as NHL and NBA telecasts on a cycle of 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Executives and spokespeople at TSN are mum on the subject, but sources in advertising say TSN has already bought for the channel the rights to NBA games that were discarded by Rogers Sportsnet at the end of last season.
The new service will provide extensive auto racing and tennis coverage and, apparently, will air at least one major-league event daily.
And it will be the first digital channel in Canada to provide programming in high-definition television.
A sidebar to TSN's plans is the status of the network's existing alternative digital channel, which has been carrying overflow programming for the past several years.
TSN asked cable and satellite companies this summer to sign agreements to carry TSN2. By the end of last week, several, including Rogers Cable and Bell ExpressVu, had not agreed.
As a result, TSN's alternative channel, which had been available free of charge, was cut off from the distributors who were unwilling to commit to TSN2.
The alternative channel will be discontinued once TSN2 is up and running, but, in the short term, its absence will have an impact, particularly in September, when it airs U.S. Open tennis telecasts.
The launch of TSN2, which was previously licensed by the federal regulator, will not be good news for Sportsnet or The Score. It will represent more competition. Nor will it be helpful to the CBC, which is hoping to start its own digital sports channel.
More on this later.