TSN Announces 10-Year TV and Radio Rights Deal with the Jets

Winnipeg, MB (August 31, 2011) – True North Sports & Entertainment, in conjunction with Bell Media, are pleased to announce today they have entered into a 10-year agreement awarding the regional television broadcast rights for the Winnipeg Jets to TSN, and the radio broadcast rights for the hockey club to Sports Radio 1290.


As part of the agreement, TSN will broadcast more than 60 regional regular season and pre-season games each season to fans in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and parts of Northwestern Ontario on the new specialty channel “TSN Jets” – a part-time television service dedicated to Jets games and launching September 20.


In addition to the regional broadcasts, TSN will also broadcast five Jets games across Canada as part of the network’s national broadcast agreement with the NHL.


The agreement with Bell Media also includes exclusive radio broadcast rights for Sports Radio 1290 – Winnipeg’s only all-sports station. Sports Radio 1290 will be home to all 82 regular season Jets games along with the Stanley Cup Playoffs and all pre-season games.


“True North Sports & Entertainment and the Winnipeg Jets are ecstatic to have entered into this agreement with Bell Media. It is a landmark agreement for broadcasting and professional hockey in Winnipeg,” said Jim Ludlow, President & CEO, True North Sports & Entertainment. “The 10-year term demonstrates TSN’s long-term commitment to Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Jets. We are also excited about the prospects for the future of Sports Radio 1290 and we are confident they will carry forward what has been a tradition of outstanding radio coverage of hockey here in Winnipeg. The two aspects of Winnipeg Jets broadcast coverage go hand-in-hand and will lay the foundation for a prosperous partnership for the next decade. We are looking forward to watching the community rally around TSN Jets the same way they supported the hockey club and its ticket drive. The next best thing to being at MTS Centre now is subscribing, watching, and cheering on the Jets from your living room.”


“The return of the Winnipeg Jets has been the biggest story in hockey in Canada this year. Like all Canadian hockey fans we are thrilled to see the NHL return to Winnipeg and we are even more delighted to partner with True North Sports & Entertainment to bring game action to Jets fans,” said Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports. “Bell Media’s television and radio platforms will work together to cover all aspects of Jets over the next decade. We are looking forward to working closely with all television service providers in the region to ensure as many fans have access to the regional games as possible.”


In addition to producing live game coverage, TSN has confirmed they will complement their broadcasts by producing extensive pre- and post-game shows.


Sports Radio 1290 will surround its Jets broadcasts with more than five hours of pre- and post-game coverage breaking down all aspects of the games and news surrounding the team.


Play by Play Team

TSN and Sports Radio 1290 are pleased to confirm that veteran hockey broadcaster Dennis Beyak will be the primary voice of the Winnipeg Jets calling all regular season games. The Manitoba native will call 56 games for TSN Jets along with 26 games for Sports Radio 1290. Beyak has spent the past 16 years as an NHL broadcaster, most recently working as a play-by-play commentator for the Toronto Maple Leafs on AM 640.


In addition to Beyak, popular former Manitoba Moose broadcaster Brian Munz will call 56 Jets games for Sports Radio 1290. Munz has become a fixture on the Manitoba sports scene for the past five years. Prior to being the voice of Moose, the Regina product worked extensively in sports broadcasting on the Edmonton Oilers radio broadcasts, was the play-by-play voice of the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Melfort Mustangs, Nipawin Hawks and Humboldt Broncos.


Colour analyst roles for the TSN Jets broadcasts will be shared between former NHL players Brian Engblom and Mike Johnson. Winnipeg’s Engblom is a Stanley Cup winner and member of Manitoba’s Sports Hall of Fame. Engblom made the move to broadcasting in 1993 and has worked with top broadcasters including ESPN, Versus and Altitude Sports and Entertainment.


Johnson is considered one of Canada’s rising young NHL broadcasters. The veteran of more than 650 NHL games has been working at TSN in a variety of analyst roles for the past three years including the main analyst for TSN’s overage of the IIHF World Championship


Former NHL defenceman Shane Hnidy also joins Sports Radio 1290 as a colour analyst for all Jets games this season. An 11-year NHL veteran, Hnidy was a member of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins last season.


Sports Radio 1290 will confirm its other hockey analysts and Jets Insiders in the coming weeks.



VERSUS Details Their New Original Programming, Debuting September 8

NEW YORK (August 31, 2011) — The NBC Sports Group today announced a block of new live studio shows for VERSUS airing on weeknights from 6-7 p.m. ET under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk, InsidetheIrish and ProGolfTalk.


In addition to the new 6 p.m. shows, VERSUS, which will be re-branded the NBC Sports Network on January 2, will also launch a sports-business show with CNBC’s Darren Rovell, titled CNBC Sports Biz: Game On, on Friday nights at 7 p.m. ET. VERSUS’ weeknight studio block launches on Thursday, September 8, leading into NBC’s NFL Kickoff coverage, featuring the first NFL game of the season between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.


“NBC SportsTalk is the type of nightly, relevant programming that viewers can expect to see as we continue the re-branding process from VERSUS to the NBC Sports Network,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and VERSUS. “The live nightly shows also give us the opportunity to tap into our stable of top talent across all of our platforms to provide a unique perspective for sports fans.”


The live block of shows will focus on the sports world’s most relevant topics each night and will include NBC Sports Group talent who will not only report on sports news, but will break down the significance of that news for viewers. Mondays (ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio) and Fridays at 6 p.m. will be devoted to football, while the rest of the shows during the week will focus on the most topical sports stories.


NBC SportsTalk will be hosted by former Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic anchor Russ Thaler. He will be joined by talent from across all NBC Sports Group platforms, including Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Football Night in America and Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com for the special NFL-themed show on Friday nights.


CNBC Sports Biz: Game On – Rovell’s sports business show on Friday nights will focus on the $200 billion business of professional sports, including ownership, labor, media, sponsorship, marketing, merchandise, facilities and executives. The 30-minute show will feature segments such as: “Power Player,” where Rovell interviews sports business newsmakers; “The Scoreboard,” in which Rovell and his sideline reporter, Erin Sharoni, review the sports business winners and losers of the week; “Heavy Hitters,” in which Rovell calls up insiders to break down how one aspect of the business works. Rovell’s more than 115,000 Twitter followers will also play an active role in the show.


NBC SportsTalk – The 6 p.m. nightly shows will focus on various topics throughout the week with certain nights and times devoted to a single sport:


MONDAY: Immediately following VERSUS’ newly announced College Football Talk show from 5-6 p.m. ET, the network begins the week with ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio. One of the NFL’s most influential voices, Florio will join Thaler in the studio for the hour to break down all the football news from the weekend. Once the NHL season begins, NBC SportsTalk will air from 6-6:30 p.m. ET, making way for NHL Live, the new half-hour pre-game show which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET.


TUESDAY-THURSDAY: On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, NBC SportsTalk will break down the topics that are dominating the sports world and will enlist talent from all NBC Sports Group platforms to join Thaler, including commentators and reporters from NBC Sports, NBCSports.com, VERSUS, Golf Channel and NBC Sports Group’s 11 regional sports networks. On select Wednesday nights throughout the NHL season, the second half of the show will be dedicated solely to hockey.


FRIDAY: NBC SportsTalk will wrap up the week with in-depth coverage of NFL news and will welcome one of sports’ most knowledgeable and respected NFL insiders, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and “Football Night in America,” to join Florio and Thaler. Additionally, Gregg Rosenthal of Rotoworld and ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com will contribute a fantasy segment each Friday.




Monday, 5-6 p.m.: College Football Talk hosted by Liam McHugh with Ross Tucker and Roland Williams

Monday, 6-7 p.m.: NBC SportsTalk/ProFootballTalk with Mike Florio (6-6:30 p.m. beginning October 10)

Monday, 6:30-7 p.m.: NHL Live (beginning October 10)

Tuesday, 6-7 p.m.: NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler

Wednesday, 6-7 p.m.: NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler

Thursday, 6-7 p.m.: NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler

Thursday, 10-11 p.m.: NFL Turning Point

Friday, 6-7 p.m.: NBC SportsTalk hosted by Russ Thaler with Mike Florio and Peter King

Friday, 7-7:30 p.m.: CNBC Sports Biz: Game On hosted by Darren Rovell

VERSUS To Add NBC Sports Talk Hour

From the AP via the Wall Street Journal:

NEW YORK — Versus is adding live weeknight studio shows as part of its evolution after the NBC-Comcast merger.

The “NBC SportsTalk” programs will air from 6-7 p.m. on Monday through Friday starting Sept. 8.

“If we’re going to be important to sports fans, we have to be relevant each day,” NBC Sports Group chair Mark Lazarus said.

Monday’s show will be called “ProFootballTalk.” Fridays will also focus on the NFL.

“NBC SportsTalk” will be hosted by former Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic anchor Russ Thaler

More info on the host of the show, Russ Thaler, including that Wednesdays during the season will feature a half-hour devoted to hockey. From Dan Steinberg:

On Wednesday, they took what they believe is a major step in that process, announcing a block of new live programming that will air weeknights from 6-7 under the “NBC SportsTalk” banner. The studio discussion shows will air on the NBC Sports Network (as Versus will be known starting in January), and will incorporate guests from all of the above properties, including Pro FootballTalk’s Mike Florio, who will appear every Monday and Friday.


“The partnership of NBC Sports and Comcast will, I hope, create opportunities for a lot of people within the Comcast SportsNet family to spread their wings a little bit,” Thaler told me this week while he was driving to Connecticut, where the shows will originate. “I think this is just the beginning for NBC Sports Network. I was the first on-air hire from one of the regional networks, but I’m gonna be far from the last. That really excites me; to be in on the ground floor, to get it going and just see where it goes from here.”


The SportsTalk show will be devoted to football on Mondays (when it will be called Pro FootballTalk) and Fridays (when it will include Peter King). It will focus on the news of the day on Tuesdays-Thursdays. On certain Wednesdays during the winter, the final 30 minutes will be dedicated to hockey. It won’t be a highlight show or a collection of video clips; “that’s not what this is about,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and VERSUS.

NHL Live on VERSUS to Co-Exist with NHL Live on NHL Network This Season

NBC announced recently that with the re-vamping of their hockey coverage – which includes more games on different nights and more NBC/VERSUS synergy – that the network will re-tool their pre-game and post-game shows, which were known as Hockey Central from 2006-2011 (fun fact: the show was simply The NHL On VERSUS Post-Game Show before the 2006 playoffs, which feels like a 1940’s television show. You know, like The Texaco Hockey Program).

The new show will be titled NHL Live, a nod to NBC Sports’ long history, as the network’s old NFL pre-game show carried the “Live!” moniker from 1987-1994. It also goes along with a complete studio re-brand for the channel, as the VERSUS college football program is now College Football Live (it premieres this Saturday, in case you’re curious). Overall, it is a cleaner name than Hockey Central and gives VERSUS/NBC Sports Network (I will be so happy in January when I get to stop typing that) a fresh start in a post-merger universe, instead of carrying on with the old brand.Like last year’s TV, it is time to upgrade as well as effectively simplify.

It still, however, brings to mind another program currently on the air: NHL Network’s daily talk show NHL Live, which airs every day from October-June at the NHL Store in New York City. I was curious as to whether or not the NHL Network show would change its’ own title in the wake of this announcement. The answer is no, according to an NHL spokesperson. NHL Live on NHL Network will keep it’s name when it returns in late September/early October.

I can’t imagine this will be ideal for either program, unless they find a way to work together. NHL Network’s show has been airing for a few years on television, and even longer on the radio, though it has gone through a lot of changes since April, when more focus was put on making it a TV show, while it was dropped by XM Home Ice on the radio side. NBC Sports Group’s push will give the VERSUS NHL Live it’s own immediate presence, though you can imagine it being awkward maneuvering through both, especially when trying to write a post for your website, like I just did.