Canada sports network scores soccer deal

Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:44am EST
 
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By Etan Vlessing

TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Canada's The Sports Network has signed a six-year broadcast deal with North America's Major League Soccer league, taking over the national TV rights from rivals CBC and Rogers Sportsnet.

The agreement will give Canadian cable sports channel TSN and its secondary TSN2 channel a national package of 24 MLS games this coming season that feature Toronto FC and the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps FC team.

Then from 2012-16, TSN's national broadcast package will see the cable channel air 30 games each season, including matches with the Montreal FC team to come into the league in 2012.

The CBC and Rogers Sportsnet will still have a chance to bid on local rights to Toronto and Montreal games this coming season. But an MLS spokesman said TSN will have "first priority" to select games for the six-year term of the agreement.

The Toronto and Vancouver pro soccer teams will unveil their local broadcast TV packages shortly.

TSN similarly wrested the national rights to the Canadian Football League away from the CBC.