August 25, 2011 5 years 6 months ago

UPDATE 2: New TVA/Rogers French sports channel to launch September 12

TORONTO and MONTREAL - Rogers Sportsnet is partnering with Quebecor-owned TVA on the new French-language sports channel TVA Sports that will launch nationally on September 12.

The new channel plans to air more than 60 Toronto Blue Jays baseball games and 25 regional Ottawa Senators hockey games (Rogers owns the English-language broadcast rights to these properties, plus the Blue Jays team). TVA Sports has declared itself the official broadcaster of Major League Soccer’s Montreal Impact, plus has signed a multi-year agreement with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for live fights and The Ultimate Fighter series (which also airs on Rogers Sportsnet).

The partnership between Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports will also allow the two broadcasters to work together on co-productions for both channels, and could see them team up to bid on sports broadcast rights taking them toe-to-toe versus Bell Media’s TSN and its French-language sports network RDS.

(Ed note: an earlier version of this story reported that the new sports channel would launch under the French-language sports licence that the CRTC granted Rogers earlier this week. In fact, TVA Sports received its own licence on February 26, 2010. regrets the error.)

TVA Sports has inked carriage deals with Videotron and Shaw Direct, though a company spokesperson confirmed to that other affiliation agreements will be in place prior to next month’s launch.

- Lesley Hunter