By Curtis Wolff
Die-hard Dinos fans won’t have to make a cross-country trip to see some of their favourite teams play in the big games next year.
Canadian Interuniversity Sport and national broadcaster Sportsnet have announced a six-year deal that will see several CIS championships featured on live national television.
The deal includes broadcast rights to the Vanier Cup, which has been broadcast by TSN for the past four years before that deal expired. While the national football championship has received attention from national broadcasters in recent years, other CIS championships have been left out of the television spotlight.
However, with the new television agreement some championships that haven’t received television attention in the past will now get coverage. Coverage for the 2013–14 season includes football national semifinals and final, women’s and men’s basketball semifinals and final, men’s hockey semifinals and final and the women’s hockey final.
Live coverage of these events will be broadcast primarily on the channel currently known as The Score, which is the third most popular sports television broadcaster in Canada. Sportsnet owner Rogers Communications purchased The Score last year with the intention of incorporating it into the Sportsnet brand. The Score will officially be rebranded under the Sportsnet umbrella on July 1, 2013.
With the acquisition of The Score, Rogers Communications and Sportsnet now boasts a higher capacity for live sports coverage. With the CIS looking to increase their profile among sports viewers and Sportsnet looking to fill airtime, the deal is a natural fit for both parties.
Although only 13 events will be broadcast in 2013–14, the agreement allows for expansion over the course of the contract. By 2018–19 as many as 27 CIS events could air annually on Sportsnet, opening the door for the broadcasting of more football, basketball and hockey games, as well as expanded championship coverage in sports such as volleyball and swimming.