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New deal puts more Sens games on TSN

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
It’s great news for TSN and the National Hockey League.

And, by extension, the new six-year broadcast and digital rights agreement announced by the two parties today could wind up being a rather good deal for the Ottawa Senators and their fans.

The key component of the new TSN/NHL contract, which begins this fall and runs through the 2013-14 season: Every one of the network’s 70 broadcasts each year will feature a Canadian team. The Senators are guaranteed 10 appearances annually, a new high-water mark for Ottawa games on TSN.

“It means more televised games for the average fan,” Jim Steel, the Senators’ vice-president of broadcast services, said of the increase in national television exposure for the team. “This is a good thing from that perspective.”

Last season, for example, four Senators games on Wednesdays – when TSN holds broadcast exclusivity – weren’t televised locally. But the addition of more Sens games on the network could potentially prevent that situation for occurring again in future seasons.

“It’s better for us to have TSN show those (Wednesday) games nationally than have them going dark,” said Steel.

For the first time, Senators fans might also see playoff hockey on TSN instead of CBC. The new agreement allows for the possibility of TSN showing a first-round playoff series involving a Canadian team, if at least three qualify for the post-season.

The TSN deal, which mirrors the length of an extension signed previously by the CBC, also includes broadband, wireless and video-on-demand rights. The vast majority of TSN’s telecasts will air in high-definition format.

“Giving Canadian hockey fans more coverage of their teams has always been a top priority for TSN and this new deal delivers with greater access to Canadian teams and expanded hockey coverage on the digital platforms,” said Rick Brace, president of revenue, business planning and sports for CTV, Inc.

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