It's a sweet deal for francophone followers of the Ottawa Senators.
TVA Sports, a new all-sports French-language channel being launched this fall by Quebecor, announced today that Senators game broadcasts will be a part of its programming lineup. As part of a long-term agreement, TVA Sports plans to air 25 Sens games per season starting in 2011-12.
"It’s great news for Senators fans, particularly our francophone fans who will get additional games now on TV," said Senators president Cyril Leeder. "It means another 25 games will be available in our broadcast territory and Quebec is a big part of that. These are games in addition to the ones we do on RDS. Last year, we had 24 games televised between RDS and RIS and this is an additional 25 games that will be available to our fans in Quebec."
The result will be the highest-ever number of Sens games available to French viewers.
"It will more than double our previous high," said Leeder. "We’ll have a minimum of 50 and probably closer to 60 games televised this year in French."
TVA Sports must still work out carriage agreements with cable and satellite distributors across Canada. The channel is already guaranteed carriage by Videotron, Quebec's largest cable operator, which is also owned by Quebecor.
Last season, thanks to the launch of Rogers Sportsnet One, the Senators were able to get all 82 games televised for the first time in franchise history. Leeder expects the same to happen in the season ahead.
"Our agreement with Rogers Sportsnet and Sportsnet One gives us that ability," he said. "We fully expect all 82 games will be broadcast again this coming season."