So for those who aren’t sure where to point the finger (is it Rogers’ fault, or is it the other carriers’ fault?), it sounds like there is enough blame to go around, although Rogers feels that it rests on the shoulders of the competition. Rogers Sportsnet President Doug Beeforth stated recently that people are wrongly blaming Rogers for the lack of Sportsnet One on competitive carriers. “We have made this signal free of charge to all the carriers for the first three months,” he said in an interview with Globe And Mail. “We gave them two months’ notice of our plans. Why aren’t they offering a free channel to see whether the public wants the service? We are absorbing the production costs of games so people can see what we’re offering. I think fans have to be asking the other carriers why they’re not carrying the signal rather than blaming us for providing a new service.”
So the problem is simply this… Rogers bought up the rights for broadcasting certain games. It’s already available on their TV service (which we don’t have here in Western Canada). Shaw, Bell, TELUS and any other competitors out there would (presumably) have to pay a premium for this channel, and they’re currently refusing to do so (it would seem), which would actually be a bit of irony. According to The Province, when TSN launched TSN in August of 2008, it was believed that TSN wanted Rogers customers to pay an additional 30 cents per month for this new channel. Rogers held out for a while (much to the chagrin of their subscribers, who missed several Raptors games). So now karma is a bit of a bitch, and unfortunately, us fans are caught up in the dick-slapping, tug of war battle between these companies. If this is the case though, the vengeance on Rogers’ part seems a bit misguided, as the real enemy isn’t the competing networks, but TSN in the aforementioned case.
At any rate, if the channel is currently being offered free of charge to all carriers right now, I’m not sure why they haven’t jumped on it. I have to wonder what charge Rogers Sportsnet is asking from the carriers, but if it’s $3 or less, I’m more than willing to pay for it. These PPV games were $17 each.. some months we had 4 PPVs… I think I can handle the $3/month.
So what’s the CRTC’s position in all of this? Well, they’re staying out of it. One rep stated: “Sportsnet One has no ‘right of carriage.’ This means its carriage is strictly a contractual matter between the TV service provider (cable or satellite) and the broadcaster. The CRTC does not play a role in such matters.”
So, as far as I can figure, if you’re going to pressure anyone to get this channel, it’s got to be your current carrier. It doesn’t seem that any of them are in any hurry to redirect blame from Rogers. And while it might not make people happy to think that Rogers bought up the rights to a bunch of games for their network and we can’t see any of them, just start by thinking of what the alternative for those games was.. the $17 (for HD) PPV. Then think why we can’t see those channels. They are available to Shaw, Bell, and other carriers. It might come at a premium, but is it $17 / game / customer? I kind of doubt that. Count me down for my $2.99 / month contribution, Shaw.
On the other hand, if these carriers don’t play hardball.. what good is a channel of regional coverage not viewable by anyone? I can see the motivation by Shaw, Bell, TELUS and others, but I’d rather just pay my small fee, and watch the Oilers tank another season.