Posted by Michael Remis in Columns,General Jets News,Winnipeg Jets on September 5, 2011 — 52 Comments

Breaking Down the TSN Jets Television Deal – What will it mean for customers?

Last week TSN and the Winnipeg Jets announced a 10 year agreement to have TSN broadcast Jets games on a regional channel only available in Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Northeastern Ontario, NWT, and Nunavut. Currently, the channel is only confirmed to be available on Bell TV. Many residents of the TSN Jets region, are left wondering how they will be able to watch them games. (I can’t speak for any of the cable operators outside of Manitoba so I will focus on Winnipeg.)

I am on Shaw or MTS, will I be able to get TSN Jets?

Edit: Sunday, September 18, 2011 – It has been reported that MTS will carry TSN Jets at the same price of $9.95 per month. The free preview will last until the end of October.


EDIT: Friday September 16th, 2011 – Shaw has tweeted (@ShawInfo):

#Shaw is excited to announce deal to carry TSN Jets including a free preview until Dec 1. Stay tuned for more – Go #Jets! #NHL

Following the Free Preview – the channel will cost $9.95 per month

We will update the FAQ as more information becomes available

TSN has released the following statement

“TSN is in discussions with television service providers in the broadcast region with the hope of ensuring the broadest possible distribution of Jets games.”

What this means for consumers is that TSN and cable providers are negotiating how to package the channel with their current cable system. They will have to agree on fees paid to distribute the channel, as well as determine how to pass along any additional costs to consumers.

If you are currently on Shaw or MTS, it is important to wait with patience and hope that the cable companies come to an agreement with Bell Media. TSN Jets will be a necessity in many Winnipeg homes, it would be a shame if they were not able to negotiate a deal before the first exhibition game on September 20th.

More of your questions are answered after the jump

What happens if they do not negotiate a deal with additional providers before September 20?

This is the absolute worst case scenario which I would like to think will not come to fruition. If a deal is not reached in time to see games, people may either be forced to switch television service providers or cause a public outcry to urge the two sides to come together.

Is this common in the television world?

A similar situation happened last year when TSN acquired the rights to air 24 Montreal Canadiens games regionally. When the deal was announced, the channel was available only on Bell and this statement was issued in the press release:

“TSN is working with other distributors in the territory to ensure the broadest possible distribution of the Montreal Canadiens games”

While the TSN Habs channel launch, has been similar to the TSN Jets launch (thus far), it is worth pointing out that the Habs and Jets markets are different. Every Habs game is currently broadcasted nationally on RDS, for the English speaking viewers, who have no problems with watching a French broadcast , they may not be interested in switching cable providers, or paying extra for TSN Habs. While in Winnipeg, many fans will not have a chance to see a game live, the demand for hockey here is at a peak and Bell TV could be the only option to watch regional games on television.

What happened?

In the TSN-Habs region, the major cable providers are Videotron and Cogeco who serve over 2 million customers combined. Currently, neither offers TSN-Habs. This could be due to a number of factors, but the main reason being the cable companies and Bell were not able to reach an agreement.

Viewers who were on Videotron or Cogeco, who wanted to watch Habs games, could either continue watching them for no additional cost in French on RDS, or switch providers to Bell to watch the 24 regional games. A number of customers threatened to cancel and switch to Bell, and some were offered a deal to stay at the current provider at a lower price. (I spoke to a friend who lived in Montreal for information on the story, he is a Videotron customer who did not even know there was a TSN Habs, he commented that he is less interested in the Habs, and will be purchasing NHL Centre Ice to watch Jets games (more on that later))

Edit: As of September 8th, 2011 TSN Habs is now available on Shaw Direct 448 in SD and 392 in HD, thank you to commenter Solanges for pointing that out

What may happen?

TSN Jets will have 60 games available regionally, and will be the only way for Jets fans in Manitoba and surrounding areas to watch those games. Deals will be most likely (author’s opinion) be made with other providers to offer the channel. However, if deals are not made, Bell may provide incentives (free equipment, installation, lower prices) for Jets fans to switch, the other cable providers may then counter by offering incentives for customers to stay.

The Jets are too important to Winnipeggers for the cable companies not to reach an agreement. I believe that an agreement will be reached and fans on Shaw & MTS will be able to watch the first regular season TSN Jets broadcast vs. Pittsburgh on October 17th, 2011.

I live inside the TSN Jets broadcast region but don’t have Bell, can I watch the games on NHL Centre Ice?

For fans within the regional broadcast area, TSN Jets games will be blacked out on NHL Centre Ice, all other games will be available, but there will be no Jets games. The only way to watch the games broadcast on TSN Jets will be to order the channel.

I live outside the TSN Jets broadcast region, how will I watch the games?

For Jets fans outside of Manitoba and surrounding areas, TSN-Jets will not be available. To watch the games broadcast on the Jets regional channel, you will have to order NHL Centre Ice through your television provider or stream games online using NHL Gamecenter Live at NHL.com (this is a paid subscription service, which is quite good).

Other issues – CBC Manitoba HD

I can’t speak for MTS, but on Shaw channel 209, CBC HD is the Ontario HD channel. This means that during Hockey Night in Canada the HD game on CBC HD will be the Maple Leafs (or whichever game CBC Toronto is broadcasting). CBC has yet to release any information regarding which regions the various HNIC broadcasts will be available in, and any additional information about the Winnipeg Jets in HD being available to Manitobans. The season starts in almost a month (that soon already!?!) so there is plenty of time for those details to be released.

What should we do?

Currently, the only option that customers have is to wait. As the season becomes closer, we will have a better idea of the possible outcomes.

This article was written by Michael Remis follow him on twitter @mremis

  • Phillip Smithson

    I live in Alberta and am trying to figure out how I am going to watch all these Jets games. May have to bite the bullet and beg the wife to switch over to Bell from Shaw..

  • Hi Phil, thanks for your comments. I just wanted to clear something up.

    Since you live in Alberta, you are outside of the TSN Jets broadcast area. In order to watch the “out of market games” aired on TSN Jets, you will have to order NHL Centre ice

  • The CBC has delayed their switch to digital broadcasting in Winnipeg until Sep. 30 due to tower issues at the Richardson building. Once that is completed, that feed should replace the T.O. feed on Shaw HD, just as the Winnipeg feed of CTV replaced CFTO on channel 210 last week.


  • Allow me to provide some more insight, as I am a MTS TV customer.

    Currently, in HD, the CBC offered on MTS TV is from either Toronto (basic HD package), or, if you subscribe to the time-shift HD package, it’s from Vancouver. Thus far, there is no CBC HD from Winnipeg. (I believe only Global offers an HD broadcast actually from Winnipeg) Thus, as things currently stand, unless the Jets HNIC game is being broadcast on CBC HD Toronto (not likely as the Leafs will likely be playing at the same time as the Jets) or CBC HD Vancouver (more likely), Winnipeggers may not be able to watch it in HD.

    As it relates to TSN Jets, I’m confident that Shaw & MTS will both pick up the channel, and then charge Jets fans something like $5.95 per month to watch it. (That’s complete speculation). Keep in mind though that MTS is a big corporate sponsor of TNSE, and I cannot see TNSE standing idly by, as MTS TV customers are denied the chance to purchase the TSN Jets channel. For Shaw, it may be a little stickier, but again that is complete speculation.   

    As a complete aside, for anyone who was like me and did not understand why Shaw’s FOX feed came from Rochester, New York, and hated watching New York Giants games instead of Vikings games, the FOX on MTS TV comes from Minneapolis.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this. The best thing that customers of Shaw and MTS can do is to call/email to demand the channel.

  • Drew, I will agree with you, I can’t picture the games from the MTS Centre, not available on MTS TV.

  • Anonymous

    Remis you should post the ways to contact Shaw and MTS

  • Will Shaw and MTS better come to a deal or i can see 10 to 20 thousand people in the first month switching to Bell or more!!

  • You can contact Shaw here http://www.shaw.ca/Contact-Us/

    MTS Contact info here http://www.mts.ca/mts/personal/contact+us

    While I’d like to think contacting them would help speed things along, I don’t think it will. It will result on alot of time on hold (any time on hold is alot) and you’ll most likely be talking to a support rep who will provide you with the same responses I have given here. That response being, it is not available currently but negotiations are in progress.

  • Reaching a deal to carry the channel is one thing… handling the volume of orders and whatever is required to activate the channel in homes is another.  It’s amazing that this was the worst kept secret in the city for the past month or so, yet none of this stuff has been (apparently) figured out yet.

  • I am sure MTS and Shaw will be able to come to an agreement with Bell. It would be a nightmare for MTS and Shaw if they told all the die hard fans in Winnipeg they could not watch the Jets games on TSN Jets….

  • all that would do is give Shaw and MTS an excuse to charge exorbitant prices for the channel. Gives TSN/Bell all the leverage and MTS/Shaw none, meaning MTS/Shaw will be bent over by TSN/Bell and forced to pay (and thus pass along to customers) exorbitant fees to carry the channel. Gotta spread around the pressure. Let MTS and Shaw know what will happen if they drag their feet, but let Bell know it takes more than one channel offering to win customers.

  • If there was true competition in the telecommunications industry, this problem wouldn’t exist. But thousands of Winnipeggers (myself included) live in apartment buildings or areas that are not equipped for MTS-tv, or live in rented properties that forbid satellite dishes. I hate Shaw’s tiered packages, their limited HD lineup and their outdated program guide, but short of moving, they’re my only option.

  • Hi M Remis,

    Just a little story for folks who are Rogers customers.  A few years ago when TSN brought out TSN2, Rogers and TSN got into a fight and thus Rogers didn’t carry TSN2 for an entire NHL season.  The consequence to Rogers viewers including myself was that the games broadcast on TSN2 were blocked out for Rogers customers using NHL Centre Ice, even though those games on TSN2 were out of market games.  I am a bit uneasy about ordering Rogers Sports Pak (to get NHL Centre Ice) because I fear they or TSN will block out the games being broadcast on TSN Jets.  In addition Rogers jacked up the price of the Sports Pak a few dollars so that would be adding insult to injury if they didn’t have Jets games.

    My only other word or caution to Rogers/NHL Centre Ice viewers who are hoping to  catch Jets games.  You have zero control over what feed you will get on NHL Centre Ice, so don’t assume you will always get the TSN Jets HD feed, you might be stuck with the opposing teams feed (and could be crappier commentators/announcers/not in HD).

    If anybody can confirm with TSN/Rogers/NHL Centre Ice about my above statements that would be great, I emailed them all and got some corporate BS (each side said contact the other party and ask them).


  • I sent MTS an email asking about TSN Jets. Here is the reply I got.
    Hello Jim,

    Thank you for your e-mail inquiring about TSN Jets. At this time, MTS
    has not announced an agreement with Bell Media to carry TSN Jets.

    MTS continues to work with Bell Media to develop an agreement that
    will be in the best interests of our customers.

    Regardless of any agreement with Bell Media, MTS TV customers will be
    able to see 28 regular season games, which will be carried nationally
    on CBC and TSN. This is over 1/3 of all Winnipeg Jets regular season

    Thank you,
    MTS Allstream Inc.

  • Thanks Jim, I figure Shaw and other cable providers will have a similar response.

  • I contacted Rogers and they basically said they don’t have control over what TSN broadcasts LOL! They said ask TSN what they will carry on their stations.  LOL! Well TSN knows what they are carrying…the question is Rogers…will you be carrying TSN Jets! LOL! Trust me on this…either Rogers has NO interest in carrying it at all OR if they will be the last ones to carry and will wait till next season to do so…in the process screwing their own Rogers customers out of 40-50 Jets HD games by blocking it from NHL Centre Ice.

  • Just to confirm, this is Rogers in Thunder Bay/Northeastern Ontario?

  • Anonymous

    I will likely lose my mind if I can’t get it on shaw as I am in a condo that has an agreement with them exclusively. I cannot switch to MTS for that reason, am not allowed to attach a Bell satellite to the building, and it sounds like Centre Ice will be blocking our region.

    I certainly hope this gets rectified asap. I emailed them as well. 

  • A note on CBC feeds – 
    In Ontario there are different feeds dependant on your region of Ontario.  On HNIC nights where both the Sens, Leafs and/or Habs are playing separate games, there will be separate feeds in Eastern Ontario than in Southern Ontario and then in Quebec (outside of the National Capital Region).  IE: Sens games are on in the Ottawa region, Leafs games are on in the GTA and Habs are on in Quebec.

    All three feeds will link up during the intermissions for Coaches Corner/Satellite Hot stove.

    You can still watch the other feeds, but they is on a different, non-HD channels.

    I don’t see any reason why the Winnipeg feeds would be any different.  It already seems that most Saturday night Winnipeg games are on at 6 CST, which coincides with the 7pm EST games in Ontario/Montreal.


  • I’m in basically the same situation. It’s hard to believe this kind of exclusivity agreement isn’t a violation of competition laws.

  • Hi

    No this is Rogers for Toronto (Southern Ontario).  I’m not sure exactly how far up north folks we be able to get TSN Jets, however at the moment I believe Rogers as a whole does not carry TSN Jets and just Bell will.  I hope their responses to others enquiries won’t be so stupid to the tone of “we dont program TSN, we just carry their signal”.

  • The CBC is really going to try to cram as much Jets hockey into their regular broadcasts including I heard that “Hockey Day” in Canada will feature all seven Canadian teams including the Jets…although in the past it was all 6 Canadian teams playing each other…so an odd 7th team will be playing an American hockey team.  I noticed now that the American’s have copied CBC and started Hockey Day in America (barfs)!.

  • They can’t stop you from using another provider. Unfortunatley you would be paying twice for the service. In your condo fees or rent from the provider your not using (Shaw for example) and also directly from the provider you are getting service from (MTS).

  • No, in my building cable isn’t included in the rent. I pay the Shaw bill directly and at standard rates, no building discount or anything. MTS isn’t available in the building, either because the landlord doesn’t allow it (according to MTS) or because MTS hasn’t upgraded the infrastructure to deliver it (according to the landlord), and satellite dishes are explicitly forbidden in the lease agreement.

  • 7pm EST and 6pm CST which is when many of the games will be. CBC Manitoba will have Jets, CBC Ottawa Sens, CBC Montreal will be Habs. I am curious to see how the other CBC games will be allocated across the country.

    If you do not get all of the CBCs you can always watch all of the games streamed on CBC.ca

  • TSN Jets won’t be available on Rogers in Toronto as they aren’t in the broadcast region.

    But Rogers does operate in Thunder Bay and other parts of Northeastern Ontario, we will have to wait and see if they are given access in those parts.

  • It would be a nightmare and an embarrassment for True North. Fans would be outraged that they signed such a useless, inconvenient TV arrangement.

  • I agree about the limitations, but I much prefer Shaw over the snakes at MTS. Shaw give me better service for less money.

  • Hi

    I confirmed with Rogers today, as of now TSN Jets won’t be available with any of Rogers services (I assume that means even the Winnipeg region, at least for the time being).  I will pray for TSN Jets feeds to make it to NHL Centre Ice!

  • Too late.. I already switched.  Bell is the only local provider to offer TSN Jets in HD and RDS in HD.  Now I can get both the Habs and Jets in HD! Forget Shaw and MTS go to Bell!

  • Not really.  Bell is smart, and may use this a way to grow their business in this region.  ‘Get Bell, the only provider of TSN Jets.’  With the excitement fo rthe Jets at a fever pitch, MANY people may switch to Bell just to get TSN Jets.

    I know I did…

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget CBC Toronto Leafs. LOL. For the HD on CBC, I have read around the net and emailed the CBC. I have been told that there are only two CBC HD trucks and they are primarily used for the Leafs and Canucks when they play their games in Canada.

    When canadian based teams play in the States, the CBC usually rents HD trucks. So Jets games in the States should be in HD. If the other western teams are not playing or are in the States, the HD truck may go to Winnipeg for a Jets home game.

  • Anonymous

    Checking various internet sources, Shaw Cable serves NW Ontario. Anything from Sault Ste Marie west is Shaw territory.

  • Anonymous

    How can you get both teams? The Jets and Habs are in different regions.

  • Anonymous

    Mremis, don’t forget about Shaw Direct, they are the other major satellite carrier that are in the Habs and Jets regions. They are in the same dispute as Videotron and Cogeco in Quebec.

  • RDS is a National Channel, if he is in Winnipeg, he will be able to get RDS HD and TSN Jets HD. He will not be able to get TSN Habs though.

  • Anonymous

    My eyes fooled me. I missed the RDS part.

  • If you’re desperate enough, you’ll pay someone to set up Bell satellite at another location and have them broadcast the game to you using a SlingBox which you will stream using your fine Shaw internet connection.

    Or move.

  • While nothing has been finalized with MTS, there is plenty of speculation in the business community that after having spent millions of dollars to upgrade its sponsorship of the MTS Centre, showing Jets games on MTS TV is a no-brainer. Whether it’s part of the basic cable package or an extra channel remains to be seen, said Selena Hinds, director of corporate communications for MTS Allstream.”We’re working hard to ensure the best price and packaging for our customers with Bell Media for the TSN Jets channel. We don’t have a deal yet,” she said.

  • Did it not occur to the Jets organization that this TV deal might be a little high-maintenance?

  • Amen to that…..Big companies fighting over who can make the most money and really, caring less about us!!!!

  • Anonymous

    Shaw Direct is now carrying the TSN Habs channel.

  • Glenn Finockio

    For those switching from Shaw/MTS to Bell – you are just giving them what they want. I would suggest we call BELL’S corporate office daily until they lower their demands…

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  • Anonymous

    It would be interesting to see the economics of how much money Bell makes from increasing their subscriber base in Manitoba vs. how much they will lose in advertising revenue if the hockey games only reach a limited amount of households.

    One can only hope that this will drag on until the last minute as Bell plays hard ball to get people to switch, then comes to an agreement with Shaw / MTS to get their viewership / advertising numbers up.

  • Brent Fehr

    Here is the response I got from Shaw on Monday,

    Thank you for your
    interest in the TSN Jet’s channel. We’re excited about the upcoming hockey
    season and to see the Winnipeg Jets back in action. We will be providing this
    channel, however we are currently finalizing the deal with TSN and are unable
    to provide any more details at this time

  • Anonymous

    I have tried – but have been unable to find an answer to this question.  Will TSN-Jets games for sure be offered via NHL.com gamecentre live?  This from a concerned Jets fan in Alberta.  The preseason game, which was on TSN-Jets, was not available on gamecentre live.  Which I subscribed to. 

  • The only reason why I would think that the preseason game wasn’t offered was because NHL Gamecentre Live may not be required to, or may not offer all exhibition games.

    I used the free preview last year, they offer all home feeds & visitor feeds (you can choose), I would say that they may not carry the exhibition games, but I would expect that all of the regular season games will be on there.

  • Anonymous

    If only all forum / Internet in general inquiries were as promptly replied to!  Thanks very much – I’ll post back if there are any issues accessing games on Gamecentre.