Sportsnet, the Canadian sports cable channel that competes with TSN, is betting big on European soccer.
The network has secured the Canadian media rights to qualification matches for the UEFA Euro 2016, as well as the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament. Under the terms of the deal, only Sportsnet will be able to air any of the matches.
This is not European soccer's debut on the network. Currently Sportsnet and TSN share the rights to English Premier League contests, with each network getting the rights to 190 matches annually through 2016, when the rights need to be renegotiated.
Sportsnet also has the rights to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, while TSN has the rights to the Euro 2016 tournament itself.
Terms of the deal were not revealed, but under the deal Sportsnet has access to 258 qualifiers in UEFA EURO 2016, beginning in September 2014, as well as another 258 qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Those qualifiers begin in September 2016.
“Canadians have an insatiable appetite for European soccer,” said Navaid Mansuri, Sportsnet vice president of programming. “The addition of more than 500 elite European qualifying matches to Sportsnet’s already comprehensive soccer portfolio ensures Canadians will remain connected to the beautiful game for years to come.”