TSN and Sportsnet losing English Premier League Canadian broadcast rights

English Premier League soccer appears set to not have a home on traditional Canadian TV for the first time in at least two decades.

Currently EPL rights are split between TSN and Sportsnet, as they have been for many years, but sources suggest talks broke off recently.

Assuming those talks are dead, there’s really only one service left that makes any sense: DAZN, the online-only streaming service.

For DAZN, it’s a move that makes sense. They added NFL broadcasts a year ago, though that was hardly a smooth launch.

But undaunted, he UK-based broadcaster, which counts Canada as one of its major operations, has continued to target rights packages both big and small. They are the exclusive rights holder to the UEFA Champions League, a deal that began this season.

They added Major League Soccer, showing most games live in Canada (the Canadian teams’s matches being an exception.) They hold rights to German, Spanish, French and Italian soccer as well.

They already have deals to cover more traditional British sports like rugby, darts and cricket.

In the U.S., they rolled out their operation a few months ago, initially focusing their efforts on boxing.

Assuming they do indeed land the EPL, that’s a huge score. The English league has a long-standing following in this country.

DAZN’s approach is somewhat unique: they charge $20 per month for their service, and while they target specific fan bases, they don’t have specific subscription packages. Sign up to watch one sport, you get everything.

They also allow for subscribers to pause their service without penalty; you can suspend your package for months without having to pay anything.

While soccer is still a relatively niche sport compared to hockey or the CFL on Canadian TV, it’s still a tough loss for Sportsnet, who have long trumpeted their EPL package, and also for TSN, who lost the Champions League rights earlier this year after holding them for decades.

pjohnston@postmedia.com

twitter.com/risingaction

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