Raptors, NBA add bilingual twist

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET

French-speaking NBA fans are about to get their hoops fix.

TVA Sports announced on Monday that a two-year deal has been reached with the Raptors and the NBA to return league games to the French broadcasting airwaves for the first time in 13 years.

“Francophone audiences from Quebec and across Canada deserve the opportunity to appreciate the thrilling spectacle of NBA basketball,” said Pierre Dion, president and CEO of TVA Group, which like the Toronto Sun, is under the Quebecor Media umbrella.

Regular season games — Raptors and otherwise — as well as playoff and NBA Finals contests will be part of the package.

Besides hockey, there is a huge demand for football in Quebec and basketball continues to make inroads as well.

Le Journal de Montreal ran a translated version of the Sun’s weekly NBA Courtside spread all of last season.

“We’re thrilled to work with the NBA and TVA Sports on this exciting new initiative that allows us to better connect with Raptors fans across the country,” said Chris Hebb, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s senior vice-president, broadcast and content.

“After the success of our pre-season game in Montreal last year, we feel this is another step to better engage our French-speaking fans.”

The Raptors played the New York Knicks in a pre-season contest in October of 2010 at a sold-out Bell Centre.

“Quebec is an important market for the NBA in Canada, and this partnership will help build a strong presence for basketball in the province,” added Dan MacKenzie, NBA Canada’s vice-president and general manager.


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