TSN drops the ball ...

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:06 AM ET

Edmonton Eskimo fans have a right to be upset at TSN.

The Green and Gold's next game - Sept. 21 in Montreal - will not be televised on TSN.

Instead, the game involving two of the top teams in the CFL will be broadcast on the new TSN2.

The problem with that is TSN2 is brand-spanking new and only available on certain TV providers.

For example, it isn't available to Shaw cable subscribers.

(I wouldn't want to be answering the phones at the Shaw switchboard this morning.)

In the good news department, TSN2 is available on Bell - channel 403 and 848 HD.

But back to the bad news, the channel is not on Star Choice.

"TSN has a contractual obligation to broadcast complete coverage of golf's Ryder Cup, which includes play on September 21st," a CFL statement read yesterday.

The last time I checked, TSN also has a contractual obligation to the CFL.

But in this case, TSN's contract with golf is clearly too important to break - so the CFL and its fans get the shaft.

"The CFL has been aware of the conflict but could not move the Edmonton-Montreal game because the Alouettes' agreement with McGill requires their home games be played on Sunday afternoons after Labour Day," continued the CFL statement.

Here's an idea TSN management should take and immediately bring to reality: put Sunday's game on Access TV in the Edmonton market.

Access TV is available on basic Shaw cable (channel 9) and is owned by CTV, which owns TSN.

It is the logical and correct move - making the game available to a large number of Eskimo fans.

Credit to the Eskimos marketing department because it is trying to find a way to make the tilt available to their fans.

"We are going to have discussions with the city on the idea of showing the game on the Jumbotron at Commonwealth Stadium," said Eskimos director of marketing Dave Jamieson.

While nothing is finalized, a charitable angle would likely be added to the stadium event - like making a donation to get in to watch the game.

For what it is worth, the long-range forecast calls for 15C under a partly cloudy sky (40% chance of rain) on Sunday in this city.

The decision by TSN to move the game to their secondary network has fans steaming.

It has been a hot topic on www.esksfans.com - the local football chat site.

To be fair to TSN, nobody outside the network knows the language of its golf contract compared to its CFL contract.

And the network is pumping millions of dollars into team bank accounts in their five-year deal to be the only English-language TV provider of games.

That is certainly helping to keep the CFL moving forward in solid financial shape.

But that won't ease the frustration of Eskimo fans on Sunday morning - kickoff is 11 a.m MT - when TSN isn't showing the game.

The tilt will be available live on tsn.ca and can be heard on 630 CHED.


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