'Rocket scientist' not needed to see Jets appeal

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:25 AM ET

WINNIPEG - TSN has made a 10-year commitment to the Winnipeg Jets and they’re expecting the partnership to be mutually beneficial.

When asked why TSN and Bell Media Radio was making such a substantial push in a small-market, TSN president Stewart Johnson gave a blunt assessment.

“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see what was going on in this community,” Johnson said at a press conference. “From the build towards the team finally being announced on May 31 and certainly the excitement and passion we’ve seen since then. Yes it is a small market, when you compare it to markets around Canada and around the NHL but we truly believe the support in this community, not only in Winnipeg but the remainder of the region is immense. When discussions began, we were thrilled, we jumped on board and there was no hesitation whatsoever. We think this is a fantastic opportunity.

“Like we’ve done in Montreal with TSN Habs, we wanted to create a channel where folks know where to go when it’s game-time.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it’s expected to be a lucrative package.

TSN also announced the creation of a regional channel called TSN Jets, which will launch Sept. 20 (the day of the first Jets pre-season game) and carry 60-plus games this season in the Jets broadcast region, which includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and parts of northwestern Ontario, including Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay.

The channel will be available free of charge to current Bell subscribers starting Sept. 20 on channel 1423 in HD or on 423 in standard definition, while negotations are ongoing with other distributors like Shaw and MTS to pick up the channel.

The monthly cost of adding that channel on another provider is not yet known.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to expose our club,” said True North Sports and Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ludlow. “It provides coverage for all of our games home and away. And in today’s financial world, organizations like ours — and frankly every other team in Canada — need to operate under national and regional exposure broadcast deals. It helps in terms of distribution, carriage, brand exposure, advertising. All of the above. And the association clearly with the leading brand, in TSN, we’re just fortunate to be there.”

Although there had been some chatter this summer that the TV broadcast might be simulcat on radio, the importance of having separate broadcasts became evident early in those discussions.

“It’s called a different way and we thought each platform needed a dedicated voice,” said Johnson. “When this broadcast team came together, it was a slam dunk.”


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