Shaw will carry TSN Jets channel

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:39 PM ET

WINNIPEG - After some turbulent negotiations, the TSN Jets channel is landing on Shaw cable television in time for Winnipeg’s re-entry to the National Hockey League.

And it seems that MTS TV could soon carry the regional Jets channel as well.

After weeks of delay and uncertainty, Shaw Communications Inc. confirmed on Friday that it has made an agreement with Bell Media, which owns TSN, to run the Jets game channel in time for the team’s first pre-season game on Tuesday.

“Our objective is to carry the games, and to do it in the most consumer-friendly way,” Shaw president Peter Bissonnette told the Winnipeg Sun.

The announcement allays much of the fear among Winnipeg hockey fans, who had been concerned that TSN Jets would possibly not fly on their local cable providers in time for the new NHL season — despite weeks of TSN advertisements for the channel and its more than 60 Jets games to be telecast by next spring.

Shaw will operate TSN Jets for subscribers across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and much of northwestern Ontario. However, it will be available for free as part of what the Calgary-based company calls a “preview” until Dec. 1 on its standard and high-definition packages.

On Dec. 1, TSN Jets will be provided to customers for $9.95 per month.

The delay in MTS and Shaw arranging agreements to carry TSN Jets have reportedly stemmed from Bell Media’s asking prices that they had found costly.

MTS Allstream spokeswoman Selina Hinds said appeared optimistic that MTS’s digital television service would pick up TSN Jets.

“We are stilll in negotiations to carry TSN Jets and will make an announcement as soon as we can,” Hinds said, “which we expect will be shortly.”

Stewart Johnston, president of TSN, told the Sun that his network has been “overwhelmed by the positive reaction” from fans toward the Jets channel.

“We have presented a package to television service providers in the region that represents the economic realities of broadcasting pro sports in a smaller market,” Johnston said by e-mail,

Meanwhile, the separate NHL Centre Ice cable TV service blacks out games played by teams that are based in the viewers home markets. That means Centre Ice subscribers in Winnipeg will not be able to watch either home or away Jets games telecast on that service.

ross.romaniuk@sunmedia.ca


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