TSN solves its conflict

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:34 AM ET

Call it a handy tool to help untangle the odd scheduling conflict.

But The Deuce North, it surely isn't.

TSN unveiled something new earlier this week -- the ability to offer viewers two live events on separate feeds.

While NHL games occupied TSN's schedule Tuesday and Wednesday nights, golf fans could flip over to an "alternate" network channel to catch live coverage of the Grand Slam of Golf in Hawaii.

It was the first opportunity for TSN to make use of the simultaneous feeds, granted in a CRTC ruling earlier this month.

But if you're thinking it's the beginnings of TSN2 ... well, guess again.

"There's a big misconception out there ... We don't have TSN2, like ESPN2," said TSN president Phil King. "What we've been given is the right, 10% of the time, to make two feeds available in your household."

And don't expect that 10% to become a frequent thing -- at least not yet.

What it does, though, is give TSN the ability to service two viewer groups who might have different interests.

Golf fans, for example, would have had to wait to catch the Grand Slam on tape after hockey without the extra feed available.

"From time to time, maybe once a month, we have a conflict (between two live events) that we can't solve," said King.

"So something goes on live, and something goes on tape. And we'd have the people who wanted to watch the taped event (live) mad at us.

"Tuesday and Wednesday was a good example. We had the NHL, and we had Tiger Woods live against Mike Weir."

Had the CRTC ruling come down sooner, it would have allowed TSN to show Breeders' Cup horse racing on the second feed earlier this month.

COVERAGE WAS RESTRICTED

Instead, because of scheduling conflicts, coverage was restricted to TSN HD and a Woodbine channel.

King also points out it is up to the cable and satellite providers to make room for the alternate digital channel on the nights TSN wants to use it. Rogers, Bell ExpressVu and Star Choice all did so for the golf.

A lot more folks were probably happy because of it.

"This is really for the viewers," said King.

Just don't call it TSN2.

VANIER SCORES: The Score is going all out to give the Vanier Cup a big-league feel. The network will broadcast the Canadian university football championship game in high definition, and the yellow first-down line is being employed. Pre-game (2 p.m.) and post-game shows are also scheduled around the 3 p.m. game between Laval and Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. The HD broadcast is a first for the Vanier Cup. "It's one of the top-of-the-line events in Canada and it's a good opportunity for us to make the jump (to HD)," said Anthony Cicione, The Score's VP of programming and production. Tim Micallef and Duane Forde have the game's call.

SENS ON THE BIG SCREEN: A couple more signs that a deal to put Senators pay-per-view games on movie theatre screens is imminent: Cineplex Entertainment has the Senators logo on a link to NHL game offerings on its website, and the company has been advertising upcoming ticket sales for the games during previews at its local theatres.

TALKIN' TURKEY: The NFL Network aired its first live regular-season game last night in Kansas City without carriage on two major U.S. cable carriers, Time Warner and Cablevision. An NFL Network broadcast rule regarding home markets allowed Broncos fans in Denver, which is serviced by Time Warner, to see the game on a Fox affiliate ... Sunday's Indianapolis-Dallas game pulled in a 14.7 rating, the highest figure for any NFL game this season.

AROUND THE DIAL: ABC's 13.4 rating for the Ohio State-Michigan game last Saturday was the highest for a U.S. college football regular-season game on any network in 13 years. In the morning, ESPN pulled in a record audience for College GameDay ... The George Michael Sports Machine, a syndicated sports highlights show seen on NBC affiliates, is going off the air in March after 23 years ... Reports suggest YouTube's NHL channel could launch before the end of the month.


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