Notes On TVA Sports, Universal Sports, NJ Devils & Some Sponsors

14 Sep

Here’s some news and notes for the day.


I haven’t done much reporting on Canada’s new French-language sports network, TVA Sports. TVA Sports launched on Monday. One reason I haven’t reported much was that TVA and parent company Quebecor were somewhat cryptic about the networks programming and availability. While some details have leaked out the last few weeks, TVA’s website wasn’t even operational until Monday morning. TVA Sports will air 39 Ottawa Senators games this season with Pierre Rinfret, Enrico Ciccone and Yvon Pedneault calling the action. That deal is part of a larger partnership with Rogers Sportsnet which will bring weekly Friday night CHL games to the network. TVA Sports will also air several hockey related shows including Junior et majeur hosted by Maxime Martin, Les Recrues which is a reality show showing rookies battling for a spot with the Shawinigan Cataractes and Le Match which will features Rinfret, Pedneault, Ciccone, Patrice Brisebois, Réjean Tremblay, Georges Laraque, Dave Morissette and Eric Fichaud and other guests in a studio show. Obviously TVA was probably launched for the possibility of an NHL team in Quebec City but its good to see the Sens and the CHL getting some more exposure.


Cable network Universal Sports is moving from over the air multicast channels to strictly satellite and cable carriage. That means if you are watching the network from a sub feed of a local TV station, get ready for that to end. Universal will now have to negotiate new carriage agreements with telco providers, similar to one they recently signed with DirecTV. Additonally, Universal Sports will now air events in HD. This may clear the way for Universal Sports to show NHL playoff games in the future as Universal Sports has aired some hockey before, primarily from the World Championships. Since NBC Sports is required to show playoff games across their family of networks, it would make sense to place games there once it gets more carriage nationally. In the meantime, it’s likely that USA and CNBC will be the front runners to show games in the future.


I don’t spend too much time talking about team finances on here since so many larger mainstream places are already reporting on it. With that said, I do feel the need talk about a report in The New York Post claiming the Devils are nearing bankruptcy. All I have to say is consider the source. No offense to the Post, but they aren’t usually a reliable source especially when it comes to the business of hockey. I don’t doubt that New Jersey is having some financial difficulties but I think the Post story is an exaggeration. The Devils quickly refuted the story not that it makes a difference. One thing’s for sure, you are sure to now hear the Devils mentioned in any possible relocation stories whether this story is true or not. The Devils image is now a little tarnished.


The Maple Leafs are the latest to sign a sponsorship deal with Scotiabank. The deal makes Scotiabank the official bank of the Leafs and AHL Toronto Marlies. Scotiabank has been very aggressive the last few years, even calling itself, “Canada’s Hockey Bank.” The company is an official partner of the NHL’s, and is a official sponsor of the Flames, Senators and Canadiens, not to mention a major Hockey Night in Canada advertiser.

The Isles may have an unusual sponsor in Tattoo Lou’s but Britain’s Elite Ice Hockey League has an interesting one of their own. Personal injury firm Rapid Solicitors is the new presenting sponsor of the EIHL. The league will now be called “Rapid Solicitors EIHL” and the firm will get full branding rights with the league’s TV partner, Sky Sports. While it sounds odd, Rapid Solicitors is actually a major sponsor of many UK teams and sports. Also plenty of NHL teams are sponsored by legal firms in some form, including the Red Wings (Sam Bernstein) and Sabres (Cellino & Barnes).


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