Shaw puts in application for sports channel

The new channel would be called Shaw Media Sports and broadcast mainstream sports, the application states.

The odds on a joint bid from Shaw Communications and the CBC for NHL or Olympic Games rights got shorter Friday when the western Canadian cable giant put an application for a sports specialty channel in front of the CRTC.

The regulator said the bid is for Shaw Media Sports, to be run by Shaw Television G.P. as a ‘mainstream’ category 2 sports channel.

That means Shaw, which recently acquired the former Canwest Global Communications Corp.’s TV assets and rebranded them as Shaw Media, will be looking for rights to pro hockey, football, basketball and other major sports coveted by rivals like CTV’s TSN, set to be taken over by BCE, and Roger Communications’ Rogers Sportsnet channel.

And with the CTV-Rogers Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium looking likely to bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, the consensus is that CBC and Shaw will team up for a rival bid when they become available in April if either hopes to overcome the deep pockets of the TSN- and Sportsnet-parents.

Shaw-owned niche channels like TLN and Euroworld Sports and the CBC’s Bold channel would be expected to be part of a joint CBC-Shaw bid for the Olympic rights.

The CRTC bid for a sports channel licence was preceded by Shaw hiring former Canadian Olympic Broadcast Consortium exec Christos Nikitopoulos as its new vice-president of sports.

From Playback Daily