Sportsnet takes Tour de France rights from 2014

Copied from Playback - TourDeFrance-1

Sportsnet has got its mitts on the one professional cycling race that matters, the Tour de France.

The sports specialty channel signed a six-year multi-platform deal for the rights to the prestigious race in France, to start in 2014 after the current rights deal with TSN expires.

The agreement, to run until 2019, includes rights for TV, online and mobile to all 21 stages of the Tour de France.

Sportsnet already has the rights to other Grand Tour events in pro cycling like the Giro d’Italia in May and the Vuelta a Espana in August and September in Spain.

But unlike pro sports like soccer, auto racing and golf, where fan interest is international and focused on a number of major tournaments already airing on TSN and Sportsnet, fans and sponsors of pro cycling mostly converge once a year in July on the Tour de France.

Rogers Media is committed to raising its game with pro cycling, including in Canada where it will air the inaugural Tour of Alberta in September.

“The Tour de France is the ultimate event in cycling,” Navaid Mansuri, VP of finance and sports programming at Rogers Media said of the multi-year deal with Tour de France distributor Amaury Sport Organization, in a statement.

He added the Tour de France deal “solidifies our commitment to providing fans with premium cycling content across multiple platforms and strengthens Sportsnet’s already robust portfolio of cycling programming.”

From Playback Daily

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  • richard

    This year’s coverage is terrible compared to previous years. My wife and I have been avid Tour de France followers for years and have enjoyed the coverage provided, principally by Outdoor Life network and TSN (I believe) more recently. So we looked forward to watching this year’s Tour on Sportsnet.
    I can’t tell how disappointed we are with the morning coverage. It is poorly organized and presented, disjointed, poorly contextualized and poorly set up for understanding this year’s riders and teams, and it gives Paul and Phil almost a subsidiary role. We never see them in their box at the finish, we have no introductory panel and predictions for each day’s race. We aren’t given the graphics for each day’s route, the Australian announcer at the beginning and end is boring and unnecessary when you have Paul and Phil as commentators, scenes come and go without apparent reason or notice. And the sound levels are terrible, especially at the end when Paul and Phil become almost unintelligible. I could go on and on.

    Please bring back last year’s format and people. This year’s, with the exception of Paul and Phil is HORRIBLE!


    We totally agree – the evening coverage with only the Australian announcer is a snoozer and did not start with the context and colour commentary we have come to rely on….it is losing our attention – we might not be tuning in for 2014 if this type of coverage is all we get…

  • CPH

    Yes, this coverage is such a disappointment. I hope Sportsnet will realize the error of their ways and return to the old format.

  • Spin2Win

    richard nailed it. It seems we’re getting extended coverage – prior to the usual MS-NBC panel. But the Australian announcer isn’t worth listening to, and we really miss the opening panel. I can’t believe they are not showing the route map and elevation profile. Sound levels are off as well, with background noise louder than the announcers!

  • Derek

    We couldn’t agree more with Richard. My wife and I are also very avid Tour de France fans and have been watching it for years. Richard has hit the nail right on the head with all the poor issues related to this year’s coverage by Sportsnet. We record the morning coverage on our PVR and watch it in the evening. We find ourselves just waiting until the commentating is eventually turned over to Phil and Paul. Extremely poor coverage generally and we really miss all the features from previous years including the excellent personalities and actually seeing Phil and Paul in their booth, and the great stage maps etc.

  • PCamp

    I agree with all the below comments. We used to enjoy Bob Roll’s inclusion on the morning discussion and tried to guess the winners every day along with the panel. That initial commentary has contributed greatly to our learning about this sport and now it feels like the commentary is an afterthought. There was also better graphics in years past, and better indications of who was on the road. Sportsnet, give us a proper sporting event like what we used to enjoy with other broadcasters!

  • KD

    The programming and editing of cycle coverage on SN is terrible and seems to have no thought or effort applied. The editing of the feed (or lack of) makes watching the coverage frustrating, but other than going to on-line sources we have no other choice. (1) Ads are inserted randomly with no regard to what’s going on: commentaries and interviews are interrupted mid sentence, special features, sprints, finishes and other action has been interrupted at the most important times, with no going back to what was missed. In past coverage, ad insertion was planned and inserted without omitting action or information. (2) The shorter length coverage offerings (for times when we cannot watch 3-4+ hours of coverage), are just the latter portion of the stage feed with no inclusion or thought or mention of important events from earlier on in the stage. The shorter “Primetime” coverage from past years was edited and included the important coverage from throughout the stage, as well as some lighter features such as the U.S. Ask Bobke, etc., but it was still condensed to 2 hours. (3) At least so far, the stage finishes have been included for TdF coverage unlike the Giro and other 2014 race coverage. While I am glad there is now coverage of most cycling races throughout the calendar available to Canadians, it seems cycling is still deemed unimportant and disrespected by SN. Starts and even final finishes, final results and podium presentations have been pre-empted for baseball, basketball, and other sports and even for pre-recorded “Sport Forum” conversation shows that are available on other SN channels. Wonder what would happen if that was ever done during a hockey, baseball, basketball, etc game?

    Please start to invest some thought and effort to your cycling offerings. Why should Canadian coverage be sub standard to that of the US, Europe, Australia, etc – the feed is the same….. There is a cycling audience ever growing in number, passion and knowledge – sponsors will take note….

  • Debbie

    Agree with everyone. Good ole’ Rogers’. First the NHL and turfing of Ron McLean, now crap, crap, crappy coverage of the Tour de France. My husband is the big fan but I love to watch it for the scenery..which is beautiful. I always look forward to watching it every year and I do love Phil and Paul. Give this back to OLN or TSN if you don’t plan to actually cover the race.

  • Dave

    I think the new fellow and all the confusion may be the price of the extended coverage (and I’m getting used to him), but it would be nice if Sportsnet would at least explain their logic.