Sportsnet searches for Canada’s best sports bar

The annual competition's new regional format increases local participation, and quadruples the number of winners looking to tout their victory.

Rogers Sportsnet launched its annual search for Canada’s best sports bar, this time with regional categories designed to help tap broader participation across the nation. Instead of choosing one national finalist as in previous years, each Sportsnet region – East, West, Ontario and Pacific – will now have a winner, resulting in coast-to-coast coverage. With regions competing against each other this year, the number of entries is expected to triple.

The competition, which launched on Sportsnet and this week, will see the winning sports bar – announced on Dec. 8 – receive an award from Sportsnet’s on-air talent. Sportsnet will also produce the four finalists’ video entries, one from each region.

‘This year, the final four bars can expect a significant amount of exposure, with their videos being aired not only on Sportsnet prime-time programming but also online at,’ Dave Ballingall, VP marketing, Rogers Sportsnet, tells MiC.

While TV and online media buys promoting the competition are handled internally by Sportsnet, significant regional media buys are expected from the winning bars, to tout the victory. ‘Last year, a significant heavy-up was purchased by the winning bar, Shark Club in Grande Prairie, Alberta, across the West region,’ says Ballingal, ‘as well as within the network’s premium shows like Sportsnet’s Connected, Hockeycentral and Home Team Hockey live event programming.’ A Sportsnet crew was on location to film the award presentation, later edited into a 30-second TV spot that also aired on these programs.

Sports bars have until the end of this month to enter the contest.