Sportsnet, Setanta split UEFA soccer
The UEFA Champions League package formerly held by TSN will be shared by Rogers Sportsnet and Setanta Sports starting next season. The two Rogers properties announced yesterday that they had completed a deal that runs through the 2012 competition.
TSN had aired the Euro package for years, thanks to its relationship with ESPN. But Fox recently outbid ESPN for UEFA rights, which means TSN no longer got the games as part of its ESPN package. Soccer fans should get better coverage from Sportsnet, mainly because it’s more likely to put tape-delayed games in prime time. (Hey, it’s a lot easier to pre-empt poker than basketball.) It most likely will offer more games, too. Sportsnet will air more than half the 146 games, which is good news for those not willing to pay the $14.99 a month for Setanta.
AROUND THE DIAL
Sportsnet has hired Joe Ferraro to host a new weekly mixed martial arts show called MMA Connected. It will make its debut April 20. Ferraro will be Sportsnet's MMA analyst, a full-time positon. ... Here's good news for baseball fans: Fox and MLB are looking at starting World Series games earlier. That means those under the age of 12 and over the age of 55 might actually get to see the ninth inning. ... More good news: Thursday's Jays-Tigers game won't be carried by Sportsnet or TSN, but will be on the digital Rogers Extra Innings Preview channel (399) at 12:30. The April 30 game is also scheduled for the Rogers channel. ... For the second straight year, the National Hockey League will air its draft lottery April 14 live on TSN and Versus. Be still our hearts. ... Television's loss: TSN hockey prognosticator Maggie the Monkey (actually, Maggie the Crab-Eating Macaque) will retire after this year's Stanley Cup. The simian that out-performed many forecasters in her six-year career by spinning a wheel, won't be replaced. And how could she be?