raptors tv fiasco

MLSE Keeping Toronto Raptors Fans in the Dark

MLSE (the owners of the Raptors, Leafs, TFC , and the Marlies) have rewarded TSN the rights to broadcast 48 Raptors games, 25 of which will end up on TSN2 - a channel accessible to only Bell TV and Star Choice subscribers in Toronto, and not Rogers. As a result, many Toronto basketball fans have been left in the dark, unable to watch their beloved Raptors on TV.

On the surface this seems fine, but the problem here is that the majority of Raptor supporters in the Toronto area will be unable to watch these games. The very people that pay to go to the ACC, and support the team can't watch at home? How can this happen?

One of circulating theories out there has been that the takeover bid of BCE (Bell Canada Enterprises) by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (a majority stake holder in MLSE) could benefit from this move because Rogers is the main competitor of BCE. But with this week's news that the OTPP takeover of BCE is officially dead pretty much silences this theory.

Other public opinion suggests that TSN has simply tried to force Rogers' hand. By putting these games on TSN2 they knew full well that the public would pressure Rogers into eventually offering the channel.

To date, fans have only missed one game, but come December 15th (when the Raps take on Vince Carter and the New Jersey Nets again), we'll be looking frantically for a nearby sports bar that has TSN2. Anyone know of any sports bars downtown that will be showing the game? I don't really feel like calling bars and asking them which cable services they're subscribed to.

Whatever the reason for this debaucle is, MLSE (if they cared about there fans at all) must pressure the two sides into working out a deal by Monday. I can't help but feel if this TV standoff were affecting the broadcasting of the Leafs, Torontonians wouldn't stand for it, and it would be quickly remedied. MLSE would never allow 25 Leaf games to air without their core audience able to watch.

We are told that TSN and Rogers cable are in talks... but why the holdup? All other major cable providers in Ontario have picked up TSN2. We want to watch our Raptors!

Written by guest contributor NickT.
Photo by jPile.

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