MLB Network could (finally) be
coming to Canada
Major League Baseball’s league-owned all-baseball channel MLB Network launched in 2009, and to date, it sees the largest distribution base of any of the other league networks. But, as of today, MLB Network is not seen in Canada, a case of being caught up in the approval process of the Canadian Television-radio Commission.
As early as 2009, Rogers Cable, who owns the Toronto Blue Jays, was trying to get MLB Network broadcasted in Canada (see MLB Network Reportedly Coming to Canada as "Baseball TV"). Rogers had let the license to pursue MLB Network expire last year.
But, according to a report today in The Globe and Mail, Rogers has begun actively pursuing the league-owned network, again.
"MLB Network's market research in the U.S. and Canada indicates that Major League Baseball fans have a considerable demand for more information and insight about the sport of baseball," the network wrote in a letter supporting Rogers' application to the CRTC.
"MLB International believes that MLB Network should be added .... in doing so, the Commission will ensure that Canadian consumers are able to access a non-Canadian service that will provide unique programming content in a genre that does not currently exist in Canada."
Rogers argues in its application that the pay service would be complementary to existing coverage provided by its own spots channel, as well as those operate by RDS and TSN.
"Of the 2,430 live regular-season games in Major League Baseball, MLB Network only features up to 150," the application states. "In other words, the percentage of live games offered on MLB Network is minimal compared to the number of live games that are available through Canadian specialty services like Rogers' Sportsnet. Any overlap in programming is insignificant to consumers today."
According to the report, the application for MLB Network in Canada is open for comment until mid-July.
MLB Network would not be the first sports channel from the United States to gain access into Canada. The CRTC has previously authorized the NFL Network, the Golf Channel and Speed for Canadian distribution.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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