Whitecaps May Have Their MLS Television Partner

To many in Europe, North America is not considered to be a hotbed of footballing fervour. To those of us here, we know that you’ll find some of the most passionate football fans in the world in Canada and the US. The problem is that there’s not enough of us, but at least it’s growing all the time.

One of the first things I was amazed at when moving over here was how much football could be found on our TV screens. Admittedly a lot of it requires extra cash to be shelled out, but for the variety of Leagues and competitions available, it’s certainly worth it. There’s so much more available than you can get in the UK.

Something which is severely lacking in the football coverage we can get in Vancouver though is MLS action and when we have the Whitecaps making the move next season, what we have needed more than anything is for football fans in the city to see what the League is all about, build up their knowledge and interest in our future opposition and rivals and hopefully get their season ticket deposits put down. Even if the lazy bastards don’t want to leave their armchairs, it would be nice for them to develop a desire to watch us in the League next season and beyond, as we own Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

The Caps can do all the marketing that they want. There’s nothing better for creating a buzz than being able to watch the actual product that they’re trying to sell.

It may just be my perception of things, but the amount of Toronto FC games on CBC this year seems to have reduced. Not a great loss, as it saves me wanting to throw something through my screen every time Nigel Reid opens his mouth with the most irritating accent I’ve ever heard on my TV and never heard in my entire life of living in the UK. He’s lauded as being “the voice of Major League Soccer on CBC”. That’s not something for them to be proud of and for that reason alone, I would want to see no MLS action on that network. In fact they shouldn’t be allowed near any football till they get rid of him.

Sure the TFC games are still being shown elsewhere, but they’re all over the place and a lot of them are on channels not free to air and that is prohibitive to the game’s growth and the raising of interest in it and the MLS in Canada.

I’ve personally not had much interest in MLS over the years. That’s primarily due to me not giving a flying fuck about any of the teams or players in the League. I had a short one season interest in Real Salt Lake when Kenny Deuchar joined them. He was a legend of my beloved East Fife, but that move didn’t last past one season.

This season, I’ve wanted to make the effort. I’ve wanted to know who to hate and shout abuse at next year. I’ve got a few identified as getting on my tits, so that’s a good start. I’ve wanted to watch non TFC games, to see other teams and especially Seattle. That’s not been possible without tracking down internet streams. Your average footballing loving Vancouverite isn’t going to be doing that.

When you can readily watch more action from the likes of the Uruguayan league than the domestic one, then something is far wrong.

For all those reasons, it is very important to the future of the Whitecaps that they pick their MLS television partner(s) with a lot of thought. We need to get the Caps out there. To challenge for media attention in a hockey mad city by making a visual impact in everyone’s homes. To have people talking about the winning Caps and not the losing Canucks and Lions. People need to know, and see, that there is a successful, winning team with a long, proud history in their city and the best sporting atmosphere in Vancouver to boot.

As it turns out though, that job may just have been made one hell of a lot easier for the Caps as it was announced today that Bell Canada Enterprises have agreed to acquire 100 per cent of CTV, in a deal thought to be worth $1.3 billion.

Assuming the deal is approved by the federal regulators, Bell would acquire all of CTV’s television assests, including TSN and TSN2. As the Whitecaps shirt sponsors, it makes complete sense that they would then want to showcase their investment to the max by having CTV and the TSN networks as the home of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

And I would love that.

Now of course this is all idle speculation on my part at present, but it would be a deal that would appeal to me greatly for many aspects and one that I hope the Whitecaps and Bell would be announcing soon.

With CTV and TSN having nationwide potential, and the fact that many households in Vancouver and throughout Canada will have at least two of the channels in their television packages (TSN2 is not available to some and others don’t want to pay the extra for it), this would be a fantastic deal for the Caps exposurewise.

It would also have huge appeal in the fact that TSN and CTV have no interest in Toronto FC. We would not need to share our airtime and coverage with another side. We would be their sole domestic footballing output.

I’ve been worried that if CBC get their hands on the Caps next year, we’ll be forced into double headers with TFC games, resulting in horrible, atmosphere sapping early afternoon Saturday kickoffs. Hopefully, with summer sporting schedules being the way they are, CTV/TSN would be looking at placing us in some primetime coverage, meaning decent kick off times.

TSN’s coverage of the football that they do show just now (in fact with most sports on the channel to be honest) is also far superior to what you find on CBC and Sportsnet in my opinion and would be worth looking forward to.

It’s certainly shaping up that the Whitecaps deal with Bell is looking better and better for the Club and the fans. With the promise of exclusive phone material next season already, you would expect something similar with their television arm now.

And who knows. We may yet see Bell putting their name to BC Place, rivalling Rogers Arena. Will we have BCE Place? Bell BC Place? Bell Communication Place, known as BC to all?

That’s all idle speculation for another time.

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Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 12 comments for this article
  1. Arne Salvesen at 04:33

    What's really funny is that for those of us who have grown up in Vancouver, we know TSN as the Toronto Sports Network since it shows nothing but Maple Laffs hockey. How sweet would it be to have VWFC as the main MLS club on TSN!

  2. Arne Salvesen at 04:33

    What's really funny is that for those of us who have grown up in Vancouver, we know TSN as the Toronto Sports Network since it shows nothing but Maple Laffs hockey. How sweet would it be to have VWFC as the main MLS club on TSN!

  3. Krammerhead at 04:50

    Is TSN free to air? I remember a couple of years ago only having basic cable and I didn't get TSN, it's one of the reason I moved up to what I have now. Anway, TFC games this year haven't been all over the place. Any game not on CBC has been shown on GolTV Canada. GolTV, as they did starting late last season, has also been picking up the occasional ESPN broadcast of other games. Last night they showed the snooze fest out of Seattle.

    I'm not sure why there is fear over CBC doubleheaders. CBC does that for hockey for the simple reason that on a winters Saturday night in most of Canada it is too cold to want to go out or do anything but sit at home. The ratings they get make it attractive to fill in the TV time with 4 hours of hockey. I don't think that CBC would even consider filling Saturdays with that much domestic soccer.

    Having said all that, yes Nigel Reed is a twat.

  4. Krammerhead at 04:50

    Is TSN free to air? I remember a couple of years ago only having basic cable and I didn't get TSN, it's one of the reason I moved up to what I have now. Anway, TFC games this year haven't been all over the place. Any game not on CBC has been shown on GolTV Canada. GolTV, as they did starting late last season, has also been picking up the occasional ESPN broadcast of other games. Last night they showed the snooze fest out of Seattle.

    I'm not sure why there is fear over CBC doubleheaders. CBC does that for hockey for the simple reason that on a winters Saturday night in most of Canada it is too cold to want to go out or do anything but sit at home. The ratings they get make it attractive to fill in the TV time with 4 hours of hockey. I don't think that CBC would even consider filling Saturdays with that much domestic soccer.

    Having said all that, yes Nigel Reed is a twat.

  5. GoF at 06:18

    TFC games have also been on various Sportsnet channels too, so that was why I feel they're all over the place.

    The picture quality I get of Gol is appalling. No HD option of it for me. I don't think TSN is free to air but CTV obviously is.

    My fear of doubleheaders on CBC is enforced 4pm kick offs. I'm sure you appreciate why!

  6. GoF at 06:18

    TFC games have also been on various Sportsnet channels too, so that was why I feel they're all over the place.

    The picture quality I get of Gol is appalling. No HD option of it for me. I don't think TSN is free to air but CTV obviously is.

    My fear of doubleheaders on CBC is enforced 4pm kick offs. I'm sure you appreciate why!

  7. Krammerhead at 16:54

    MLS requires that it's teams broadcast in HD, hence every game on GolTV has also been shown in HD as well. On Shaw (I believe you are Telus, I haven't a clue about the set up there, sounds like you are out of luck) that means tuning to channel 318 (it's one of the empty HD sports channels on Shaw) and you get the same GolTV broadcast in HD for no extra charge. This however is a problem, there aren' any mentions during the broadcast informing people they have that option. I agree GolTV standard broadcast quality is pathetic.

    Every TFC game covered by Sportsnet has been on the HD channel (also due to the MLS HD rule). So viewers with HD haven't been subjected to searching the TV for the game. For those without HD I guess they have had to search for which region is covering Toronto.

    As for doubleheaders, if CBC got the Whitecaps rights and decided for doubleheaders to copy their Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts why would they choose earlier games? Wouldn't they emulate their NHL coverage? TFC games at 4pm and Whitecaps games at 7pm? But I reiterate, they wouldn't do doubleheaders, it's not winter and not everybody is snowed in and willing to spend the night watching footy.

  8. Krammerhead at 16:54

    MLS requires that it's teams broadcast in HD, hence every game on GolTV has also been shown in HD as well. On Shaw (I believe you are Telus, I haven't a clue about the set up there, sounds like you are out of luck) that means tuning to channel 318 (it's one of the empty HD sports channels on Shaw) and you get the same GolTV broadcast in HD for no extra charge. This however is a problem, there aren' any mentions during the broadcast informing people they have that option. I agree GolTV standard broadcast quality is pathetic.

    Every TFC game covered by Sportsnet has been on the HD channel (also due to the MLS HD rule). So viewers with HD haven't been subjected to searching the TV for the game. For those without HD I guess they have had to search for which region is covering Toronto.

    As for doubleheaders, if CBC got the Whitecaps rights and decided for doubleheaders to copy their Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts why would they choose earlier games? Wouldn't they emulate their NHL coverage? TFC games at 4pm and Whitecaps games at 7pm? But I reiterate, they wouldn't do doubleheaders, it's not winter and not everybody is snowed in and willing to spend the night watching footy.

  9. Anonymous at 18:33

    Lets see if the Caps game on TSN will have their own token british guy to give credibility to the broadcast.
    Its condescending and idiotic. Soccer is not a hard sport to figure out and having some marble mouthed brit does not make the sport better. It does however help feed the popular “its a foreigners” sport even though it became the #1 sport in terms of registr. about 2 decades ago.

    French CBC have 2-3 excellent young francophones for the World Cup and Impact games while RDS which does nothing for soccer in the country just bought Champions League feeds with the obligatory frenchman from France for its token usage.

  10. Anonymous at 18:33

    Lets see if the Caps game on TSN will have their own token british guy to give credibility to the broadcast.
    Its condescending and idiotic. Soccer is not a hard sport to figure out and having some marble mouthed brit does not make the sport better. It does however help feed the popular “its a foreigners” sport even though it became the #1 sport in terms of registr. about 2 decades ago.

    French CBC have 2-3 excellent young francophones for the World Cup and Impact games while RDS which does nothing for soccer in the country just bought Champions League feeds with the obligatory frenchman from France for its token usage.

  11. Anonymous at 03:46

    TSN has Vic Rauter. He'll probably do the games and if he does the games, I would be a very happy man. He was very good at calling soccer.

  12. Anonymous at 03:46

    TSN has Vic Rauter. He'll probably do the games and if he does the games, I would be a very happy man. He was very good at calling soccer.

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