O Canada! With more coverage of Canadian teams than ever before, TSN today unveiled its 70-game NHL on TSN broadcast schedule for the 2008-09 regular season.
For the first time in network history, all regular season games will feature at least one Canadian team and will be available nationally in High Definition on TSN HD. In addition, TSN will carry a game involving each of the Canadian teams during the pre-season, starting with Maple Leafs at Pittsburgh on Sept. 24. This marks the first time in more than 10 years TSN will air pre-season action.
This year's 70-game package marks the start of TSN's new six-year broadcast and digital rights agreement with the NHL. Regular season coverage gets underway on Tuesday, Oct. 14 with Colorado @ Calgary at 9 p.m. ET. (See broadcast schedule link.)
Highlights of the NHL on TSN schedule include two all-Canadian match-ups featuring Conference rivals Ottawa @ Montreal (November 11) and Edmonton @ Calgary (December 31), and a minimum of 10 games for each of the six Canadian teams. Additional highlights include 13 doubleheaders, 7 Original Six match-ups, 5 games featuring the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, 4 games featuring the Washington Capitals and last season's scoring champion and Maurice Richard and Hart Trophy winner Alexander Ovechkin, 4 games featuring the Tampa Bay Lightning and No. 1 overall draft pick Steven Stamkos, and continued exclusivity of Wednesday Night Hockey, in which there are no other national or local NHL telecasts
"This is undoubtedly our strongest NHL broadcast schedule yet. Providing Canadian hockey fans with increased coverage of their favourite teams has always been a priority for TSN and our new NHL deal delivers with more coverage of Canadian teams than ever before," said Phil King, President, TSN.
Headlining the NHL on TSN's increased Canadian team coverage during the regular season is the Toronto Maple Leafs with 17 appearances, followed by Montreal with 15, and 10 appearances each for Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa.
The NHL on TSN enjoyed continued success last season with two telecasts cracking the network's Top 10 list of most-watched NHL games ever. Over the last five seasons, audience levels for the NHL on TSN have increased 32 percent, going from 311,000 viewers in 2002-03 to a season-ending national average audience of 410,000 viewers in 2007-08. Audience levels have also increased 30% over the past five seasons in the key A25-54 demo coveted by advertisers*.
Under terms of TSN's new NHL deal, TSN secures exclusive Canadian specialty television rights for national English-language broadcast and digital coverage of NHL games. TSN will also provide coverage of the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup© Playoffs, continued exclusive Canadian coverage of the NHL Entry Draft and NHL Draft Lottery, and a suite of broadband, wireless and video-on-demand rights for NHL on TSN telecasts.
Augmenting TSN's coverage, NHL Network will air 40 live NHL games during the 2008-09 regular season, including the return of a 'Game-of-the-Week' match-up and the popular 'Fan Favourite' game.
*All audience figures courtesy of BBM Nielsen Media Research and exclude pre- and post-game