Friday, March 30, 2007

More N. American TV rumours…

June 12, 2006

Last week SANZAR announced a 5-year broadcasting deal with Mediazone's Rugby Channel for rights to stream live SANZAR rugby.

Two weeks ago I reported a rumour -- and I caution here that's all it is, a rumour -- that the new RCS ("Rugby, Cricket, Soccer") specialty channel owned by Telelatino and recently approved by the CRTC is the "code name" for Setanta Sports Canada.

I wrote Telelatino directly a week ago and they have yet to notify me that they even received my enquiry, let alone responded with any sort of answer. I'll try to light a fire under their arses again this week and have them get back to me on the record.

In any event, I wrote Tim Archer, the media liason for the Australian Rugby Union and asked him about the new Mediazone deal.

Here is our correspondence:

Att: Tim Archer;

Re: The announcement of the new 5-year deal reached between SANZAR and Mediazone to carry live rugby on the internet, reported a couple days ago.

Is this an exclusive deal for all broadcasting rights, or internet rights only?

Here in Canada, the Fox Sports World Canada specialty channel dropped their SANZAR S14 and Tri-Nations test coverage last year.

The CRTC (the gov't Canadian broadcast regulator) has recently granted a new license to a broadcaster calling itself RCS ("Rugby, Cricket, Soccer").

What effect will the SANZAR-Mediazone internet deal have on RCS -- or any other N. American broadcasters' -- ability to negotiate and broadcast SANZAR games on television?

Can American and Canadian broadcasters still negotiate for SANZAR's television rights, or does Mediazone have those rights locked up for North America for the next 5 years?

Thanks, any help would be mightily appreciated.

Mr. Archer responds:


Setanta owns the exclusive SANZAR broadcast and Internet rights in Canada and the US as of this year through 2010. They have sublicensed the Internet rights to Mediazone for the duration of the contract. The only way another TV broadcaster in Canada could get broadcast rights would be to approach Setanta.


Tim Archer
ARU Media Dept

If I am piecing this together correctly, if the rumour is true that RCS is code for Setanta Sports Canada, and as Mr. Archer confirms, Setanta owns North American rights to SANZAR competition until 2010 (plus Guinness Premiership, Celtic League and Heineken Cup rugby), then rugby fans patience will be rewarded and we will have a broadcaster that provides us a service we care about.

Let's cross our fingers. Hopefully Telelatino/RCS will get back to me shortly and confirm one way or the other.

[Update:] I never imagined being a rugby fan meant traversing through boring corporate miasma, but stay with me for a minute and follow the bouncing (oval) ball...

The new specialty channel RCS (Rugby, Cricket, Soccer) recently approved by the CRTC is owned by Telelatino Network Inc. (TLN).

A simple pdf flow-chart from the CRTC detailing Telelatino's ownership structure with the announcement of the RCS approval can be found here.

Telelatino's majority shareholder is Corus Entertainment (50.5%).

I'll see if Corus knows anything... (Alas, they don't!)


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