In a broadcasting decisions handed down this week by the CRTC, the federal regulator has approved an application by Shaw to operate a national, English-language sports channel.
Shaw had applied for the category 2 digital specialty channel last December saying the station would air competitive mainstream sports making it a direct competitor to Sportsnet and TSN.
On the surface, Shaw's desire to create a new sports channel would appear to be a sound business decision. Digital Specialty channels, especially sports channels, are extremely lucrative in Canada. Last year, the Canadian specialty television industry had profits of $877 million on $3.46 billion in revenues. The specialty station with the largest profits was Bell Media's TSN which earned profits of $53 million on revenues of $267.6 million. The second most profitable station was Rogers Sportsnet which earned $46.8 million on $217 million in revenues.
Unfortunately for Shaw shareholders, despite the station being approved by the CRTC, its unlikely to ever get off the ground. In June, Shaw said it was no longer going to launch its own sports channel citing the fact that TSN and Sportsnet had tied up the rights to most major North American sports leagues leaving little for Shaw to broadcast.
Said Shaw President Peter Bissonette to the Calgary Herald at the time "When you look at the rights that are out there and available, there are virtually none now, between Bell and Rogers they've got the CFL, the NHL, they've got the NFL. I think the only thing they were missing was ringette."
Discuss the Shaw sports channel and all of Canada’s Specialty stations in Digital Home's Canadian Television Industry / Channels and Providers forum .