It might come as a surprise, considering everything on TSN currently centres around Canada and the Women's World Cup, but outside of the event the national soccer team no longer has a broadcast partner.
Steven Sandor of the11.ca is reporting that the CSA's deal with Sportsnet is being mutually terminated despite running until the end of the year. Canada Soccer didn't feel that Sportsnet had enough air time for them going forward, while Sportsnet likely wasn't getting very good ratings on Canadian soccer games.
It's no surprise either, Sportsnet has a number of other deals including NHL, MLB and WWE wrestling that take priority on its main and extended channels. As far as soccer goes, they also have the Premier League which likely out rates Canadian soccer by a fair margin.
Sportsnet definitely deserves credit for giving Canadian soccer a chance, likely thanks to the interests of guys like Gerry Dobson, Craig Forrest, John Molinaro, Tim Mcallef, James Sharman and Sid Seixeiro, all of whom have been big supporters and promoters of the national team.
They did a lot of things to try and grow the game, including putting Canada on City TV when they were getting close to qualifying for the final stage of World Cup qualifying in 2012. But eventually they just didn't have enough space in their schedule to accommodate Canadian soccer.
Later this month Canada opens World Cup qualifying, while it isn't against a big opponent it is an important game. It wouldn't have been shown on Sportsnet, even the home game at BMO Field on June 18. Sandor says Canada is trying to make the games view-able. It will probably end up being a self-produced stream like the Guatemala match.
In terms of options, there may be some creativity that could bring up other channels, but TSN and CBC are the only two obvious choices at this time. They aren't equals, Canada should try its hardest to get something done with TSN.
For one, TSN has a great soccer crew with the likes of Luke Wileman, Jason De Vos and Kristian Jack among others. They have also shown their ability to promote and broadcast Canadian soccer through both MLS and with their outstanding promotion of Canada 2015.
If the Women's World Cup goes well, they may be more receptive to this deal going through. Their new multi-channel platform also makes this a good fit.
There is one other possibly wrinkle to this as well: the new Canadian soccer league that has been reported. Part of that league would be a partnership with the CFL, to which TSN already has the rights. Could the opportunity to show the new league factor into the discussions?
CBC would evidently give Canada the best exposure, but the national broadcaster isn't exactly going through the best times right now especially with their sports department. They likely wouldn't have the resources or the man power to put together a solid broadcast.
What comes out of this remains to be seen, but at the end of the day results will determine how much exposure the Canadian team gets no matter what platform they are on, and how many people view them on those platforms.