Rogers Applies for 24 Hour Baseball Channel

Rogers Applies for 24 Hour Baseball Channel


Rogers Communications Inc., owner of the Toronto Blue Jays, has applied for a 24-hour channel that it hopes will launch next spring, coinciding with the arrival of Major League Baseball’s Baseball Channel in the U.S.

At first glance, there’s not much to dislike here. The channel can show an average of two live games a day and will fill the rest of the time with magazine shows, updates and features.

It plans to have 35 per cent Canadian content, no doubt most of that revolving around Rogers’ Blue Jays.

At second glance though, 2 live games per day is really not that much for the typical baseball fan who would shell out for a 24 hour baseball channel. The value play is in where up to 6 games can be watched simultaneously.

“It’s a niche channel to deliver additional content for the real baseball fans,” says Alain Strati, vice-president of specialty television and development for Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.

An extra couple of ball games a day would be attractive to those not interested in shelling out big dollars for the all-inclusive Extra Innings package.

But look a little closer and it’s not much of a leap to think that there’s a lot more at play here. The fact is, as Leafs TV has learned, people won’t subscribe to a sports channel unless it has live games involving the home team.

That would be the Blue Jays, who still can’t get all their games on TV despite the fact Rogers owns his own sports network. Strati says there are no plans to put the Jays on the new channel, but you know it’s coming the same way it came with Leafs TV.

Within a few years, you’ll have to subscribe if you want to follow the Jays.

The customers aren’t the only ones who’ll pay. TSN hasn’t decided what to do, but odds are it will oppose this application for the simple reason that it will drive up rights fees.

It worked for the Leafs and it will work with the Baseball Channel. If TSN or CBC don’t want to meet the Jays’ asking price, Ted will just put the games on his own channels, which was his plan the day he bought the team.

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2 replies on “Rogers Applies for 24 Hour Baseball Channel”
  1. says: Andrew

    I never figured that out… Ted Rogers owns Rogers sportsnet but they only broadcast 100 Jays games per season. Oh well, if they change this system, I’ll just get MLBtv again… The Jays and Jon Stewart are the only reason I even have a TV.

  2. says: Early

    I would assume putting Raptors playoffs or NHL hockey playoff games in April and May (when Rogers backs off Jays games) would get more viewers.

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