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The Sports Network (TSN) is a Canadian English language sports specialty channel. Established by the Labatt Brewing Company in 1984 as part of the first group of Canadian specialty cable channels, since 2001, TSN has been majority-owned by communications conglomerate BCE Inc. (presently through its broadcasting subsidiary Bell Media) with a minority stake held by ESPN Inc. via a 20% share in the Bell Media subsidiary CTV Specialty Television. TSN is the largest specialty channel in Canada in terms of gross revenue, with a total of $400.4 million in revenue in 2013.
TSN’s networks focus on sports-related programming, including live and recorded event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming. TSN was the first national cable broadcaster of the National Hockey League in Canada. Its stint has been interrupted twice by rival network Sportsnet, most recently as of the 2014–15 season under an exclusive 12-year rights deal. TSN holds regional television rights to four of the NHL’s seven Canadian franchises.
As of 2015, major programming rights held by TSN include exclusive coverage of the Canadian Football League and Curling Canada’s national championships, coverage of the NBA and the Toronto Raptors, coverage of Major League Soccer and exclusive rights to Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC, along with Canadian rights to the tournaments of FIFA (soccer) and the IIHF (ice hockey), the NFL (shared with sister network CTV), Formula One, NASCAR, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and the Grand Slam tennis tournaments, among others. TSN also receives a large amount of programming through its minority partner, ESPN.
The TSN licence currently comprises five 24-hour programming services; from its launch until 2006, TSN operated as a single, national service. In 2006, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruled that TSN could operate multiple feeds with a limited amount of alternative national programming—this was followed by the launch of TSN2—a second 24-hour network under the TSN licence that was legally considered a west coast feed of TSN. As of 2010, TSN has been subject to deregulated Category C licensing by the CRTC, which allows multiple feeds to be operated under the TSN licence with no restrictions on alternate programming; TSN used this new ability to operate an autonomous TSN2, along with part-time feeds for regional NHL coverage.