Quebecor says it will follow through with its threat to scramble the signal of its TVA Sports channel for television subscribers of its competitor, Bell.
The action will start Wednesday night when National Hockey League (NHL) playoff games begin to be televised by the exclusive French-language broadcaster.
This means that in order to watch hockey games, Bell TV’s French-language customers would have to subscribe to Sportsnet, owned by Rogers Media, which holds the exclusive English rights to broadcast the playoffs in Canada.
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They can also watch CBC for some playoff matches, including those involving the three Canadian teams — the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets and the Calgary Flames — or move to another provider, including Videotron, another Quebecor subsidiary.
Bell said Monday that at its request, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) directed Quebecor to continue to offer the TVA Sports channel to Bell TV and its customers.
According to Bell, the action stems from a pricing dispute with Quebecor wanting to charge Bell more to access TVA Sports than Quebecor and Videotron are willing to pay for Bell Media’s RDS sports network.