The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canadian Tire and sports channel TSN announce multi-year digital partnership

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TORONTO - Canadian Tire Corp. (TSX:CTC) has signed a multi-year deal that will see sports broadcaster TSN develop and produce a wide range of content for the retailer, including its Sports Chek stores.

"All of our customers are either online or going online," Duncan Fulton, senior vice-president at Canadian Tire, said in an interview Monday.

"They're on YouTube. They're on Facebook. They're on Twitter. They're surfing our site. They're surfing TSN's site. They're on mobile. They're using apps."

Fulton said Canadian Tire has been also been "scrambling" to fill all of those channels and TSN was the first to deliver after it invited the broadcaster as well as Rogers, which owns rival Sportsnet and others, to work on a solution.

"The Rogers deal is still in the works. We don't have anything to report there yet," Fulton said.

Rogers was not immediately available for comment.

Financial terms of the TSN-Canadian Tire agreement weren't disclosed but the companies described it as a multi-million dollar partnership with an initial three-year term.

The deal covers all of the Canadian Tire banners, including Mark's and Sports Experts and various types of content including TSN's regular programming and special content produced by TSN for Canadian Tire.

TSN president Stewart Johnston said the companies have come up with an agreement that goes beyond the conventional arrangement between advertiser and broadcaster.

"We're very excited about the potential to deliver content to them. Not only advertising opportunities but content that can serve their platforms, our platforms, and truly help them solidify their strategy as they move forward in the sports world," Johnston said.

"I think this is going to be seen as a very interesting way to have a relationship between a strong advertiser and a strong broadcaster. It wouldn't surprise me at all if this lead to further deal along these lines."

TSN is one of the media businesses owned by Montreal-based BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), which also owns Bell Canada, CTV, and numerous specialty cable TV channels and conventional radio stations.

TSN recently announced plans make more content available to television subscribers by adding three national feeds, bringing the total to five starting this fall.

Canada's media sector has been undergoing major changes in recent months, including a blockbuster 12-year rights deal between Rogers Communications Ltd. (TSX:RCI.B) and the National Hockey League.

That agreement replaces a long-standing relationship between the NHL and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., which has produced Hockey Night in Canada for decades.

TSN continues to have hockey rights including 26 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, as part to Bell's part ownership of Maple Leave Sports and Entertainment. The station also has rights to at least 52 Ottawa Senators games under a long-term deal with that franchise and at least 60 Winnipeg Jets games under a separate deal with that team.

TSN also has rights to numerous other sports content that fits the needs of Canadian Tire's retailing operations, including the Grey Cup for the Canadian Football League and soccer's FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015.

— Follow @DavidPaddon on Twitter.

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