Bell Offering Sportsnet TV Channels Free to Fight Quebecor’s TVA Sports Block

Bell and Quebecor are currently embroiled in a sports TV dispute, with the latter blocking TVA Sports access to Bell TV subscribers in Quebec.

Currently, Bell offers Quebecor’s TVA Sports channel but it’s available as a separate paid add-on to its sports TV package for customers. Quebecor argues Bell’s RDS sports channel is unfairly included in the latter’s main TV package, which in a complaint to the CRTC was a definition of “undue preference”, currently not allowed under broadcasting law in Canada. Bell still offers TVA Sports under 2016 terms and negotiations are ongoing for a new deal, which Quebecor publicly has stated should lean more in its favour.

The CRTC has stated it is ready to use tools at its disposal to enforce the dispute, which comes just as the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing.

Now, Bell has announced its TV clients affected by the blocking of TVA Sports by Quebecor, will get temporary free access to Sportsnet, Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360 for free.

Yesterday, Bell’s main Twitter account tweeted the following, just in time for the start of the NHL playoffs:

Quebecor is denying Bell TV clients access to TVA Sports. That’s against the law. Bell wants to ensure hockey fans can still enjoy the playoffs and is temporarily offering Sportsnet, Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360 at no extra cost.

The CRTC stated yesterday they are “prepared to use the means at its disposal to enforce its regulations to protect the public interest.”