RDS loses the Habs' national broadcasting rights to TVA

Pierre Houde will be heard by national audiences this year, but not after. - RDS

It wasn't official last night, but it's official today: RDS has lost the Habs as the national broadcaster.

Last night when we reported on the new Canadian broadcast deal for the NHL, it was announced as an English-only deal. Overnight that changed, and it's now become official that RDS has also lost national coverage, meaning that they've lost the Habs on the national stage.

What does this mean? It means that instead of 82 regular season Habs games being broadcast nationally by RDS, only 22 games will be seen across the country, and they'll be on TVA. The remaining 60 games are up for negotiation, likely between TVA Sports and RDS, but whatever broadcast deal gets put in place, only viewers in the region will be able to view those games.

This means that the Habs have become harder to watch, with three available French channels instead of one, and likely more expensive to watch if you're outside Quebec.

The simplicity of always being able to tune in to RDS to watch the Habs is gone, with coverage now split in both languages.

The only good news in this deal, is that English language coverage should improve. TSN-Habs will likely be bolstered next season, with TSN's A-listers no longer able to cover hockey on the national stage, they should be on the regional channel more often.

It's interesting however, that the Montreal Canadiens had jumped so deep into partnership with Bell of late, and now almost every shred of broadcasting has been ripped from Bell's clutches and transferred to competitors. Of all the teams in Canada, the Habs seem to make out the worst in this new TV deal, or at least their fans do.

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