Sportsnet is a Canadian English-language Category C sports specialty channel that is owned by Rogers Media, a division of Rogers Communications.
Although licensed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as a single national service, for all intents and purposes it is equivalent to a collection of four regional sports networks, each simulcast in both standard definition and high-definition, and each covering a different region of Canada. In each region, only the local Sportsnet channel is available on analogue cable, but all four channels are available nationally via digital cable (subject to blackouts for some out-of-market teams).
The four Sportsnet feeds air some common programming and simulcast major, national events, but are capable of airing programming autonomously—most prominently regional programming. Sportsnet is the national cable rightsholder of the National Hockey League, and also holds regional rights to five of the league's Canadian franchises. It is also the national rightsholder of Major League Baseball in Canada (although most of ESPN's MLB broadcasts are sub-licensed to rival network TSN), and the exclusive broadcaster of the co-owned Toronto Blue Jays. It also splits coverage of the Toronto Raptors and the National Basketball Association with TSN through their parent companies' joint stake in the team's parent company.
The Sportsnet brand has since been extended beyond the original regional channels, now encompassing the national channels Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet One (and its regional part-time companion channels), and Sportsnet World; Sportsnet Radio stations in Toronto and Calgary; and Sportsnet Magazine. With these brand extensions, Rogers now generally uses "Sportsnet" (by itself) to denote its sports media properties as a whole, and on-air promotions for programs being carried nationally by these four regional feeds often list all four channels separately, or refer to the Sportsnet "regional" (or "main") channels, to avoid any ambiguity. However, standalone mentions of "Sportsnet" in reference to a specific channel can still generally be assumed to be referring to the four regional channels (or the specific regional channel available locally on analogue cable).
According to Rogers, Sportsnet is available in 8.2 million Canadian homes. Combined with Sportsnet One and Sportsnet 360, the Sportsnet channels are available in 20.1 million Canadian homes.
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