Shaw Media (owners of Shaw Cable, Global TV etc.) have applied to the CRTC to launch their own mainstream sports channel Shaw Media Sports. Shaw is just the latest media giant to apply to the CRTC for this since the CRTC rules that sports channels could now compete with the first (and for the longest time protected) mainstream sports channel, TSN.

Rogers, CBC and MLSE have also applied to the regulator for their own mainstream sports channel; all of those applications have been approved. So far only the Rogers channel, Sportsnet One, has launched. Based on this history, it is expected that the Shaw channel will be approved too and likely launched within a couple years.

A mainstream sports channel would do many things for Shaw, especially considering they have the only national OTA channel without a sports department and are the only major cable/satellite provider without a mainstream sports channel. By having “Shaw Sports” they would have a bargaining chip when negotiating with the likes of Bell and Rogers. By having a mainstream sports channel they would be able to put the same kind of pressure on Rogers to add their channel as Rogers did when Sportsnet One launched back in the summer. Of course as much as this makes great business sense, it could turn out ugly for the average Canadian sports fan.

CRTC hearings for their application along with 18 others will begin on April 1, 2011.

See the rest of the blog post for more commentary