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Score’s downtown Toronto studio is seen in this file photo. (Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)
Score’s downtown Toronto studio is seen in this file photo. (Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)

CRTC clears way for Rogers to buy Score Add to ...

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has approved Rogers Media Inc.’s $172-million acquisition of The Score sports channel, but the company won’t be permitted to spend part of its tangible benefits money – a charge imposed by the regulator when media properties change hands – on creating its own Sportsnet Winter Games.

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Still, Rogers’s Sportsnet brand will immediately begin to appear on the channel. Minutes after the CRTC’s announcement Tuesday morning, Keith Pelley, the head of Rogers Media, tweeted that a “Playoff Extra” edition of Sportsnet’s Hockey Central program will air every day at 5 p.m. through the duration of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The CRTC approved most of Rogers’s requested adjustment to the conditions of licence of The Score, which began as a sports news ticker service, including loosening up the restriction to break into programming for a news update every fifteen minutes. The Score will now be able to take up to one hour between news breaks during live events, making it far easier for Rogers to shift its programming on the channel to include more live sports.

Its plans to air the Sportsnet Winter Games, however, are up in the air, after the CRTC rejected Rogers’s request to spend 58 per cent of its $17.2-million tangible benefits package on that new amateur sports event. The Commission noted that “sports events tend to be very popular and...such an initiative might be undertaken or realized in the absence of the transaction."

Rogers was asked to submit a new plan by May 30 on how it will spend the almost $10-million that had been allocated to the winter event.

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