The Montreal Alouettes announced on Monday, March 27 they have reached an agreement on a multi-year partnership with Videotron, a telecommunications and entertainment company. The purpose of this partnership includes Videotron contributing to fan experience during home games as well as outside of the stadium during specific events.
This agreement is announced just 17 days following the purchase of the Alouettes to Pierre Karl Péladeau which was completed on March 10, 2023.
This is positive news for Alouettes fans as Videotron will serve as the title sponsor for the home opener and will showcase a unique halftime show lineup. This is reminiscent of the home opener following Amar Doman’s purchase of the BC Lions where they had 34,000 in attendance and held a halftime show played by OneRepublic.
Péladeau has a net worth of roughly 1.8 billion USD and is the President and CEO of Quebecor. Quebecor is one of the five most prominent telecommunications companies in Canada. Quebecor is also the parent company of Videotron.
The broadcast rights of the CFL belong to TSN on an agreement that ends at the end of 2026. This was announced when the previous agreement was extended in November 2022. TSN is owned by Bell Media which Quebecor and Videotron are direct competitors.
It is only 17 days since purchasing the Alouettes and we are already seeing the competition come into play with this partnership with Videotron. The partnership will also include the Videotron logo being featured on the Alouettes home and away jerseys for seasons to come. One can only assume there will be ad placement within the home stadium as well.
This agreement is no surprise but it is savvy nonetheless. Videotron will have its own ad placement prominently displayed during its competitor’s broadcasts. The press release on the Alouettes website referred to Videotron as Canada’s telecommunications and entertainment leader, thus clearly implying Bell Media is 2nd place at best in Canada despite being a large revenue source for the CFL and the Alouettes.
Pierre Karl Péladeau was asked at the press conference after purchasing the Alouettes if TVA Sports would pursue CFL television rights in the future. TVA Sports is an all-sports French language station owned by Videotron. Péladeau responded by saying “The rights right now are owned (by Bell Media) until 2025. At that time, we’ll see what’s going to happen.”
Péladeau also added that “Competing and creating competition is something that we’re proud of and this is what we’re also good at.”
I find it interesting that Péladeau said Bell Media has the rights until 2025 when it was announced previously they have the rights through 2026. Is this simple human error or a subtle application of competitive pressure? Perhaps it is reading too much into a small detail but interesting nonetheless.
When Péladeau purchased the team he made it clear that this purchase had more motivational factors than just business as he stated “I’m buying the Alouettes on a personal basis. But I can tell you something: I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve, and I have learned so much from my father. My father told me that when you receive so much, you need to give as much as possible. The Montreal Alouettes isn’t only a business. It is, but it isn’t only a business. It’s more than a business. It’s about community investment. It’s about being here, being strong and it’s about creating something Montrealers can be proud of.”
Péladeau may have purchased the Als primarily on a personal basis, but it is now evident that this will very likely lead to some competing interest from an additional broadcast company in Videotron in the future hungering for a piece of the CFL pie, or at the very least to take away a slice of Bell Media’s pie.
Competing network interests can only be a good thing for the CFL and its fans. Some CFL fans believe that the interest in CFL would be higher if played on multiple networks and lead to an overall higher level of quality. There has been some talk among fans claiming that TSN has become somewhat stagnant in its quality of CFL broadcasts and coverage.
The CFL as a whole is a highly exciting brand of football and highly entertaining and deserves to be treated as the high-quality product that it is. Perhaps this new interest from Videotron and Quebecor will motivate TSN to find ways to improve its broadcast experience and overall coverage of the CFL.
TSN does an overall good job of CFL coverage yet at times it does feel like there are things that can be improved upon and that there is sometimes not the highest attention to detail. For example, if you go looking for statistics on TSN’s website it has displayed nothing useful for the past several weeks saying only: statistics not available at the moment. However, if you look for NFL statistics at TSN.ca it is fully operational.
The future of the Montreal Alouettes and the CFL overall is bright. Perhaps one day Videotron can sponsor the naming rights for a stadium to house an expansion team in Quebec City as they did for an NHL-quality arena in QC.
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