Bars, curling clubs and legions are paying a lot more to put professional sports on their TVs.
“It’s crazy,” Royal Canadian Legion Branch 63 President John Davidson said.
“We will be getting it taken off our subscription, plain and simple.”
Bell Media and Rogers Communications are now charging businesses serving liquor up to $5,000 to broadcast their channels on televisions in the establishments.
Curling clubs and small bars across the province are debating whether to cut the cord as a result of the change.
“That money could be going to our junior programs or new equipment in the club.,” said General Manager Dave Luce.
“But we’re a curling club and our members enjoy watching curling or sports after they play curling, so we’ll have to pay it.”
The telecommunications giants made the decision to charge smaller establishments to help fight smaller subscription bases, as people opt out of home cable packages in favour of watching in sports bars.
“There are significant and growing costs to delivering the premium-quality Canadian and international sports programming that our business clients provide to their customers,” Bell said in a written statement.
Bell owns five TSN channels and the French sports provider RDS.
Sportsnet, owned by Rogers, also provided a written statement on the recent changes after curling clubs expressed their concerns over being able to afford the costs.
“We understand that not all establishments with a liquor license are the same, just like not all curling clubs are the same,” the statement reads. “We look forward to working with them to find a solution.”
Rogers told 650 CKOM legions won’t be charged the extra fee for Sportsnet channels, but Bell’s TSN subjects anybody with a liquor license to pay more.
Lancaster Taphouse in Regina said they have to shell out $5,000 for their sports subscriptions.
“I don’t really have a choice in the matter,” owner Tim Rogers said.
“We have a television at our other bar (Capitol Restaurant), which will no longer have sports on it because it’s not worth paying extra.”
—With files from 980 CJME’s Britton Gray.