Skinny Cable Packages Still Bloated

Four years ago, I wrote about the sports fans dilemma when it comes to cable television. Basically, you're screwed.

Yes, I'm well aware you can legally (and illegally) stream live sports, but at this point I just want to turn on Sportsnet or TSN or CBC and catch the game live in HD. Sometimes I'm watching hockey, sometimes I'm watching basketball, sometimes I'm watching baseball and sometimes it's tennis or soccer or whatever. Legally, it's expensive to purchase each league's streaming service, and illegally there a tremendous loss in quality and reliability. As I wrote back then, I pretty much live on CBC, TSN and Sportsnet. Three stations, that's it.

By March 1, TV providers in this country have to offer skinny basic packages and pick-and-pay channels. Considering I only want the three channels, you'd think this would save me a lot of money. Let's take a closer look and see how much money I'll save...


Rogers's starter package is $25. That doesn't include the rental of the HD receiver, which is $7.50. And I also pay some bullshit "Digital Services Fee" of $3, so I'm already at $35.50 before I've added TSN and Sportsnet.


Of course Rogers didn't lump all the sports stations together, that would be too easy. If you just want Sportsnet and TSN, you're out another $36. So my monthly Rogers bill for CBC, Sportsnet and TSN would be $71.50 plus tax.

That doesn't seem very skinny for three stations.

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Comments (23 - click here to join in!)


I thought everyone would have figured out this was how it was going to go, no? That you'd end up paying more for less? Or not saving a lot if you're the kind of person who watches more than a few channels?

February 25, 2016 @ 5:09 PM


The only thing I ever watch on any of those sports stations is Smackdown & Raw.

I'd be better off cancelling the sports channels and getting the WWE Network for twelve bucks a month! And I'd get all the PPVs.

February 25, 2016 @ 5:52 PM


We cancelled cable completely at the end of October (once World Cup rugby was completed). Hubby put an antenna in the attic, which allows us to get about a dozen stations over the air waves, some with really, really good picture.

With the addition of Netflix (US and Cdn), various streaming options there is very little I miss from conventional tv.

What do I miss? CNN news, Big Bang Theory (need to pay for this US station separately),Top Chef and the Juniors. Surprisingly (to us), this last was not broadcast by CBC nor was it available on the NHL channel.

February 25, 2016 @ 7:22 PM


We got rid of cable a year ago. I installed an antenna and upgraded to high speed unlimited internet. We get 25 stations from Canada and the States from the antenna. With Shomi(comes free from Rogers with high speed internet), Netflix, YouTube, and a number of other streaming sites, we have more than enough content to watch.

Mike you're located near the waterfront with a clear view of the CN Tower and the other side of the lake you could easily get 25-30 stations with an attic mounted antenna.

Here is a report from that is for your general area

Drop cable and get an antenna!

February 25, 2016 @ 10:48 PM

Jody Thornton

But will Sportsnet and TSN be available separately? Where did you get these screenshots from, because I was looking for them on Rogers site.

February 25, 2016 @ 10:53 PM

Jody Thornton

I downloaded the PDF of the packages menu. So am I understanding correctly that one channel from each of those packages costs $18? So just getting Sportsnet and TSN costs $36? Just the two channels? Not both packages?

February 25, 2016 @ 11:00 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

They're bundled up, so $18 gets you the bundle with TSN in it and another $18 gets you the bundle with Sportsnet in it.

February 25, 2016 @ 11:03 PM

Jody Thornton

Well, the pick and pay options I suppose are some time off? I wonder what each station would cost?

February 25, 2016 @ 11:32 PM

Videotron looks much better


go look at

i think their a la carte is much more what folks are looking for.

having that flexibility would make me a happy camper.

February 26, 2016 @ 12:49 AM

Jason from Sudbury

I'm with Shaw Direct...gonna have to check out their prices.

February 26, 2016 @ 7:17 AM

Burlington Brian

Videotron looks better at first glance, but you still have to get into the basic plus 10 package to get access to sportsnet and tsn. And by the time you select all 8 or so sports channels that's pretty much it. No US networks included in that bundle either, you have to choose them separately.

Cable companies know that many people are like Mike. They just want cable for live sports, so there's no way they're going to make that inexpensive.

February 26, 2016 @ 9:47 AM

Jody Thornton

I know you like spontaneity in your blog threads Mike, but because your forum kept timing out last night, I ended up submitting three posts of the same content. Perhaps we can delete a couple instances ... lol

February 26, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Jody Thornton

That pads the stats! :)

February 26, 2016 @ 10:01 AM

Jody Thornton

Thanks Mike, I appreciate it.

February 26, 2016 @ 10:32 AM


Just get a OTA antennae already.

February 26, 2016 @ 2:06 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


How the hell is an OTA antenna going to get me the TSNs and Sportsnets?

February 26, 2016 @ 2:08 PM


Any word on what Bell is offering as I am a Bell subscriber? I haven't been able to find anything on them. Or is this a package that will be similar to all cable companies?

February 27, 2016 @ 9:35 AM


Thank you for this. CBC had a story on this last night as well. This is not surprising that the big cable companies are acting this way. And I am not quite sure why "Yes TV" is even part of the basic cable package.

February 27, 2016 @ 1:12 PM

Jody Thornton

Yes TV is an on air channel, that's why

February 27, 2016 @ 5:40 PM

Jason from Sudbury

I'm with Shaw Direct and couldn't find anything on this.

March 1, 2016 @ 7:31 PM


if you like sports and standard def is ok with you then in the toronto area an antenna will get you channel 49.2 asn.

August 12, 2016 @ 2:55 PM

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