A few early thoughts after the Canadian TV networks' 2021-22 schedule announcements.
The 2020 European Football Championship, more commonly marketed as UEFA Euro 2020, is the 16th edition of the quadrennial men's association football tournament organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the soccer tournament was pushed back from 2020, and will now be held from Friday, June 11 to Sunday, July 11, 2021, in eleven cities across Europe. Despite the date change, the tournament will still be known as "Euro 2020" for branding and merchandising purposes – presumably to avoid the costs of offloading old merchanise and printing new "UEFA Euro 2021" shirts.
As confirmed by UEFA, there are two media companies that hold Canadian broadcast rights to the tournament, one in each of Canada's official languages.
- English-language rights to the tournament are held by Bell Media, with games airing on both its broadcast network CTV, and sports specialty channel TSN.
- French-language rights are held by Quebecor Media's broadcasting subsidiary Groupe TVA, with games expected to air on its sports service TVA Sports. It does not look like any games will air on the main TVA network.
- It does not appear that coverage in any other language has been licensed for this tournament. Occasionally, Telelatino (TLN) has licensed or sublicensed Spanish and/or Italian rights for major tournaments like this one; this does not appear to be the case for Euro 2020.
How can I watch Euro 2020 games on Canadian television?
The full schedule for CTV and TSN's broadcasts has been posted on TSN's website. All games will air on at least one of TSN's five channels, while most games on Saturdays and Sundays will also air across Canada on CTV, which is available over-the-air in most major Canadian cities. All games from the round of 16 onwards will air on "the TSN network", meaning all four of TSN's regionally-focused feeds (TSN1, 3, 4 and 5).
Unless otherwise indicated, all times below are kickoff times, with TV coverage typically starting 30 to 60 minutes beforehand.
- The opening game, Turkey vs. Italy, is scheduled for Friday, June 11, with kickoff at 3:00 p.m. ET, and coverage starting at 2:00, on TSN1 and TSN4.
- The remaining group stage games will be held from June 12 to 23. From June 12 to 19, there will usually be three games a day, kicking off at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 noon, and 3:00 p.m. ET.
From June 20 to 23, the two final games in each group be scheduled for the same times, at either 12:00 noon or 3:00 p.m. ET (for up to four games per day).
- The round of 16 will be held from June 26 to 29, with two games each day, at 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. ET.
- The quarterfinals are scheduled for July 2 and 3, again with two games each day, at 12:00 noon and 3:00 p.m. ET.
- The semifinals will be on July 6 and 7, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET each day.
- The UEFA Euro 2020 Final will be held at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Kickoff will again be at 3:00 p.m. ET. Coverage will begin at 2:00 on both CTV and TSN (1, 3, 4 and 5).
TVA Sports' schedule page does not clarify which games will air on which of its two channels. It is probably safe to assume that most games will air on TVA Sports proper, with only overlapping games at the end of the group stage airing on TVA Sports 2.
Finally, five games will air on weekends on American broadcast network ABC as part of ESPN's coverage. All of these broadcasts will be on Saturday or Sunday afternoons, but will not include the final. All these games will also be aired by CTV. However – much like how Hockey Night in Canada cannot simsub NBC's coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals – CTV will not be able to invoke simultaneous substitution unless it chooses to rebroadcast the ESPN/ABC production for these games. So these will be rare opportunities for Canadians to see how ESPN is covering the tournament.
Where I can stream Euro 2020 games in Canada?
If you already subscribe to a cable, satellite, or fibre-based TV service (such as Bell, Rogers, Shaw, or Telus) that includes the five TSN channels, you should be able to stream all Euro 2020 games live through the TSN website and the network's mobile and smart-device apps. You will need to sign in with your service provider credentials in order to access the streams.
Similarly, if you get TVA Sports as part of your cable or fibre TV package through Vidéotron, Cogeco, or Telus (but not Bell or Shaw Direct), you should be able to access these channels live through the TVA Sports website and mobile apps.
If you don't get TSN or TVA Sports, but have a "skinny basic" package that includes CTV, you will likely be able to stream the weekend games only through CTV's live feeds on its website and apps. (This depends on the arrangement that Bell Media has with your cable provider; even though CTV is available for free over-the-air, Bell Media has thus far chosen not to allow free streaming to those without a TV service subscription.)
Many providers also offer their own websites and apps that may provide alternate methods to stream channels in your package, like Rogers Anyplace TV and the Bell TV website. There are even a few lower-cost TV services, like TekSavvy TV and VMedia TV, that work primarily through mobile and smart devices – however, at least for now, you can only subscribe to these if you're also an internet service subscriber of the applicable company.
If you do not subscribe to such a TV service (and don't want to), you still have options:
- TSN Direct is the over-the-top, direct-subscription version of TSN, which allows you to watch TSN's live programming on TSN.ca and TSN's apps without a cable subscription. It regularly costs $7.99 for a 24-hour pass, $19.99 per month, or $99.95 for a six-month pass (all prices in this article are in Canadian dollars and before applicable sales taxes). For the latter two options, your subscription will renew automatically unless you cancel before the end of the subscription period.
However, as of this writing (and until June 30), a six-month pass is available for a 40% discount, or just $59.97, for "new, returning, and upgrading" subscribers. Note that if you have an ad or tracking blocker enabled on your browser, you may have to turn it off to see this offer.
- Likewise, French-language rightsholder TVA Sports is available over-the-top via TVA Sports Direct. There is no single-day pass available for this service – you either have to subscribe monthly for $19.99 per month, or annually for $199.99 per year.
I saw an ad online for another site that says it'll give me access to Euro 2020. Can I trust it?
We are aware that there are other streaming or networking services that market themselves in Canada as ways to access sports programming like Euro 2020. However, only Bell Media (CTV / TSN) and TVA are authorized to broadcast and stream the games within Canada, as can be confirmed on UEFA's official website.
Other streaming sites may provide lower quality streams and can be subject to closure without notice or refund. Many international streaming services, even if they are authorized by UEFA for their own countries, are required to try to block out-of-country access through virtual private networks. Therefore, we cannot recommend these sorts of services, and any usage is purely at your own risk.
What should I know about the broadcasts? Who will be calling the games?
Despite the layoffs at Bell Media earlier this year, TSN will continue to offer its own studio coverage for Canadian audiences, similar to past editions of both the Euro tournament and the FIFA World Cup. According to a TSN press release, coverage will be hosted by Luke Wileman, with analysts Steven Caldwell, Julian de Guzman, Janine Beckie, essayist Matthew Scianitti, and contributor Daniel Zakrzewski.
TSN's announcement does not identify which commentators Canadians will hear during the games themselves. But so far, consistent with past tournaments, they have been using UEFA's world feed announcers, which this time include the likes of Martin Tyler and Peter Drury, as opposed to the announcing roster of part-owner ESPN.
TVA Sports has posted an article about its coverage plans on its website. Andy Mailly-Pressoir will host coverage, with Frédéric Lord on play-by-play and Vincent Destouches and Patrice Bernier as game analysts.