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Sportsnet announces Whitecaps deal; fans still wait on NCC TV pact

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With TSN becoming the official national broadcaster of MLS in 2011, Rogers Sportsnet has ensured it won’t be left out in the cold.

Sportsnet announced Thursday that it will be the official regional broadcaster of the Whitecaps. Rogers announced that it will produce 21 Whitecaps games in 2011. Eleven of those will air on Sportsnet Pacific, nine more on premium specialty channel Sportsnet One — and one additional game, June 4 at Real Salt Lake, will air on Citytv, which is owned by Rogers.

In both 2012 and 2013, Sportsnet’s deal will allow it to up the number of Whitecaps broadcasts to 24, ensuring TSN can’t take a lion’s share of the games.

With the 13 other games on TSN or TSN2, the announcement guarantees that all Whitecaps’ MLS regular-season games will be on the tube.

We are still awaiting word on the Nutrilite Canadian Championship TV deal — but sources indicate that TSN, Gol TV and Sportsnet are in that race. TSN may have the inside track but, since the NCC go head-to-head with the NHL playoffs, soccer doubleheaders on April 27 and May 4 create two four-hour programming conflicts.

Championship legs on May 18 and 25 would also butt into the later rounds of the playoffs, a major headache if the Canucks make a run.

Here is the Whitecaps Rogers’ Schedule, all times PT:

Mar. 26 at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. SNET ONE
Apr. 2 vs. Kansas City, 4 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Apr. 10 at Houston, 4 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Apr. 16 vs. Chivas USA, 4 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Apr. 23 vs FC Dallas, 4 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Apr. 30 at Columbus, 4:30 p.m. SNET ONE
May 7 at Chicago, 5:30 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
May 11 vs. San Jose, 7 p.m. SNET ONE
May 14 at New England, 4:30 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Jun. 1 at Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m., SNET ONE
Jun. 4 at Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m. CITYTV Vancouver
Jun. 18 vs. Philadelphia, 7 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Jul. 9 at Colorado, 6 p.m. SNET ONE
Jul. 16 vs. Real Salt Lake, 1 p.m. SNETONE
Aug. 7 vs. Chicago, 4 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Aug. 13 at D.C. United, 4:30 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Sept. 10 at New York, 4:30 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Sept. 17 at Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m. SNET PACIFIC
Oct. 12 vs. D.C. United, 7p.m. SNET ONE
Oct. 15 at FC Dallas, 5:30 p.m. SNET ONE
Oct. 22 vs. Colorado, 4 p.m. SNET ONE

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