The importance of the OUA’s and USPORTS’ partnership with CBC Sports

Photo by Darien Funk

University sports across Canada should garner more attention and see an increase in viewership, following agreements by the National Governing Body of University Competition (USPORTS) and Ontario University Athletics to partner with CBC for exclusive streaming rights.

In a significant move for the growth of university sports in Canada, USPORTS — the national governing body of university competition — announced an agreement with CBC Sports two weeks ago. The partnership will allow the flagship Canadian network to broadcast all 19 national championships until 2025. 

The biggest provincial league in Canada, the OUA, also reached an agreement with the public broadcaster, They announced a two-year partnership earlier this week, which will see CBC sports broadcast all 13 conference championships over the next two years. 

The partnership is seen as an important measure for universities and their student-athletes as the agreement will provide a larger platform for the competition to be seen. With several games available to fans on a variety of CBC streaming platforms, the OUA and schools across the country will be able to showcase the incredible talent of their student-athletes to a far larger audience. 

In its press release, USPORTS director of marketing and communications, John Bower, stated that the move was, “the first step towards reshaping coverage of university sport in Canada.” 

“Coming together with CBC Sports is a significant step for university sport in Ontario,” Gord Grace, President and CEO of the OUA echoed in its release. 

We look forward to growing our audience with CBC so that the stories of our student-athletes reach the widest possible audience.
John Bower, USPORTS director of marketing and communications
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CBC Sports will broadcast 13 Ontario championships and 19 national championships across various sports this upcoming year. The marquee events include both men’s and women’s basketball, hockey and soccer championships. In addition, football, rugby and several other competitions will be broadcasted.

Digital coverage of both OUA and USPORTS championships will be available through cbcsports.ca as well as the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem, their free streaming service.

CBC Sports and USPORTS also reached an agreement on the 56th Vanier Cup, scheduled to take place Dec. 4 in Quebec. CBC Sports will be the exclusive broadcaster of the 2021 national championship and will televise Canadian University sport’s biggest game in a few months time. 

The addition of these platforms is meant to significantly improve the attention and viewership that University Sports receive across the country. Canadian student-athletes will be provided with a bigger stage and fans will have increased access to view the impressive talent and competition across so many sports and schools in Canada. 

“We look forward to growing our audience with CBC so that the stories of our student-athletes reach the widest possible audience,” Bower said in the USPORTS release. 

After airing only six national championships in the 2019-20 season, CBC Sports increased the total this year to include all 19 championships and will now spotlight provincial championships in Ontario. This is the first time that they will be taking part.

The partnership with the OUA has already begun, as CBC sports and their digital services broadcasted a marquee game this past weekend, airing the always intriguing Panda Game, featuring the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens. 

While absent a television deal, universities across the country and specifically the OUA should be delighted to hear the news about the increased coverage. Under the partnership, both male and female student-athletes across Canada will be able to showcase their talent to a large audience through the platform.

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