New SportsNet, TSN fees leave P.E.I. bars weighing options

Local establishments that show games on TSN and Sportsnet are considering their options, as the fee increase to show the two channels goes into effect May 1.

'I'm very disappointed,' says Island restaurant owner

The Olde Dublin Pub in Charlottetown is one of several Island establishments debating subscriptions to new sports channel bundles offered by Bell and Rogers. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Islanders who want to watch the big game but don't have a cable package may have to look elsewhere other than their local sports bar.

As of May 1, establishments with liquor licenses will have to pay more if they want to show the live sports.

Earlier this year, Bell and Rogers announced that they would be charging establishments with liquor licenses more to broadcast live sports games.

TSN and SportsNet will be included in new sports packages for businesses with a liquor license.

"Prices vary depending on the size of the business and other factors such as the specific sports package a business client wants," said Bell in an earlier statement to CBC.

'I'm very disappointed'

Liam Dolan is on the board of directors for Restaurants Canada and owner of The Olde Dublin Pub in Charlottetown, where they often air big games on their TV screens.

"I'm very disappointed," said Dolan. "I didn't believe it at first. We were all very shocked. Everyone was caught off guard."

Liam Dolan owns and operates The Olde Dublin Pub in Charlottetown, where they stream big sports events. He said the decision to charge more for TSN and Sportsnet is very disappointing. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

Dolan said the deal doesn't take into account how many people are actually watching the TV.

"If you only have one TV and there's only 20 per cent of your people can see the TV, they're still going to charge you the full amount for the whole bar, so it's very confusing and very upsetting," he said.

Dolan said he hasn't decided whether or not he'll subscribe to the new package. He been has told he'll be paying an additional $275 a month for the pub, which has 140 seats.

"I'd love to keep doing what I'm doing but I don't want to pay … more. It's a little expensive," he said.

'This decision will definitely have an impact on our franchisees'

Boston Pizza said its Charlottetown location will continue to provide guests with sports programming, as will locations across the country.

"We want to continue being the place Canadians think of when looking to watch their favourite sports on the big screen," senior director of communications Alexandra Cygal said in an e-mail, who said the company was reviewing the situation with franchisees.

"This decision will definitely have an impact on our franchisees financially, along with a multitude of other rising costs affecting small businesses across the country."