Monday Morning Commentator: 7/18
Its Monday morning, which means time to reflect on the weekend that was in sports and look ahead to what’s coming. This is going to be short tonight because Sunday Night Baseball took forever and I have to be up in 5 hours.
I hope everyone likes the new setup of the Canadian Sports Media Blog. I decided it was time for a change and I needed to get rid of some pages that weren’t viewed at all. If you are having trouble finding anything, let me know. I will be doing a bit more cleaning up over the next week. I will be away until Tuesday evening, so if there is any breaking news, I won’t be able to report/comment on it until then.
- Where else could I start aside from The Open Championship? I don’t know what was better, ESPN’s coverage or seeing Darren Clarke win his first major. I have roots (albeit way back) in Ireland, so my allegiance after Canadian athletes is always with the Irish. I am particularly excited to see Clarke win his first major because I didn’t know if he was ever going to get one.
- ESPN’s coverage of The Open was fantastic, in my opinion. I would put it second only to CBS’s coverage of The Masters as far as golf majors go. Mike Tirico continues to be one of the best voices in golf and ESPN’s team of tower announcers, lead by Sean McDonough and Scott Van Pelt, is very strong. The studio that ESPN coverage was presented out of was very nice. While ESPN’s coverage can’t quite match the level of the BBC’s, it was still top class.
- I also like the idea of The Open Championship Today airing on ABC later in the day. A lot of people were angry with ESPN when they took live coverage of The Open off ABC and put it on ESPN. Extended highlights have almost gone by the wayside here in North America, while they are still worth a lot in the United Kingdom (just look at Match of the Day). I think that the format still works good, especially for a sport like golf where coverage is spread out over a number of hours.
- ESPN’s coverage of the World Football Challenge has been disappointing so far. The coverage has been below the quality of even their MLS matches. They have used Americans who don’t know much about European Football to call the matches. Adrian Healey will return from the Women’s World Cup to call a couple later this month though.
- While watching CBC’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup final today something occurred to me, CBC should use the BBC commentary for their 2014 World Cup coverage. My primary reason for thinking this is that John Helm is terrible while Guy Mowbray is one of the best. The BBC’s coverage of The Beautiful Game is world class, so CBC should consider latching on to it in 2014.
- As mentioned last week, Sportsnet has fired Peter Loubardias. Rumour has it that this is just the beginning of the firings from new Rogers Media and Sportsnet heads Keith Pelley and Scott Moore. I will give the two of them credit, they are very good at what they do. I think they will turn Sportsnet around; it is in sore need of change right now and has been for many years.
- Who could be the next to go? How about Darren Millard? Sportsnet recently hired Jeff Marek. I think Marek would be much better than Millard as the regular host of HockeyCentral. Toronto Sports Media reports Sportsnet is planning a complete relaunch in the fall.
- As for who will replace Loubardias on CHL broadcasts, I’d put my money on Rob Faulds. While not perfect, he is a lot better than Loubardias.
- The Blue Jays have been a big gainer on TV so far this season. Compared to last year their ratings are among the most improved. The Jays ratings in April and May were up 36% from last year. The only team that beat them is the Indians, whose ratings are up 80%. Rounding out the top 5 in increases are the Rangers (35%), Giants (35%) and Pirates (33%). The four American teams can attribute that to either making the World Series last year, or being significantly improved. How the Jays ratings have jumped so much is a mystery to me.
- CBC will have coverage of the World Aquatics Championships from Shanghai beginning this week. Each weeknight of the competition, beginning tonight, they will have a 25 minute highlights program at 11:35pm ET. They will also show six hours of coverage on Sports Weekend.
- Personally, I wish they would air a one hour weekday highlights show, but it seems CBC has ditched full weekday coverage of the Athletics and Aquatics Worlds in recent years. I understand why their coverage of pro sports has been on a downward trend recently, but I think they should at least remain committed to amateur sports considering none of the all-sports networks seem to be.
- While CBC hasn’t released any information about their coverage, it is a good bet that Steve Armitage and Byron McDonald will call the swimming when it begins next week. They will be missed when CTV shows the London Olympics in a year’s time. I am still holding out hope that CTV will snatch McDonald to be their Olympic swimming analyst.
- My second choice as CTV’s swimming analyst, Mark Tewksbury, is also out as an option. Tewksbury will be Canada’s chef de mission in London.
- The one year countdown to the London Games begins on Wednesday July 27. However, women’s football will again open the Olympics two days earlier, on July 25, 2012. Beginning next Monday I will spend parts of three weeks previewing the Games a year out. On Monday I’ll look at what commentators could do what sports, while on Wednesday I’ll take a look ahead to the schedule for each day over the 17 day period, ending on Friday August 12.
- Setanta Sports will have English-language coverage of the upcoming FIFA Under-20 World Cup from Colombia. TLN will contribute Spanish-language coverage. More details in the coming weeks. This is the much-awaited big property that Setanta have said they gained rights to.
- GolTV will have the German Super Cup this coming Saturday as defending Bundesliga champs Borussia Dortmund face DFB Cup champs Schalke. Coverage begins at 2:25pm ET.
- TVA picked up regional rights to Montreal Impact games for their first MLS season in 2012 earlier this week. TVA Sports (and possibly the over-the-air TVA channel) will air all Impact games that aren’t part of the RDS national package.