Archive for the ‘CBC Sports’ Category
The big news revealed on Thursday by CBC President Hubert Lacroix was that the public broadcaster will no longer compete for the broadcast rights of professional sports leagues. However, I think this was a largely symbolic move by Lacroix. In reality CBC hasn’t been competitive for professional sports rights for years and has slowly dropped every pro sports they once broadcast. The Blue Jays first disappeared in 2003, before a few games returned to the CBC in 2007 and 2008. CBC also picked up Raptors broadcasts in 2007, but only kept them for two seasons. The CFL ended its 52 year run on the CBC in 2007. And while curling isn’t a fully professional sport (yet, at least), it has ratings most sports in Canada could only wish for. Curling’s signature events, branded the Season of Champions, left CBC for TSN in 2008. This summer the CBC will mark the last of the CBC showing the FIFA World Cup, which is headed to CTV in 2018. So, again, in reality the CBC has not truly competed for professional sports rights for a few years now. The exception was Hockey Night in Canada. Last November it became clear CBC would no longer compete for that either.
The more troubling aspect of Lacroix’s statement, which the media has mostly ignored, is that the CBC will only consider broadcasting sports where it can break even or turn a profit. I’ve always thought that the role of the CBC in Canadian sports broadcasting was to fill a void left by the private networks. Since presumably TSN and Sportsnet also don’t broadcast many sports that fail to break even, this could leave some sports completely off the Canadian airwaves. One recent example is the IAAF Diamond League, featuring Track & Field’s signature events. CBC dropped coverage two years ago following government funding cuts. No other network has picked up coverage of the events since. It seems like the sports that the CBC will most likely drop, are also the least likely to be picked up by a private network. And that’s sad for these amateur sports that rely on some TV coverage to generate interest among the youth, Canada’s potential future Olympians.
The most puzzling thing about the CBC’s statement is what constitutes “professional”, which the CBC will not compete for anymore, and what constitutes “national interest”? Obviously the NHL is professional and the Olympics are of national interest, but what about the Rogers Cup. Tennis is a professional sport, but the event is arguably of national interest. And it also makes no mention of sub-licensing, which CBC has touted as a key component to its long-term sports-broadcasting viability. Will the CBC continue to seek sub-licensing deals, as they have with Sportsnet for the World Curling Tour and NHL.
This evening the National Post reported that CBC Sports will make significant cuts as a result of the loss of Hockey Night in Canada revenue to Rogers. This isn’t a surprise, I’ve heard talk of cuts at CBC Sports since the Olympics ended over a month ago. And it doesn’t take much deduction to figure out that a loss of revenue from HNIC will result in cuts elsewhere at the public broadcaster. This round of cuts at CBC Sports comes almost two years to the day after CBC Sports cut $4 million from its annual budget in light of reduced government funding. That $4 million cut resulted in CBC ending its Sports Weekend amateur sports program during the summer months, and completely eliminated coverage of many summer sports such as athletics. In fact in 2013 CBC didn’t show the World Aquatics Championships or World Athletics Championships for the first time in years.
Will CBC’s winter sports lineup take a hit this time, with the next Winter Olympics a full 4 years away? Speed Skating, alpine skiing and figure skating are the highlights of CBC’s winter lineup. Further cuts to summer programming could include Spruce Meadows equestrian, the Calgary Stampede or the Rogers Cup. Of course the CBC would have to wait until the current broadcast contracts end before they could cut cost through those events. And tennis popularity is at an all-time high in Canada with Milos Raonic and Genie Bouchard serious threats to win on home soil. So, the most immediate cuts will likely come in on and off-air talent. Senior employees such as Scott Russell, Scott Oake and Steve Armitage are probably the safest, but cuts in the sports broadcast industry are never something pleasant to write about.
Edit (April 7, 2014):
Yahoo! Finance’s Andy Raida has also published an article about the impending cuts at the CBC. Quoting Ian Morrison of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the article seems to confirm much of what I speculated about earlier in this article. Raida reports that the cuts will equal dollar value cuts of $130 to $140 million, with around 350 English-language positions cut. Morrison adds, “In terms of programming, what I’ve heard is that they’re going to really curtail anything that has to do with sports. That’s a decision that has been made. They’re going to close down sports departments — things of that nature.”
So things do not look good for CBC’s sports department. It looks at though the private sports broadcasters could finally devour it. As I mentioned earlier, after losing hockey CBC doesn’t have many sports properties to cut. Aside for Rio 2016, the only events CBC holds rights to are the Figure Skating’s Grand Prix and World Championships (through 2016 Worlds), Alpine Skiing’s World Cup, the Rogers Cup (through 2015), Calgary Stampede (through 2015, options for 2016-17) and Spruce Meadows equestrian. I am unsure of the current contract situation for both the Queen’s Plate and the Canadian Women’s Open The CBC also sub-licenses a couple Grand Slam of Curling broadcasts a year from Sportsnet, but if Sportsnet is producing CBC’s hockey coverage, there’s no reason they couldn’t begin producing their curling as well. But I think the end-dates of these contracts makes it clear CBC could almost entirely pull out of producing sports coverage by the end of the Rio 2016.
When the CBC was awarded rights to the Sochi 2014 Olympics 18 months ago they were handed a tough task, combining the quantity of CTV’s coverage in 2010 with the renowned quality of their own past Olympic broadcasts. And for the most part, the CBC excelled. Their live TV coverage was equal to CTV’s effort four years ago of showing everything live, while many familiar amateur sports broadcasters returned to covering the Olympics after a four year hiatus. However, the highlight of CBC’s coverage in Sochi was their use of new media, the online streaming and Olympics app were among the best of their kind in Canada.
When CBC bought rights to the 2014 Olympics 18 months ago, some people argued that the public broadcaster did not have the resources to pull off a comprehensive broadcast that the consortium of Bell and Rogers did four years ago. However, those critics were proven wrong as almost every event in Sochi was shown live on CBC, TSN, TSN2, Sportsnet or Sportsnet ONE, just as in Vancouver. CBC was on-air with live coverage for 15 hours a day, which was actually slightly more than CTV in Vancouver.
And if the quantity equaled CTV’s effort in 2010, I’d argue the quality actually exceeded CBC’s last Winter Olympics from Torino 2006. In 2006 CBC’s primetime host, Brian Williams was not even in Italy as he hosted from Toronto. The CBC removed their most important on-air personality from the atmosphere of the Games entirely. All of CBC’s hosts and commentators were in Sochi. Most of CBC’s hosts excelled.
I was particularly impressed by the overnight crew of Andi Petrillo and Andrew Chang. It must be tough going on air just as many Canadians are headed to bed, but both of them were extremely well prepared. Petrillo was not a big surprise, as she has impressed as a hockey host at the CBC before, but unlike her counterpart Ron MacLean, she did not make everything about hockey. As I have said before, she deserves better than doing social media updates on HNIC.
Since Williams is unlikely to ever cover another Olympics, Scott Russell has assumed his role as the broadcasting face of amateur sports in Canada. And he knows everything that is necessary to know about all of the Olympic sports. Unfortunately I think Russell actually had one of the worst timeslots in Sochi. His slot was often cut into by live hockey games that were hosted by Ron MacLean or Elliotte Friedman. This happened on 10 of the 15 days that Olympic Daytime was on air, including almost every day during the second week. I actually would have preferred if MacLean had just hosted Daytime, with Russell getting the primetime gig.
The worst part of CBC’s show was the nightly panel discussion with Adam van Koeverden and Clara Hughes. Both were great Olympic athletes, but I don’t think this feature was necessary or really added any value to the broadcasts. When there are hours of Olympic competition in a day, and only four hours of it can make the primetime show, I’d prefer to see more action and less talk. CBC completely, or nearly completely, ignored some of the Games’ bigger competitions in their primetime show. Snowboarding halfpipe comes to mind. Often times this drove me to NBC’s coverage, which despite an insane amount of ads mostly focused on the competition.
One other studio broadcast that I thought was particularly good was TSN’s women’s hockey studio show. Natasha Staniszewski hosted alongside analysts Cheryl Pounder and Tessa Bonhomme. I thought it was a nice touch to have women talking about women’s hockey. This is the second straight Olympics that TSN has had a female host debut and shine. In 2012 it was Kate Beirness. Pounder and Bonhomme, along with inside the glass analyst Jennifer Botterill, all offered a fresh take on Canadian women’s hockey compared to Cassie Campbell. Eight years after retiring from Team Canada, Campbell still sounds too close to the team and comes off as a cheerleader too often. It didn’t help that her partner in the broadcast booth was Mark Lee, who I think would have been better suited to calling the curling.
I won’t spend too much time on the men’s hockey because, well, it mostly felt like watching Hockey Night in Canada. However, I do still contend that Glenn Healy is a better analyst when he works with only Jim Hughson, as he did a few times during the tournament. Elliotte Friedman was everywhere at the Bolshoy, hosting most games and doing interviews. He was also a studio analyst for Team Canada games. The one change I would have made to the hockey broadcasts is have Rick Ball replace Mark Lee, as previously mentioned.
And that is because… the curling coverage was atrocious. Joan McCusker rarely offers up any insight whatsoever. In fact she often opines that a shot isn’t even possible, disagreeing with Mike Harris. 30 seconds later the shot is made perfectly. Play-by-play commentator Rainnie rarely seemed to know what was happening, one time suggesting that a skip (Brad Jacobs, I think), didn’t even need to throw his last stone. This despite that the throwing team was down 1 point in the 10th end and there were no stones in the house. I think that curling and hockey are two sports where CBC could have leaned on TSN and Sportsnet veterans such as Rob Faulds and Gord Miller.
However, within CBC’s ranks there are plenty of veterans whose voices were a welcome return. There was Scott Oake, one of the CBC’s most professional and versatile commentators who has called Olympic alpine skiing with Kerrin Lee-Gartner many times before. Steve Armitage reclaimed his spot as the voice of speed skating in Canada, after Rod Smith did a more than admirable job in Vancouver. The CBC’s lone female play-by-play commentator, Brenda Irving avoided the sin of talking too much during performances, then she ceded to Kurt Browning and Carol Lane for analysis following each competitor.
Two two biggest surprises, and perhaps this is because both CBC and CTV have a track record of hiring terrible snowboarding and freestyle skiing analysts, were Jeff Bean and Craig McMorris. Bean was an aerials analyst for CTV in 2010. This time his portfolio grew to include the new events of slopestyle and halfpipe, which really have very little connection to aerials. Yet he knew all the tricks. He had a feel for the judging and what tricks would score well. To cover a judged sport where the tricks are so radically different to what you know is extremely impressive. McMorris was made to look a bit silly when he was confused by the judging during the men’s slopestyle on day one. However, he wasn’t alone, so I give him a pass. Canadian athletes like his brother Mark and Max Perrot were equally perplexed. As was I. The tricks that had scored well for one set of judges at X Games 2 weeks earlier were not the same tricks the Olympic judges were looking for. Play-by-play commentators Mitch Peacock and Rob Snoek were also fantastic in two sports that very few past Olympic commentators have had any success in calling. And that’s a good thing considering almost half of Canada’s victories in Sochi were in freestyle skiing or snowboarding.
However, there was one problem with the freestyle skiing coverage. Jenn Heil, who suffered from the same problems as Campbell. Heil was CBC’s analyst on moguls; however, she was part of two of the most awkward interviews of the Games. Canada won gold and silver in each of the moguls events. That resulted in two in-studio interviews. First here is the video of the Dufour-Lapointe interview. Notice Jenn Heil is the odd person out sitting on the couch with sisters Justine, Maxime, Chloe, and their parents.
And then there was the interview with all four members of the Canadian men’s team, who all made the final six, and you guessed it, Heil. Again, have a look.
In my opinion, the actual highlights of CBC’s coverage was their mobile app and live streaming. I think they are seeing where media is headed and did a great job capturing that, especially for an Olympics that took place in a time zone that meant many Canadians were at school or at work when the events were taking place. The app, the first of its kind for Olympic broadcasting in Canada, was great for start-lists and up to the minute results while watching live events. The quality of the live streaming was spectacular, just as good as watching on TV when it came through in “HD”. The navigation in the video player was great too. My one complain, the commercial breaks for the live streams were completely random. Going out in the middle of a play during hockey games at times.
All in all, CBC’s coverage continued the tradition of excellence in Olympic broadcasting. Here are videos of a couple of the best calls of Canada’s gold medal performances in Sochi.
Charles Hamelin in men’s 1500m Short Track, called by Steve Armitage
Men’s Hockey final, Canada vs. Sweden, called by Jim Hughson
The CBC has announced some highlights of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which begin in under one month. English-language coverage will air on TV on CBC, TSN, TSN2, Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE. CBC will also have 12 live online feeds that will include commentary. CBC is promising more than 1500 hours of total coverage, including the streams. CBC Television will have over 350 hours of coverage (21 hours daily), featuring all Canadian hockey games and most medal events. TSN and TSN2 will combine for 250 hours of coverage (~17 hours daily), including primetime encores of hockey. Sportsnet will feature 140 hours of coverage, with 64.5 more on Sportsnet ONE (~13 hours daily). Sportsnet will focus on curling in primetime.
Coverage begins on Thursday February 6, the day prior to the opening ceremony, at 6am Eastern with snowboard slopestyle qualification and figure skating’s team event. The opening ceremony, with hosts Peter Mansbridge and Ron MacLean, will air live on February 7 at 11am Eastern on CBC, Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE and TSN2. CBC’s coverage begins with an exclusive preview show at 10am ET and will also feature encore presentations of the ceremony at 2pm ET and again in primetime.
CBC’s coverage will air almost around the clock, except to break for local news and The National. Olympic coverage begins at midnight Eastern with Olympic Overnight and continues live through the end of Olympic Daytime at 3pm ET. Olympic Extra, an encore broadcast, follows from 3 through 5pm ET. That is followed by a 2 hour break for local news, then Olympic Primetime at 7pm Eastern, in most regions. The National will air between Primetime and Overnight Coverage.
CBC’s highlights include all Canadian hockey games, as well as the gold medal finals in men’s and women’s hockey and curling. TSN will show the free programs of all figure skating events. TSN2 features Shaun White looking for a third straight gold medal in snowboard halfpipe. Sportsnet has the men’s moguls final, featuring Alex Bilodeau, who won Canada’s first gold medal on home snow in Vancouver. Sportsnet ONE features lots of sliding, including women’s skeleton, women’s luge, women’s bobsleigh and 2-man bobsleigh.
CBC will release a more detailed broadcast schedule in the coming weeks.
Sportsnet officially announced their new broadcast contract with the National Hockey League this morning. And the scope of the new deal is much wider than I could have imagined when news of it first broke 12 hours ago. Sportsnet has bought rights to all nationally-broadcast NHL games for 12 seasons beginning next fall. Sportsnet also picks up rights to the NHL All Star Game and Entry Draft. Rogers will also take over operation of NHL Centre Ice and GameCentre Live in Canada. Rogers is paying $5.2 billion for rights to every game for 12 seasons. The NHL will receive approximately $300 million next season, with fees raising to $500 million by the end of the contract.
Coverage on Saturdays and Sundays will begin at 4pm Eastern. Sportsnet has exclusive national coverage on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Sportsnet will also launch a new studio that will host all NHL on Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. As part of the deal Rogers will sub-license some Saturday night coverage to the CBC. Two games every Saturday will air on CBC, with the rest airing on Citytv and Sportsnet. This eliminates the need for regional broadcasting. Sportsnet will assume complete creative control over all Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. This means the future for CBC’s hockey talent is uncertain. It also means that Sportsnet will have the pick of all on-air personalities at TSN and CBC for their new broadcasts. Games will air on CBC, Sportsnet, SN1, SN360, TVA, TVA Sports, TVA Sports 2, as well as other potential channels on Saturday nights.
Keith Pelley, who was key in the plans for how Sportsnet will cover the NHL, was also the head of the Olympic Broadcast Consortium’s Vancouver 2010 coverage. Sportsnet will aim to offer Hockey Night in Canada in a similar fashion with all networks pooling resources and cross-promoting. Pelley set a new standard for Olympic broadcasting in Canada and is looking to do the same for hockey. Since the Sportsnet deal with CBC only came together in the past few days the broadcasters haven’t decided which CBC on-air personalities will transfer over to Sportsnet.
Sportsnet will get to show 30 Leafs games nationally (some could air on CBC) as part of the new agreement. Sportsnet will retain 26 for regional consumption beginning in 2016, with the other 26 airing on TSN regionally. Since TSN has regional rights to 60 Jets games, the Jets will appear on Sportsnet a maximum of 22 times. It is unclear how many games for each of Canada’s other five teams will air on Sportsnet. TVA will pick up rights to 22 Montreal Canadiens games, most of which will air on their over-the-air channel on Saturday nights.
The sub-licensing deal with the CBC is one of the most intriguing aspects of the deal. The CBC will have around 320 hours of primetime hockey. That probably equates to around 50 regular season games and 50 playoff games. There is no word yet on how CBC and Sportsnet will split-up the playoffs, except that the Stanley Cup Final will air on CBC. The sub-license will last for four years; however, in a news conference Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said that he hopes the deal with CBC can extend beyond four years. The CBC and Sportsnet will also work together to acquire and broadcast other major sports properties. Sub-licensing deals are already in place for the two networks to split the Grand Slam of Curling and 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In a letter to CBC employees President Hubert Lacroix outlined what the four-year deal means for the public broadcaster. CBC will no longer assume any control over production or content, although Sportsnet will consult with them. CBC also will not make any advertising revenue from the broadcasts; however, they also are not paying Rogers or the NHL a cent to show the games. Lacroix also notes that the loss of advertising revenue will mean job losses at the CBC. These additional cuts come on the heels of CBC Sports cutting costs just two years ago due to a lack of funding.
This is a very complex deal and there are many questions that still need asked and answered. It is a complete game-changer in Canadian sports broadcasting and will result in many changes at CBC and TSN. I’ll leave the speculation, and there is lots of it, for a later date (and the comments section). I do plan to look into the effects this deal will have on all networks, but especially the CBC, in the coming weeks.
Sportsnet has confirmed the deal this morning. Rogers will own the rights to every NHL broadcast in Canada, paying $5.2 billion for the next 12 years. Rogers will sub-licence games to CBC for Hockey Night in Canada, playoffs and the Stanley Cup. CBC will no longer be the only network showing hockey on a Saturday night with City now in the mix (see graphic on right). Rogers has the exclusive window to broadcast any Canadian team on a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday. TVA Sports will have French-language coverage.
“Hockey No Longer Lives Here” will presumably be TSN’s new tagline next fall. That after TSN lost NHL TV rights to CBC and Sportsnet. The news first surfaced when Bob McKenzie tweeted that two networks had acquired the new NHL national television contract that takes effect next season. That tweet, from hockey’s best insider, flew in the face of everything that everyone has reported in the past week. As recently as this morning, publications had reported that the NHL would sell smaller packages to CBC, TSN and Sportsnet to maximize exposure and revenue.
Well, it turns out that somehow TSN has missed out as McKenzie has now confirmed that CBC and Sportsnet have picked up NHL rights for 12 seasons beginning next fall. While more information will probably become available in the morning in terms of which network will broadcast which games. According to reports CBC will keep most of what they have now. Sportsnet will replace TSN as the national cable broadcaster, with Sunday night the likely landing spot for an exclusive weekly broadcast. Sportsnet will also likely have one exclusive conference final.
Steve Ladurantaye of The Globe reported Monday that CBC will like pay around $200 million per year. The Globe article also stated that the CBC could lose $175 million in advertising revenue without the NHL. So, it is clear that even at a $200 million pricetag the CBC would have been out almost as much money without broadcasting the NHL as it is paying the hefty fee the NHL is requesting to show games.
In another report earlier Monday, Chris Botta of Sports Business Daily reported that all three networks would get a slice of the NHL pie. In the piece Botta reported that TSN was likely to retain Wednesday Night Hockey and add the All Star Game. With the recent developments it is unclear whether Sportsnet will offer national broadcasts on Wednesday night or whether CBC or Sportsnet will show the All Star Game. Botta projected that Sportsnet and TSN’s deals would be worth over $125 million combined, which means Sportsnet likely paid upwards of $150 million for exclusivity.
In losing TSN, the NHL has lost a partner that revolutionized broadcasting of the league. Day-long trade deadline and free agent coverage were TSN innovations. As was TV coverage of the NHL draft and even the All Star Game fantasy draft. The NHL also loses TSN’s in-game coverage, which featured award-winning broadcasters like Chris Cuthbert, James Duthie and Bob McKenzie.
However, the bigger loss is undoubtedly for TSN. It’s not the end for TSN, as some were quick to project. They still have CFL and curling locked up in long-term contracts (which, yes, a lot of people do watch). TSN also has the World Juniors locked up for a decade in a new contract that kicks in this December. The NHL can live without TSN because the network will still bid aggressively in 12 years. That’s in comparison to CBC, who probably would be out of broadcasting hockey for good if they had lost NHL rights for over a decade.
So, to recap. TSN has the CFL through 2018, Season of Champions curling through 2020 and World Juniors through 2023. Those are the most valuable sports properties in Canada outside of the Olympics, NHL and NFL. The Canadian Hockey League will also sign a new contract in the coming year, which TSN is probably now very interested in.
TSN will have to worry about an exodus of its esteemed hockey talent following this season. Is there room for both Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller at a network with no weekly national hockey broadcasts? I doubt it. Miller has worked at TSN since 1990 and called World Junior games since 2002; however, Cuthbert is TSN’s most valuable voice since he also calls the Grey Cup. I wonder if Miller and Ray Ferraro are a natural choice for Sportsnet’s primary broadcast crew. Another question is where will James Duthie go? Surely not back to SportsCentre. While he’d make sense at the helm of TSN’s CFL coverage that would come at the expense of long time TSN employee Dave Randorf. Maybe he’ll follow the example of fellow highly-touted TSN employees Dan O’Toole and Jay Onrait and look south of the 49th.
Remember the night of November 25th, 2013 everyone. It is a landmark in Canadian sports broadcasting that could lead to Sportsnet becoming the top-rated sports network in Canada. Of course this landmark is really just the latest occurrence in a trend that began in 2010 when Scott Moore left CBC and Keith Pelley left CTV to lead Rogers’ broadcasting division.
Burgundy to TSN… While TSN has lost hockey, they have gained Ron Burgundy. That’s right, the fake news anchor from the movie Anchorman. Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell, will join Vic Rauter in the broadcast booth for TSN’s coverage of the first draw of the Olympic Curling Trials on Sunday afternoon. Now, I love Anchorman as much as anybody, but this is a ridiculous ploy for attention. It only promotes the idea that curling needs a gimmick to draw in viewers, which isn’t true in my opinion. Not only is TSN trying this gimmick, but they are doing it at the biggest Canadian curling event on the calendar. But then again, it’s a gimmick that will work because even I will tune in to see what Ferrell knows about curling.
Grey Cup ratings… An average of 4.5 million Canadians tuned into TSN for the 101st Grey Cup from Regina Sunday evening. That makes it the fourth most watched Grey Cup ever on TSN, which is mildly impressive considering it was a blowout by halftime. A ratings peak in the second quarter exemplifies this. But isn’t so impressive when considered that it is the lowest rated Grey Cup on TSN since BBM introduced Portable People Metres to measure audiences in 2009. Ratings are down a million viewers compared to last season, despite a victory for the league’s most popular team. However, regular season CFL ratings were up 4.3% this year.
Wednesday night sees the start of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final, with the Chicago Blackhawks taking on the Boston Bruins, the first time in 34 years that two original six teams have faced each other in the finals. Below is a quick rundown of what to expect.
Game 1: Wednesday June 12, 8pm — Bruins @ Blackhawks — CBC / NBC
Game 2: Saturday June 15, 8pm — Bruins @ Blackhawks — CBC
Game 3: Monday June 17, 8pm — Blackhawks @ Bruins — CBC
Game 4: Wednesday June 19, 8pm — Blackhawks @ Bruins — CBC / NBC
Game 5*: Saturday June 22, 8pm — Bruins @ Blackhawks — CBC / NBC
Game 6*: Monday June 24, 8pm — Blackhawks @ Bruins — CBC / NBC
Game 7*: Wednesday June 26, 8pm — Bruins @ Blackhawks — CBC / NBC
Commentators: Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson in the booth, Glenn Healy inside the glass, Scott Oake reporting.
In-Studio, live on location: Ron MacLean, Don Cherry, P.J. Stock, Elliotte Friedman, Andi Petrillo.
Pre-Game: From 7:30pm each night, except game 2: from 7pm featuring the 2013 NHL Awards.
Post-Game: Live online at cbcsports.ca.
Commentators: Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk in the booth, Pierre McGuire inside the glass, Jeremy Roenick reporting.
In-Studio, live on location: Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury, Keith Jones.
Commentators: Pierre Houde and Marc Denis in the booth.
In-Studio: Alain Crete, Mario Tremblay and Benoit Brunet, with Denis Gauthier, Mathieu Darche, Pascal Vincent, Patrick Lalime, Jocelyn Lemieux and Guy Carbonneau alternating.
And I’m sure the endless amount of talking hockey heads on Sportsnet and TSN will be on location during the series.
It seems like a very real possibility that the Ottawa Senators could play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the 2013 NHL playoffs. All Ottawa has to do is beat Boston tonight. That would vault them up to 7th, and the Canadiens to 2nd. At first this seems like the elusive, dream all-Canadian matchup CBC is also looking for come April. But then again, maybe it’s not. TSN studio host James Duthie suggested he thinks CBC will select the Leafs’ and Canucks’ series on Sunday evening, regardless of if the Senators play the Canadiens or not. At first I was very skeptical, but after thinking about it and seeing how the Western Conference seedings, I’m beginning to agree with James.
The main goal for both the CBC and TSN is to attract ratings and advertising dollars. Ratings and length of series are both important. The Canucks are a proven playoff ratings earners for the CBC. The Senators, are not. The Canadiens will always result in part of their fanbase watching in French on RDS. Ottawa-Montreal averaged 870, 000 viewers on TSN in March. Also in March Vancouver-San Jose averaged 505, 000 viewers for a game only available in British Columbia on Sportsnet Pacific. While I can’t find any ratings from this year, the Canucks consistently averaged over 800, 000 viewers for games on TSN against US-based teams late last season (799, 000 vs. ANA; 824, 000 vs. LA; 856, 000 vs. DAL). Undoubtedly the Canucks can get the same type of ratings on their own that the Senators and Canadiens can muster together in English-Canada.
So, now that I’ve proven the ratings are close enough that CBC could reasonably take the Canucks over a Ottawa-Montreal series, that leads me to my second point. If CBC takes both TOR-BOS and OTT-MTL, that means they will probably end up with DET-ANA and LA-STL in the West. This is a scheduling nightmare. Of a possible 28 games, 21 take place in the Eastern or Central Timezones. Games in Detroit and St. Louis would have to air online for most of the country. CBC could only show 7 doubleheaders. Any of those that go head-to-head with the Canucks will get beaten. They might win the early timeslot every night, but they won’t post many wins at 10:00pm ET. And fans will be worse off if games in St. Louis and Detroit are only available on 1-2 regional stations in Ontario and online.
But, if CBC takes TOR-BOS and SJ-VAN, they could have an anchor for their doubleheader each night and avoid these problems. CBC would probably still take ANA-DET with the fourth pick and then either NYI-PIT or NYR-WSH later on. This would mean 17 games in the Eastern Time Zone and 11 in the Pacific Time Zone. And far less conflict, especially when Canadian teams are playing. CBC would win the late timeslot every night they have a game in it, even if going head-to-head with STL-LA on TSN. And they’d still win every early timeslot with the Leafs and probably have an afternoon game from their eastern-based US series, further reducing conflicts.
And, lastly, even going head-to-head with OTT-MTL on TSN, I think NYI-PIT or NYR-WSH will get better ratings than STL-LA. Easily. And I think CBC’s ratings as a whole would be higher. Of course criticism will come from CBC picking SJ-VAN over an all-Canadian series, but will that really matter? I think TSN had MTL-OTT around three times this season, so why not a few more? For those who have cable, it will probably mean more games on TV without needing CHEX or CBC Windsor.
Anyone ever wonder what Don Cherry thinks of female reporters in NHL dressing rooms? Well, now that he’s announced it in all his glory on Coach’s Corner tonight, everyone knows. And for him and the CBC, that’s probably not a good thing. It all started when Cherry felt the need to chime in on Duncan Keith’s slightly sexist remarks earlier in the week when a female reporter interviewed him. Cherry basically said Keith’s quote was a non-issue. Which I actually agree with a bit. I’ve heard the interview a few times and I’m not convinced he meant any harm.
This led to the point Cherry really wanted to make, which was, “…and I really believe this, I don’t believe women should be in the male dressing room.” The look on Ron MacLean’s face (top right) really says it all. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Cherry followed it up with, “I don’t feel women are equal; I feel they are on a pedestal and they should not be walking in when naked guys are walking in.” Here is the entire video:
Cherry went to one of the oldest white male tricks in the book, that white men are in fact the ones discriminated against. And why wouldn’t he considering how well it’s worked for those who claim black people have better rights than white people? Surely this last line from Cherry is the one that really took it over the top.
As is usual with Cherry, it isn’t hard to find him expressing a similar opinion from 20 years ago. Back in the good ‘ole days when women weren’t allowed in locker rooms for fear they might look at penises and get excited, they were still causing problems at NHL hockey games. Yes I know, hard to believe, but women have caused problems at hockey games ever since they were first allowed in the arenas. Here is the old video (notice MacLean’s similar reaction at 0:23):
I think CBC should suspend him, but likely they will just ask him to apologize next time he is on-air Tuesday or Wednesday. And this certainly isn’t the first time Cherry has stirred up controversy around the start of the playoffs. See this post from April 18, 2011 when he laughed off the problem of concussions.
Remember this kind of thing is what got Richard Keys and Andy Gray fired at Sky Sports. And they didn’t knowingly say it on-air. Cherry did. Other than that I don’t know what to say. The videos really speak for themselves.
I expect that the NHL will release their 2013 Conference Quarterfinals schedule Sunday night at 11:00pm Eastern on a special that will air on NHL Network. That’s regardless of what happens tonight. However, with about 24 hours for schedules to leak before any is officially released, I’m sure some news will come out early.
In this post I’ll list the NHL Playoff Matchups as they are confirmed, what networks will cover them, and the night the series will start. I’ll also add full schedule information once it is available. Anything that is not confirmed, but worth mentioning (probably broadcasters and current, but not final standings) is in italics. I’m assuming every series will start Tuesday or Wednesday, but that’s not confirmed. Feel free to post any information you come across in the comments.
(1) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (8) New York Islanders (Game 1, Wednesday)
(2) Montreal Canadiens vs. (7) Ottawa Senators (Game 1, Wednesday)
(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) New York Rangers
(4) Boston Bruins vs. (5) Toronto Maple Leafs
(1) Chicago Blackhawks vs. (8) Minnesota Wild (Game 1, Tuesday at 8pm)
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (7) Detroit Red Wings (Game 1, Tuesday at 10:30pm)
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) San Jose Sharks
(4) St. Louis Blues vs. (5) Los Angeles Kings (Game 1, Tuesday)
*The Canadiens will likely play game 1 on Tuesday.
The 2014 Olympics begin in 365 days in Sochi, Russia. Today Sportsnet announced that they are the official cable broadcaster of the Games in Canada. This is just the latest partnership between the two networks which also includes the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I’ll have a lot more on this later, but for now here is a statement from Sportsnet.
Today marks the official one-year countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia and Sportsnet is pleased to announce it has reached a sub-licensing deal with CBC to provide Canadians with comprehensive coverage of the Games.
Further platform distribution announcements are to come, but under the agreement Sportsnet is now an official cable broadcaster of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
As part of the sub-licensing deal, Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE will carry approximately 200 hours of 2014 Olympic Winter Games coverage, including coverage in prime time
And as did TSN and RDS, evidently. Somehow I missed this. Worth noting that TSN and RDS have shown every Olympics since 1998. Very impressive.
TSN and RDS are partnering with CBC/Radio-Canada to provide coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Through the partnership, both networks will be able to bring viewers access to live events and coverage across TSN and RDS’s sports, news, and entertainment platforms.
TSN and RDS have been part of Canada’s Olympic tradition for the past three decades, setting the standard of excellence for delivering Olympic coverage during the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Games.
TSN and RDS will provide more details on this partnership and broadcast information in the near future.
And here is CBC’s press release with all that news and more. Read the bolded section closely. What’s coming next? Netflix for highlights?
Today marks the official one-year countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and CBC/Radio-Canada is thrilled to bring the Olympic Games home to Canadians. As Canada’s Official Broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada brings Canadians cross-platform coverage of the top news and stories in the year leading up to Sochi 2014, running from February 7 – 23, 2014. With exclusive license arrangements, TSN, RDS, and Sportsnet will also present coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Stay tuned – more platform distribution announcements to come.“We’re incredibly proud to be the official home of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” said Kirstine Stewart, Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC. “As we count down to Sochi 2014, we are committed to sharing the inspirational stories of our athletes, while providing Canadians with a robust Olympic Games experience, across all platforms.”Louis Lalande, Executive Vice-President, Radio-Canada, added: “The Olympic Games have been part of Radio-Canada’s DNA for over fifty years. It is with great anticipation that we prepare for Sochi 2014. We aim to offer viewers from coast to coast a distinct coverage that will allow them to live and breathe with our athletes on this most prestigious stage.”Click here for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games English Promo.CBC/Radio-Canada is the place to be as we count down to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. With coverage across all platforms – including TV, radio, online, and mobile – Canadians can connect with the biggest stories and the latest content whenever and wherever they want it. Through world-class storytelling and the best performance coverage available, CBC/Radio-Canada will introduce viewers to Canadian athletes poised to take on the world in 2014. Canadians can engage with CBC/Radio-Canada leading up to and throughout the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games online in English at CBC.ca/Olympics and in French at Radio-Canada.ca/Olympiques, as well as on Twitter in English at @cbcolympics (#cbcolympics), and in French at @RC_Sports (#RColympiques).The countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi was in full-swing this week on CBC, with extensive programming on all platforms. Throughout the week, viewers have enjoyed extensive coverage, with stories from Sochi and beyond, as well as a look at Canada’s Olympians as they prepare for the Games.
CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada began its 60th season on Saturday with record ratings. There were a number of changes to CBC’s broadcasts, especially to the studio programming and the “Prime West” game. While some of CBC’s changes were effective, others need tweaking. And still others made no sense whatsoever. And, of course, it wouldn’t be the first weekend of a new NHL season without Don Cherry analysis on the Brian Burke firing (remember when Burke tried to have Cherry fired?).
I’ll start with the good. I think Kevin Weekes and Glenn Healy are both far more effective in studio than they are on game broadcasts. Weekes is especially good as the slower pace of studio talk fits his delivery better. Healy’s better if only because I’d rather hear him for 10 minutes than 60+. In fact I actually thought he was kind of funny Saturday night, more like his pre-NHLPA self. I also think CBC giving Rick Ball the “Prime West” game was a great choice. He isn’t Cuthbert or Hughson, but he is far better than Lee and should grow into the spot fine. He is also a great candidate to lead CBC’s CFL coverage, should they ever get those broadcast rights again.
The only problem about Weekes and Healy in the studio is that Kelly Hrudey is also a better studio analyst. He really seemed out of his element doing colour commentary on Saturday night. He constantly stumbled over sentences and was just too slow to keep up with the pace of the game. Hrudey is at his best when he’s in the studio with a telestrator breaking down plays. This presents the obvious problem for CBC, they have too many goalies who all excel at the same thing.
So how do they fix that problem? Well most importantly there’s still plenty of time for Hrudey to adjust to his new role. If he doesn’t, I’d suggest moving him back to the studio with Weekes. CBC could also try putting Hrudey between the benches.If all else fails, then I’d love to see Daryl Reaugh back at CBC working the late game with Ball. Of course that would also depend on Reaugh’s commitment to do local Dallas Stars game on Fox Sports.
Luckily for Hrudey, it isn’t him everyone will remember Saturday HNIC season opener for. PJ Stock drew the ire of most of Twitter on Saturday night for his studio analysis. The “best” of Stock’s lines? “Take option ‘A’ or option ‘B’. [Toronto] didn’t beat Jack the Giant Killer in Montreal.” If you can figure that one out, then good on ya. And yes, I realize it’s a metaphor to the story, but it’s also a metaphor that makes little sense.
Stock also talked in circles during the Hotstove when he got confused about P.K. Subban’s contract negotiations. Or as Stock put it, “With him in the lineup they finished 15th, without him they can’t finish any worse.” Well, duh, unless the NHL adds a 16th team to the Eastern Conference the Habs could skate a team of any 18 guys they like and not finish any worse. Stock also said he sells, which is great, but it’s not like this is Nashville or Phoenix. The Canadiens selling tickets and merchandise isn’t dependent on P.K. Subban. For CBC’s studio programming to improve, Stock needs to go.
Ron MacLean, Kevin Weekes and Elliotte Friedman followed up Stock’s “analysis” with some insight, rebuttal and facts, which I thought was great. Healy also put Stock in his place on the NHL lockout, where Stock thought the players did good to get to 50% HRR. Did anyone really believe the players would get less than a 50/50 split on HRR? Stock went on to talk over Healy.
Getting rid of Stock would also help improve CBC’s Hotstove, which was once the best sports studio programming on TV anywhere in North America. Of course that was also before the Twitter age (Satellite Hotstove, anyone?) when Saturday night was the time to get the latest trade rumours. The Hotstove, as it originally was, may not work anymore because of Twitter and 24/7 insider coverage on TSN with McKenzie and Dreger. But regardless, I’m not alone (see other media writers). If CBC is insistent on using the current format, then removing Stock and replacing him with Tim Wharnsby would probably do it for me. At least Weekes and Healy have their facts straight. Friedman needs more speaking time.
And then there were two things that were just odd about CBC’s broadcast on Saturday. The first was Andi Petrillo. Despite hosting the “iDesk” segment, there was no desk whatsoever. And the camera angles the CBC choose to use didn’t really help their case. Like her predecessors at the iDesk (Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek), CBC is wasting her talent on a useless segment. There is nothing worse than reading Tweets on-air, and it is becoming more common on every network. CBC should use her as the rinkside reporter for the afternoon game (when there is one). That would account for about 1/3 of their broadcasts this season. It’s great that she’s the first female studio host for HNIC, but what’s not great is the way they are using her.
The other oddity of CBC’s coverage was the second Don Cherry segment, at the first intermission of the Ducks @ Canucks game. It seems CBC has removed Cherry’s post-Leafs game segment for this one, which is odd in itself. What is even more odd is the arrangement. Ron MacLean sits down, while Don Cherry stands up awkwardly towering over MacLean. It was nice to see Cherry talk about teams outside the Northeast Division for once though.
Hockey Night in Canada will originate live from Calgary next Saturday. MacLean and Cherry will both be there. I’m not sure about the rest of CBC’s studio crew. Hockey Night will visit all seven Canadian cities this season.
Fact Checking… I thought Cherry was mostly on point with his Brian Burke analysis. Usually his line “Instead of getting Canadians he got US college guys and Finns and Swedes” would draw a lot of attention. Not so because of the rest of CBC’s studio programming. Anyone want to guess how many “Finns and Swedes” the Leafs have? Two, one from each country. They also have a, dare I say it, Russian.
HockeyCentral… Speaking of studio programming, Sportsnet’s HockeyCentral needs more Jeff Marek and Billy Jaffe. They two hosted the first HockeyCentral Tonight of the season on Monday and were excellent together. Jaffe never played in the NHL, he played college hockey at Michigan, but he sees the game brilliantly. His comparison of Patrick Kane’s goal on Saturday and Kyle Turris’ goal last night was great insight.
Sportsnet Scorebug… Sportsnet’s new hockey scorebug is a huge upgrade over their old one. It is very similar to the one Leafs TV used last season and it is designed by a Canadian.
Hockey Night in Canada is finally getting a much-needed makeover. Rick Ball and Kelly Hrudey will takeover calling the main 7:00pm Pacific/10:00pm Eastern game on many weeks this season. Scott Oake will continue to report rinkside and host After Hours for the second game of CBC’s doubleheader. Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Glenn Healy will continue to call the 7:00pm Eastern Toronto Maple Leafs broadcast most weeks. Bob Cole and Garry Galley will mostly do Canadiens and Senators games. CBC has demoted Mark Lee to Winnipeg Jets regional broadcasts, where he will work with Greg Millen. Dean Brown also remains with CBC to call selected games. CBC will only have four games twice this season, however, on Hockey Day in Canada and again on April 6. Kevin Weekes will also stay with Hockey Night in a new role.
In my opinion, it’s about time CBC made a change. Lee really brought down the quality of CBC’s western broadcasts. I’m not too familiar with Ball; however, I’ve heard good things about him from those in British Columbia. Hrudey’s new role will allow him to stay closer to home (he lives in Calgary). Usually during the playoffs Hrudey spends most of April and May in Toronto, away from his family.
I wonder if this might be the opportune time for CBC to move Bob Cole further aside. I’m a big a fan of Cole as anyone, I grew up with him, but if CBC really wants to promote Ball and Hrudey as the team of the future they should call a Conference Final. I don’t know if it will happen this year, but it seems that Ball is CBC’s secondary play-by-play commentator of the future.
CBC’s rinkside reporters will largely stay the same. Andi Petrillo, Elliotte Friedman, Scott Oake, David Amber and Cassie Campbell all return.
EDIT (1/17): CBC has made all of this official now. Kevin Weekes is taking Kelly Hrudey’s old spot in CBC’s studio. Elliotte Friedman is now part of the main studio panel, while Andi Petrillo takes over the iDesk. Don Cherry will do Coach’s Corner at the end of the 1st intermission of both the early and late games.
CBC has also confirmed that Cole, Brown, Galley and Millen will split up regional games in the east, while Lee and Millen will do regional Jets games.
I’m not sure exactly what motivated CBC to switch Weekes and Hrudey; however, it is worth noting Weekes lives in Toronto and Hrudey lives in Calgary. Instead of having both travel across the country weekly, this makes more sense.
CBC is usually broadcasting hockey games on Saturday nights in January, not announcing which games they will broadcast. Everything will return to normal in one week. CBC will broadcast games on 15 Saturday nights this season with limited regional action (at most there are two-way splits at 7pm). CBC will also broadcast six Saturday afternoon games in five windows, including the season-opener between the Senators and Jets next weekend. Another matinee will air on Super Bowl Sunday. Three more games will air on Thursday and Friday nights. And lost in all of the lockout talk is the fact that this is the 60th season of Hockey Night in Canada.
CBC’s schedule is highlighted by 18 all-Canadian matchups and ten Original Six games. The Canadiens lead the way with 16 games on CBC; the Leafs follow with 14 (March 2 is the only Saturday they don’t play). Ottawa and Vancouver has eight appearances each, while Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary all have seven.
Hockey Day in Canada is February 9. Winnipeg-Ottawa, Edmonton-Detroit, Toronto-Montreal and Calgary-Vancouver highlight more than 12 hours of hockey programming on CBC. Peterborough, Ontario will host Hockey Day this year. Lloydminster was originally schedule to host; however, it cancelled activities due to the chance the lockout would cancel the season. Lloydminster will host Hockey Day in 2014.
Fresh from shocking a lot of people and obtaining the rights to the 2014/2016 Olympic Games, CBC today announced they have been awarded the domestic broadcast rights for the 2015 Pan/ParaPan American Games in Toronto.
The deal includes English and French-language television rights, online, mobile, and non-commercial rights for the Games which will be held in July and August of 2015, in between their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Depending on who you talk to, the Pan-Am’s could either be a good thing for the city of Toronto, who are wanting to host the Summer Olympics sometime in the not too distant future, or it could be a gong show that doesn’t bring the best athletes available. Either way, it will be a great experience for Canadian athletes leading into Rio 2016.
I have my own personal disdain for the Pan-Am games coming to Toronto (see: FIFA Women’s World Cup), but that’s another rant for another day.
Click on through for the full press release from CBC.