Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Fox aims to do the unthinkable when it launches Fox Sports 1 this August, overtake ESPN as the most watched sports channel in America. And it certainly has a chance. At launch it has MLB (beginning in 2014), NASCAR (including Sprint Cup races in 2015), college football and hoops, just like ESPN. Fox Sports also has UEFA Champions League and FIFA tournaments beginning in 2015. All Fox is missing out on are the big events (minus the World Cup) that ESPN and Turner’s TNT have. ESPN has the BCS, Turner has March Madness. ESPN has weekday coverage of three of golf’s majors, TNT has the other. ESPN also has all four tennis Grand Slams.
Due to the long-term nature of broadcast contracts, there isn’t a lot more Fox can do to compete with ESPN. They can compete with ESPN’s highlight programs though. Late Friday news came that the faces of TSN’s SportsCentre, Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, were leaving TSN for new jobs in Los Angeles along with “Producer Tim”. It was quickly confirmed, as I initially speculated, that these jobs were at Fox for the new nightly news show “Fox Sports Live”, which will air weeknights from from 11pm until 2am Eastern. The new program will compete directly with ESPN’s SportsCenter, something that sports channels in the US are usually reluctant to do.
While SportsCenter is incredibly popular, it does have its faults. There is certainly a base in American looking for something new and refreshing. Fox is known for going against the establishment and trying new things, and gimmicks, in sports broadcasting. Some, like the FoxBox, have stuck. Others, like the glowing puck, not so much. Onrait and O’Toole certainly fit the Fox ideal of different, and yes, at times gimmicky. Not that it usually detracts from their broadcasts. After Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick, who also called their SportsCenter “The Big Show”, ESPN would never go for a duo potentially bigger than the network like Onrait and O’Toole.
Last year The Wall Street Journal wrote an article on Onrait and O’Toole asking “Why Can’t We Have Canada’s SportsCentre?”. Now you do, America. And before anyone asks, no I do not know if Fox Sports 1 will be available in Canada.
theScore to Rogers… Last Tuesday the CRTC finalized the sale of theScore Television Network to Rogers. Sportsnet immediately took control of it, although it will go by theScore until a rebrand on Canada Day. Live @ theScore and the Footy Show both ended Monday, without so much as a goodbye. You can read Kristian Jack and James Sharman’s final thoughts on the Footy Show here. A new “Hockey Central Xtra” replaced Live @, airing from 5-6pm Eastern on weeknights with a mix of theScore and Sportsnet on-air talent. Tim and Sid returned to theScore with a simulcast of their Fan 590 radio show on Wednesday. In other immediate changes Monday Night Raw is now live and theScore will have 8 Toronto FC matches this season.
Rogers valued the transaction at $172 million, while Rogers will contribute $17.1 million to a tangible-benefits package for amateur sports in Canada. The CRTC did deny Rogers’ idea of using the tangible benefits package to create a Canadian version of the X Games. The CRTC’s main problem is that in the broadcasting community, Rogers would exclusively benefit from the “Sportsnet Winter Games”. I agree. What’s the point in a required investment to improve amateur sports and broadcasting in Canada if the company paying is the lone company to benefit? As a result, Rogers must submit an alternative plan by the end of the month.
What interests me are the interventions put forward by other media companies. Eastlink asked the CRTC to reclassify theScore as a “mainstream sports service”, similar to TSN, TSN2 or Sportsnet ONE. The CRTC opened up this sector to Canadian competition a few years ago. Previously TSN had protection. theScore enjoys similar protection as a sports news service. Unless Eastlink plans on launching a sports news channel, which seems unlikely, I find this is an odd intervention. Bell’s intervention was also interesting. Bell wanted the new license to include a condition to prevent theScore from tape-delaying programming by 15 minutes to get around live-programming rules imposed on it. theScore has previously done this with Serie A soccer and WWE.
I expect theScore will continue to air mostly basketball, soccer, WWE and college/university/amateur sports. The channel has found a niche with these sports, and I think for the most part Rogers will continue this. Rogers has already bought rights to FIBA basketball tournaments for theScore. Sportsnet has rights to CIS football and basketball games that air on Fox and Fox Sports 1 in the US. The CIS Hockey Championship would also make sense for theScore. There’s also always more room for UEFA Champions League group stage matches. WWE will continue to anchor theScore’s line-up on Monday and Friday. Regardless of whether it’s a sport, it is theScore’s highest-rated program. It consistently competes with Monday Night Football for the best cable ratings on Mondays in the fall. Limitations on the amount of live sports broadcasts will limit how many live games can air on theScore.
One thing I think Sportsnet really needs to capitalize on is the Footy Show’s popularity, even if it is gone. James Sharman, Kristian Jack, Brendan Dunlop, John Molinaro, and Thomas Dobby are all working for the same company again. The best time period for the podcast is when they were on it, in my opinion. Either a podcast or radio show would be great.
Late Starts… Anyone reading this live in St. Louis, Chicago or Minnesota? I hate the idea of 8:30pm local starts in the playoffs just for TV. The NBA does it regularly, but the NHL only started this year. I think one reason for this, aside from pleasing CBC and NBC, is to test the waters for next season when the divisional playoff format begins. One or two series in next year’s first round will feature two Central Time teams. That will create headaches for the NHL with three-quarters of all playoff games in the Eastern or Central time zones. Moving to an NBA-style schedule is one way to fix it. In other news, puckdrop of game 5 of the Kings-Blues series will be at 9pm Eastern, which means CBC will have to miss the first period since it conflicts with the Leafs-Bruins game. No word if cable/satellite providers will make this game available on an alternate channel yet.
Dowbiggin Gone… Toronto Sports Media is reporting that the Globe & Mail will not re-new Bruce Dowbiggin’s contract. I have heard the same thing. While Bruce could, at times, write a good piece on sports media, I thought his columns took a sharp dive when he began writing mostly about hockey and sports in general. Since Dowbiggin does love to include Tweets in his columns, here’s one to prove my point:
Honestly, what else is Gyrba on ice for? Not like he did this between great goals. Out to punish only, the kind of plug NHL can do without.—
bruce dowbiggin (@dowbboy) May 03, 2013
Now before I get into a rant defending Gryba (not on the hit, but in general), I just want to say he had a +28 rating in the minors this year. He was -3 logging 20 minutes a game for the Senators during the regular season. He blocked more than a shot a game, good enough for tenth among rookies. As this Ottawa Citizen article points out, you can’t judge Gryba (or many other defensemen) by their offensive output. Seems obvious, but isn’t to everyone I guess.
The Globe will have other writers write about sports media when needed. Media columnist Steve Ladurantaye already writes about sports media from time to time, while soccer columnist John Doyle has written about Fox Soccer Report and (the lack of) beIN Sport in Canada. While it is sad to see the last regular sports media in a mainstream paper, it wasn’t the same since Bill Houston retired and the Star axed Chris Zelkovich’s column anyway.
First off I’d like to say that as a sports fan what happened in Boston last week was really, truly terrifying. One of the great freedoms and escapes in life is playing sports and attending sports events. And what happened to the victims is horrible, especially considering how young they all were. Last Friday I was pre-occupied with other things in life, but I’ve never seen anything as surreal as Boston on that day. And I’m not sure that this is the right place to ask this question, but I’m going to anyway simply because its been bugging me for a few days now.
I’m far from a conspiracy theorist, but one thing has really bothered me about the night of the shootout last Thursday. As I was watching it live in the middle of the night, CNN showed a suspect being taken into custody. You can see that video here. You can also see a suspect, who appears to be the same person, laying on the ground surrendering in this video (around the 4:40 mark). The suspect in the videos looks a lot like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who according to police was DOA when he arrived at hospital after being shot during the shootout and runover by his brother’s vehicle. In fact CNN’s reporter on scene said (see 2nd video) “the main put in the car matches a general description of the suspect they are looking for.” And “he definitely looked more like suspect one (Tamerlan).” Of course it is possible it was a mistake of
Now, even if it’s not Tsarnaev I find it very interesting that neither police nor any US media (to my knowledge at least) have mentioned this suspect since that night. There was almost no mention of him last Friday, and certainly none since. Why has the media been so quiet on a potentially key person being stripped and put in a police car? Now, if it was Tsarnaev, then a more serious question arises. He was able to walk after the shootout and after his brother got away. So, how did he end up dead by the time he got to hospital?
I didn’t think much of it at first. I thought maybe it was the person whose car had been stolen by the brothers. After hearing his account this week, it becomes clear that he had escaped before they went to Watertown and was nowhere near the shootout. The media has spent every hour of the last week talking about this incident, but they’ve never mentioned this arrest, despite it being a major news story when it broke. Anyone else as baffled as I am?
And, for what its worth, I don’t want any comments on wild conspiracy theories of how the FBI coordinated the whole thing. I will delete those. Any banter on the video and subsequent lack of media coverage is more than welcome though.
UPDATE: This fantastic Boston Globe article seems to lend itself to the idea that Tsarnaev was the man who was stripped naked and handcuffed. Here is a quote from that story.
Linskey saw that Donohue was surrounded by other officers so he ran straight toward the severely wounded Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He saw that one of his cops, Jared Gero, was holding the suspect, who was handcuffed. Linskey and Gero ripped Tsarnaev’s clothes from his body, frisking him for an explosive device. They found none.
Still no mention of him walking, being put in the police car or being questioned.
This weekend is probably one of the busiest of the year in sports. There is plenty going on, so here is a quick rundown by sport.
Formula One… The first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, is early Sunday morning/late Saturday night at 1:55am ET/10:55pm Pacific. Formula One will race a 19-race calendar this season after the New Jersey race was postponed until 2014 and wasn’t replaced. Otherwise, the 2013 calendar is more of the same. In fact it’s the exact same aside from the dropping of the European Grand Prix in Valencia (the Spanish Grand Prix will now alternate between Valencia and Barcelona). Driver changes this year include Sergio Perez moving to McLaren replacing Lewis Hamilton, who is now at Mercedes. For more on TSN and NBC’s Formula One broadcast plans, see my article from earlier in the week.
World Women’s Curling… The 2013 event begins Saturday in Riga, Latvia. The field is stacked, perhaps even deeper than the Scotties field, I’d argue. Canada’s Rachel Homan opens against Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (Saturday 1pm ET, TSN). The top contenders for playoff sports include (World Curling Tour rankings): Homan (5th), Muirhead (6th), European Champions Anna Siderova of Russia (7th), Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson (9th), Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni (11th), Erika Brown of the US (21st), China’s Bingyu Wang (23rd) and Denmark’s Lene Nielsen (24th). That’s 8 of the 12 teams in the field ranked inside the top 25 in the world. The Scotties, by comparison, had half that number. The host Latvian team is in tough; their last appearance at the Worlds was 2010, where they went 1-10.
CIS Hockey… The CIS Men’s Hockey University Cup is in Saskatoon this weekend. Sportsnet will have live coverage of two round robin games on Saturday, as well as the final on Sunday. In the first game St. Mary’s [0-1] is in desperate need of a win against Waterloo [1-0] (Saturday 3:30pm ET, Sportsnet). The second semifinal pits UNB and UQTR in a game where the winner automatically goes to Sunday’s final (Saturday 10pm ET, Sportsnet). The final is Sunday at 7:30pm ET on Sportsnet ONE. Of note, in +/- rating, UNB has 8 of the top 9 players in Atlantic Canada. Impressive.
College Hoops… March Madness officially kicks-off next Thursday; however, its easy to argue the madness has already begun with conference championships this weekend. Just ask anyone who say Illinois beat Minnesota on a buzzer beater Thursday afternoon (a game called by Gus Johnson, no less). TSN is showing the final Big East Tournament final from MSG as (19) Syracuse takes on (4) Louisville Saturday night at 8:30pm ET. Also tomorrow (8) Michigan State plays (10) Ohio State in a Big Ten semifinal (4pm ET, CBS). The winner will possibly face (3) Indiana in the Big Ten final Sunday afternoon (3:30pm ET, CBS). Other conference finals include Conference-USA (Saturday 11:30am ET, CBS), the Mountain West (Saturday 6pm ET, CBS), Atlantic-10 (Sunday 1pm ET, CBS), ACC (Sunday 1pm ET, TV38), and SEC (Sunday 1pm ET, ABC). I’ll have more on CBS and TSN’s coverage of March Madness next week.
World Baseball Classic… Now that the U.S. is out, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will play each other for the third time in a week Saturday afternoon in a
pointless seeding game (1pm ET, SN1). Despite that the DR has already beat PR twice in a week, they will play again. The winner gets a day off and will play Holland Monday night. The loser has a quick turnaround and will play Japan Sunday night. Japan outscored their opponents 30-11 in three games in the second round. And any of their pitchers can pitch on regular rest.
James Cybulski has announced he is leaving TSN. Cybulski’s last day hosting TSN Radio’s drive show was Friday. Dave Naylor is replacing him on Monday. I expected Cybulski to return to televison for TSN following his stint at TSN Radio. However that will not happen with this news. Here is the message he posted on Twitter today.
Thanks for the kind notes the last week. I have decided to leave TSN to focus on family & for an incredible opportunity. Stay tuned. Cheers—
James Cybulski (@JamesCybulski) February 16, 2013
So, let the speculation begin on what this incredible oppertunity is. Toronto Sports Media has indicated Cybulski is returning to Vancouver, where he worked for the Team 1040 prior to joining TSN. I personally thought Cybulski was at his best as a reporter on speed skating during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but a return to a job of that type wouldn’t allow him to spend more time with family.
Lots of news in Canadian sports media today. I don’t have time to write about it, so here are the press releases anyway. I hope to write about CBC’s Olympic coverage and some of these bits of news sometime soon.
Sportsnet has revealed coverage for their Men’s Provincial Curling Championships as the Brier field is set today. Sportsnet had Alberta’s Boston Pizza Cup, Ontario’s The Dominion Tankard and Manitoba’s Safeway Championship. See what I wrote on Sportsnet’s coverage earlier this week here. The big news from Sportsnet today is that curling broadcast legend Ray Turnbull will return as an analyst for the Safeway Championship alongside Roger Millions. Turnbull retired from his job at TSN, where he had covered curling since 1986, in 2010. Sportsnet’s other commentators are Don Landry and Richard Hart in Alberta, and Rob Faulds and Mike Harris in Ontario. Here is the press release.
The James Cybulski project at TSN Radio is coming to an end. TSN wanted Cybulski’s show to win viewers away from Primetime Sports on The Fan 590. It obviously didn’t work as well as TSN hoped because Dave Naylor will replace him beginning February 18. TSN2 will also simulcast Naylor’s show and Mike Richards’ morning show that week. I still think shows that compete with those on The Fan are probably better. I’ll give Naylor’s show a shot though. He knows his sports. Here is TSN’s press release.
As a Moncton Wildcats fan, I’m extremely happy with Sportsnet’s announcement of upcoming CHL Friday Night Hockey games. The Wildcats are featured tonight (vs. Halifax) and on March 1 (@ Rimouski). The Sarnia Sting are also featured twice. Here is Sportsnet’s press release.
Jack Morris is joining The Fan 590 and Sportsnet as a Blue Jays analyst. He will primarly work on the radio, but will appear on TV as well. He is replacing Alan Ashby. Sportsnet also released their Jays spring training schedule, with six games on TV. That might be the most ever. And the coverage starts in just two weeks with a Saturday afternoon game on February 23.
Here is the press release on a very interesting documentary coming to TSN as part of Bell Let’s Talk week.
A few things of relevance to Canadian Sports Media this afternoon.
FA Cup... The 132nd FA Cup continues this weekend with the third round proper, the stage where Premier League clubs enter. It was one of the oldest and most prestigious sports competitions in the world. Tomorrow’s West Ham United v. Manchester United match at Boleyn Ground in London will make history in North America. It is the first ever FA Cup match broadcast on over-the-air American television as Fox will air it. It is also the first match in ages (ever?) available on basic cable in Canada. Fox will also show the final from Wembley in May. Sportsnet World continues to exclusively broadcast the tournament in Canada, aside from the two matches on Fox. Those looking for big upsets may want to look to Football League Two side Cheltenham Town play Everton (Monday 3pm ET, Sportsnet World).
World Juniors and BCS… The World Junior Hockey Championships and college football’s major bowl games are two of the most exciting pre-pro (if such a word exists) sports events in the world. And they also get some of the best ratings. TSN surely isn’t too happy about Canada missing the final of the World Juniors for a second straight year. Now they’ll play in the bronze medal game at 4am ET Saturday morning. I can’t imagine too many people will wake up early to watch a 3rd place game, even with Canada. Sweden plays the USA in the final (Saturday 8am ET, TSN). I think the final is worth watching even without Canada. Meanwhile Notre Dame plays Alabama in what is probably the most anticipated BCS Championship on Monday night (8pm, TSN). According to the polls, they are the two most successful programs in college football history.
Cherry and the Juniors… With the lack of a platform on Saturday nights to spread his opinion, Don Cherry has taken to Twitter. In a nine-Tweet rant Cherry blamed the lack of success for Canada at the World Juniors on the CHL allowing players whose parents don’t pay taxes in Canada to play in it’s league. Your guess is as good as mine as to how paying taxes in Canada and playing in a league that doesn’t receive money from the federal government correlate. Of course Cherry made a living in the American Hockey League, despite being a Canadian whose father never paid taxes to the US government. Then again, by now I don’t except Cherry rants to make much sense.
NFL playoffs… CTV will broadcast all four NFL playoff games this weekend. They are: Cincinnati @ Houston (Saturday 4:30pm, commentators: Dan Hicks & Mike Mayock), Minnesota @ Green Bay (Saturday 8pm, commentators: Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth), Indianapolis @ Baltimore (Sunday 1pm, commentators: Jim Nantz & Phil Simms), and Seattle @ Washington (Sunday 4:30pm, commentators: Joe Buck & Troy Aikman). In my opinion the most interesting matchup is Seattle @ Washington. Both teams average over 160 yards rushing, while their defenses average around 100 rushing yards again. Which one will give?
Toronto Rock… Lacrosse returns to Canadian television this weekend as TSN enters another season of broadcasting Toronto Rock games. Dave Randorf and Brian Shanahan will provide commentary. TSN will show three games, with seven more on TSN2. First up is an all-Canadian match on January 12 as the Rock play the Roughnecks in Calgary (9pm ET, TSN2).
Gretzky on Citytv… And no, it’s not Wayne. Not even sure why I’m mentioning that, but an interview with Paulina Gretzky will air on Tuesday night at 7:00pm on Citytv. She’ll talk about the supposed Twitter scandal from last year, for those who really have nothing better to do. By the way, also of note, Citytv is dropping the “tv” and is now simply “City”.
As many of you know aside from sports, music is one of my other great passions. I love year-end music lists because they give me a chance to hear songs I missed, or forgot about, from the year. So for anyone who is interested, here is my list. Overall I’d say it was a great year for music. The closing ceremony of the London Olympics and the 12/12/12 Concert stand out. At the Olympics there was Beady Eye, the biggest stage Liam had since at least the 2007 BRITs (and probably since 1996 in all honesty). And then there was my other favourite band, 2/3s (plus touring guitarist Pat Smear) of Nirvana, reforming to play with Paul McCartney at the 12/12/12 Concert. I would have never guessed either would happen a year ago. So, what will happen in the year to come in music? And The Who, in my opinion, stole the show at both events.
Anyway, here are some songs that stood out to me in 2012. Many music lists take either all the songs from the top of the charts, or go with bands many have never heard of. I’ve tried to go somewhere in between. I’ve only songs that were released as singles in 2012 or were on an album in 2012.
Joel Plaskett – You’re Mine
Joel was one of the five or so memorable bands I saw live in 2012. His new album Scrappy Happiness is pretty good overall, and he if was better known I’d probably choose a song other than the lead single. Regardless, “You’re Mine” is a pretty decent song. “Harbour Boys” and “North Star” are also really good, for those interested.
The Tragically Hip – At Transformation
This song actually debuted on Hockey Night in Canada, remember when that show was on TV? Seems like forever ago, but it was in 2012 believe it or not. Best Hip song since the 90s for me. Here is the HNIC video for those who miss hockey.
Soundgarden – Live to Rise
Soundgarden released their first studio album since 1996 this year. Since reuniting in 2010 they’ve failed to release a poor single. While the debut single off King Animal was good, it was bested by their contribution to The Avengers Soundtrack, “Live to Rise.” With the Foo Fighters announcing a hiatus, I think Soundgarden may have become the best rock band in the world (I know, its quite subjective) in 2012.
Grace Potter – Stars
Apparently it was made “famous” by somebody on The Voice. Kind of a sad statement on popular music. For those who don’t watch that show and haven’t heard of it, its certainly worth a listen. The solo piano version does the song the most justice.
Neil Young - Psychedelic Pill
The title track off Neil Young’s second album in 2012 might just be my second favourite song by him. Ever. Crazy Horse deserve a lot of credit in this one though because the guitar and drums are top notch. The album had 9 tracks, on 2 CDs, spanning over 2 hours. Classic Neil Young in every way. It was a top 10 album in Rolling Stone’s list for 2012, so take a listen to it if you have the chance.
The Trews – Lord Keep Me in Mind
I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this band. Saw them live twice in 2012. Possibly the two best concerts I saw. Their latest effort is an EP which they are promoting by doing an acoustic across Canada tour. Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson features on a few of the songs. One of those, “Lord Keep Me in Mind”, is one of the better songs on the six song EP.
Rolling Stones – Doom and Gloom
Who knew the Stones could still write such as kickass song? Not me for sure. I was amazed the first time I heard this. Maybe not the best lyrics ever, but still a great surprise. Probably my favourite Rolling Stones song of the past thirty years.
The Sheepdogs – Feelin’ Good
The Sheepdogs are probably the best rock band in Canada. It seems like they haven’t stopped since releasing their debut single “I Don’t Know” in 2011. This song finishes the year in fourth on the Canadian rock charts, poised to move up to the top spot sometime in 2013.
The Black Keys – Little Black Submarines
This falls under one of those where I didn’t go with the highest charting song. I honestly was never the biggest Black Keys fan until I heard their two singles this year (this one and “Gold on the Ceiling”). As good as “Gold on the Ceiling” was, “Little Black Submarines” is hauntingly good. In fact it was good enough to finish top 20 on Rolling Stone’s list last year before it was even a single. “Gold on the Ceiling” made it to number one on the Canadian rock chart (if you haven’t heard it, listen to it), while this was only hit number 2 (none other than The Rolling Stones kept it from the top spot).
Arctic Monkeys – R U Mine?
For a band that didn’t release an album in 2012 the Monkeys sure had a great year. “R U Mine” is probably the best song by them since the Favourite Worst Nightmare days, and it shows. Released exclusively as a single for Record Store Day, it was their highest charting song since “Crying Lightning” in 2009. And to top it off they performed at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, where they covered “Come Together”. It was also released as a single and charted even higher than “R U Mine”.
Nirvana feat. Paul McCartney – Cut Me Some Slack
Despite only being released three weeks ago this song finishes at number two for three reasons. First, I never thought I’d see Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic do anything big together again. Second, its the best song Paul McCartney’s done since Helter Skelter in 1976. And third, McCartney’s cigarbox guitar he plays in it is the coolest thing in music this year. I never thought anything would top McCartney’s collaboration with Paul Weller and Noel Gallagher to do “Come Toghether” some twenty years ago. This tops it.
Blur – Under the Westway
This is another one that was released exclusively as a single. This is Blur’s first charting single since 2003 and the first with guitarist Graham Coxon since 2000. Easily their best song since 13‘s “Tender” in my opinion. Albarn and Coxon’s harmonies made that song great and they make this one great too. While many of Britain’s top acts were playing at the Olympics Closing Ceremony, Blur played an entire set at Hyde Park. It was released as Parklive and is probably one of the better albums from 2012.
And for those wondering, I’ve got more sports posts coming beginning with a couple today. Just thought I’d throw this in there for the readers of this site who love music.
I know that the sports broadcasting world lives in its own little bubble that is usually exempt from tragedy, but when tragedy does burst that bubble, it can show just how inept it is at reporting real news. This isn’t to say any reporters are inept really, just that the system is. The prevailing thought was “oh my God, an NFL player killed himself at an NFL stadium in front of his coaches. That’s horrible.” Horrible as that is, especially for the coaches and team personal, it is nowhere near as horrible as him shooting his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins as many as nine times in front of his 3-month old daughter and his mother. But that was just a side story. An afterword. An “oh, and by the way, he had also killed his girlfriend” that came after the “important news” on the ticker.
Now don’t get me wrong. Suicide is horrible. It’s a problem. I am as sympathetic with those who took their own lives, and their families, as anyone. I went through that. It’s painful. However, the main story shouldn’t focus on the dead football player. Instead of reading “Belcher took his own life after killing girlfriend”, the headlines should have read “Belcher kills girlfriend, then takes his own life.”
Not to mention that this relates to larger social issues in the NFL such as gun violence and domestic violence. I mean, is anybody truly surprised? Anyone remember Chris Henry just three years ago? He was on the back of a pickup truck driven by his girlfriend, who he had fought with, when he fell off and died due to head trauma. Or the story TMZ broke this summer on Chad Johnson? I could name of countless others. And then there’s the ones who nobody knows about, the women (or men; it can go both ways), who are in the worst situation.
Bob Costas took it a step further last night on Sunday Night Football when he said the United States need to reform gun laws. I won’t go too far into it, aside from saying I prefer Canada’s gun policy to America’s. I’m honestly not sure it was the right place to do so, but at least he had something constructive to say that could help. But are guns really the problem? If there wasn’t a gun would have there been a knife? It’s kind of passing off the issue, in this particular situation, that the NFL needs to deal with. Not the government. Of course there are many other cases like this that have no relation to the NFL. However, far too many do for a career that (supposedly) makes its employees very well off. At least Costas did something far too few do; he stood by his words the next day.
Of course the problem isn’t only where the main focus of this story is, but it is also where the secondary story is. Concussions and mental illness in football. Did Belcher have mental issues? Were those caused by playing football? Maybe, we don’t really know. Many seem to want to compare this to other suicides (which is another major problem for the NFL, by the way) when we really have no idea if there are any common factors. And of course all those other connections did have one major difference; none of those players killed someone else first.
The NFL has big social problems. Domestic violence, Driving Under the Influence (which has also resulted in the deaths of innocents in recent years), gun crimes, suicide. Not a year goes by that these issues don’t come up multiple times. They seem like much larger issues in the NFL than in other professional sports. You just don’t see this happening in hockey, soccer or baseball (I honestly don’t follow basketball close enough to know its situation) in North America and western Europe. It’s time for the NFL to step up and do something.
And then there is the women who in a matter of a few hours saw her son shoot her daughter-in-law (who she said she treated like her own daughter) nine times in front of her granddaughter, only to hear that he had killed himself after. And there’s the kid who is without parents (but apparently a good grandmother, at least). It seems that the editorials have finally turned to Perkins and her daughter today, but there is no way it should have taken two whole days for this to happen.
For more on this, take the time to listen to the first segment of Primetime Sports from this afternoon. Bob McCown, Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro had what was probably the most intelligent discussion on this all weekend. You can listen to the 4pm hour from today (December 3) here. Also read this article on ESPNW which goes a bit deeper into some of the issues I have raised.
One last thought that I don’t think anyone has raised. How does someone even get into an NFL stadium with a gun? Belcher didn’t hurt anyone else, but what if he had? What if team staff, stadium staff, reporters and his teammates were in danger? It didn’t happen, but it could have. And it could again. Talk about a problem the NFL needs to fix.
A day after the major announcement of the English Premier League rights in the US changing hands from Fox/ESPN to NBC Sports Network, today we learn that the Canadian rights will be staying the same — in a way — for the next three years as Sportsnet and TSN sign an extension through to the 2015-16 season.
The major change sees TSN/RDS gaining three times as many games beginning next year, 190 each season, up from the current number of 50. Sportsnet will broadcast the other 190 matches of the season. The games that Sportsnet loses are presumably the mid-morning games that are either broadcast on delay, or available on Sportsnet World Plus to Rogers cable customers.
I think we can all sigh in relief that BeIn Sports didn’t get their hands on any of the games. It will be interesting to see how TSN handles having more games each week with only two channels available. For those that have it though, it will be a shame Sportsnet World Plus will be losing games after being introduced earlier this year.
The press releases can be read below.
After months of preperation and research, Canada’s dominant national newspaper The Globe and Mail introduced a new paywall for articles on its website. The Globe isn’t the first major publication to do this, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal also have online paywalls. As do some regional canadian publications, like the Vancouver Province and Ottawa Citizen.
The Globe will charge readers $2o a month for unlimited access to articles. Those who subscribe to the 6-day print version of the paper will have free online access included. Weekend subscribers will pay $5 a month, on top of their regular subscription price. Everyone else is limited to ten articles a month. This is similar to the Postmedia papers I mentioned, who allow readers 15 free articles a month. Any links accessed through social media will not count towards the monthly quota.
The Globe has always been my primary source for both news and sports. I gained an interest in sports media reading (the now-retired) Bill Houston’s columns. Stephen Brunt was a long-time employee. Now working for Sportsnet, he gets my vote as Canada’s premier sports writer. Michael Grange is also a former Globe writer now working at Sportsnet. Many of the best in The Globe‘s sports section have now moved on. Eric Duhatschek, Jeff Blair (who isn’t even Canada’s best baseball writer), Roy MacGregor and David Shoalts are still there, but otherwise the sports section is a shadow of its former self.
However, the paper does still excel in other ares. John Doyle is one of the few TV critics in Canada who will write about soccer coverage. When news broke that Fox Soccer Report was ending, he reported on it in a major publication. He did the same when it became apparent that Canadians wouldn’t get La Liga or Serie A coverage on TV this fall. Steve Ladurantaye, one of The Globe‘s other media columnists is also a worthy read. John Ibbitson is still one of the most trusted columnists in Canadian politics.
All of that said, is it really worth $20 when you can find much of The Globe‘s information elsewhere? As I said, Brunt and Grange now write for Sportsnet. They were two of the reasons I used to visit GlobeSports.com daily. Thier columns are available for free on Sportsnet.ca. TSN.ca, CBCSports.ca and ESPN.com (among many others) also offer great sports articles, including those from the AP and CP wires, for free. And with a growing number of respected columnists, such as Elliotte Friedman on CBC.
And then there is the National Post, which is quickly gaining respect from me. Through Twitter I’ve discovered Bruce Arthur (sports) and Andrew Coyne (politics) are two of my favourite writers. John Ivison, a Scot who is also on CTV’s Question Period, provides a unique view on Canadian politics considering he only moved here 15 years ago. Sure, the National Post has had its fair share of controversial columnists over its short history, but its free (for now) and its got some great writers.
I know The Globe has to find a way to make money in a new era where most news is consumed online, especially in the valuable 18-54 demographic. However, $20 is a bit steep in my opinion. I don’t plan to pay it, and I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem replacing The Globe with the three Post columnists I mentioned, plus Sportsnet.ca and CBCSports.ca. It is also worth noting that the National Post will also introduce a paywall in January.
NHL Lockout… I don’t have much to say about the NHL’s announcement to cancel games through the end of November, except I hope it comes back December 1 and this man is still alive to see it. A great story that puts it all in perspective.
beIN Coming Soon?… Sportcal, a sports media publication based in Great Britain, has revealed that beIN Sport are “Eyeing tie-up with Canada’s TLN”. A full article is available, albeit it behind a paywall so I don’t have a clue what it says. Rumour is beIN want a minority stake (15-20%) in TLN networks in exchange for TLN’s properties (which include Euroworld Sport and Spanish language TLN Espanol) broadcasting Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, the Carling Cup and England’s Championship in Canada. In such an event, Euroworld Sport would likely become beIN Sport Canada. As I’ve said recently, it seems a deal is getting closer.
Premier League 2013-16… The big news in America is that ESPN and FOX are out as Premiership broadcasters following this season. While it is confirmed that they did not win the bid to broadcast EPL matches, it is not known who did. Rumour is that NBCUniversal was the high bidder, which gives them another major international sports event at Fox’s expense. NBC also picked up Formula 1, which currently airs on FOX, earlier this month. beIN Sport is the other possible winner. An official announcement is expected next week.
This means that Ian Darke is out of a full-time job. Darke was once Sky Sports’ #2 before leaving for the top position at ESPN in America. He joins Jon Champion, his UK counterpart who calls games for ESPN over there, as those on the market. One of the two is expected to join new the new British start-up BT, who will broadcast Premiership games in the UK beginning next fall. This would be a prime position for Darke as it would likely allow him to continue working with ESPN US for the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
It is unclear whether NBC will hire its own Premiership commentators, of if they will just use the Premier League Production international feed (where Champion and Darke both work part-time, by the way).
What About Canada?… The Canadian tender was also due last week. Rogers is expected to be the leading bidder, with the Premier League a vital part of the channel since its launch in 1998. EPL is also the backbone of Rogers’ premium channel Sportsnet World. TSN could potentially bid with Rogers, or go at it alone. beIN is the unknown and when the rights are decided may depend on when/if the beIN/TLN deal gets done and approved by the CRTC.
Sportsnet On-Site… I am a bit surprised that Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell and Gregg Zaun are hosting Sportsnet’s World Series pre-game show from the stadium. In recent years the trend has gone the other way, with networks keeping studio shows in Toronto to offset rising costs. Having a pre-game at the stadium for big events adds to the atmosphere. I know many have switched over to Fox for the World Series, but Sportsnet’s pre-game show for game 1 was worth it for Stephen Brunt’s essay alone.
Through the Knotholes… During game 1 of the World Series, MLB International commentator Gary Thorne noted that the Giants allow fans to view the game through the fence below right field for free (known as knotholes, historically). Thorne and colour commentator Sutcliffe talked about how nice it was for something to be free in the age of rising costs for those attending baseball games. Thorne mentioned hot dogs, pop and beer add to gameday expenses for fans. Sutcliffe subtlely blamed it on Alex Rodriquez’s $27.5 million a year contract.
Dazed and Confused… The CBC threatened to sue CTV over confusing viewers when they introduced the “Big Bang Night in Canada” name. For its part, CTV responded with this sarcastic press release. If you think its bad now, wait until they are both bidding for NHL rights in a year.
Saturday Night AHL… CTV can call a collection of four Big Bang episodes whatever they want, but Sportsnet has the closest thing to Hockey Night in Canada with its AHL broadcasts. With the NHL cancelling games through December 1, Sportsnet has announced its AHL broadcasts for November. They are: Rochester @ Hamilton on November 3, Oklahoma City @ Abbotsford on November 10, Hamilton @ Toronto on November 17, and Milwaukee @ Chicago on November 24. Sportsnet’s Maple Leafs, Oilers and Flames broadcast crews will each get one of the next three games.
Figure Skating: With no NHL on TV tonight, CTV’s coverage of Skate Canada might take away the top Saturday sports rating. Patrick Chan headlines coverage of the men’s free skate at 7:00pm tonight. Brian Williams is back to host CTV’s coverage.
NCAA FB: Oklahoma and Notre Dame are two of the most popular programs in college football. They go into tonight’s game in Norman (8pm, ABC) both ranked in the top 8 in the BCS. The Irish, who are still undefeated, are 5th. Oklahoma have only lost to Kansas State and are 8th. The Sooners are one of two tough road tests remaining for Notre Dame. The other is USC in a month’s time.
MLB: The World Series could well be decided this weekend as San Francisco takes a 2-0 lead to Detroit. Games 3, 4 and 5 are on Saturday, Sunday and Monday night (all 8pm, Sportsnet). The best pitching match-up features Matt Cain against Max Scherzer on Sunday night. Ryan Vogelsong faces Anibal Sanchez tonight.
EPL: Two of the oldest and biggest rivals in English football meet on Sunday morning as Liverpool make the one mile treck from Anfield to face Everton at Goodison Park (9:30am, TSN2). Liverpool are off to a slow start this season with just two wins in their first eight matches. They sit 11th in the table. Everton are off to a great start as they’re fourth, only behind powerhouses Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City. Speaking of Man United and Chelsea, they square off immediately following the Everton v Liverpool match (12pm, Sportsnet World). The winner goes to first place in league.
NFL: Two NFL games stand apart from the rest this weekend. On Sunday the 5-2 Giants travel to Dallas to face the 3-3 Cowboys in a rare nationally televised afternoon game (4:25pm, FOX). The Cowboys beat the Giants at the Meadowlands on opening night. Since then the teams have moved in opposite directions. The Monday night game features top two teams in the NFC West as the 4-3 Cardinals host the 5-2 49ers (8:30pm, TSN).
I don’t know if I will get a chance to post anything else this week, so here is a list of NFL games on this weekend, at the least. Lots of good games on this weekend.
Thursday October 18
8:30pm, Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers – SN1, RDS2
Sunday October 21
1:00pm, Baltimore Ravens @ Houston Texans - CTV Ottawa, N. Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, BC; RDS
1:00pm, Washington Redskins @ New York Giants – CTV Atlantic, Montreal
1:00pm, Arizona Cardinals @ Minnesota Vikings - CTV Winnipeg
1:00pm, Tennessee Titans @ Buffalo Bills – CTV Toronto, Kitchener
1:00pm, Green Bay Packers @ St. Louis Rams – TSN2
4:25pm, New York Jets @ New England Patriots – Citytv; SN East; RDS
4:25pm, Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders – SN Ontario, West, Pacific
8:30pm, Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – TSN, RDS2
Monday October 22
8:30pm, Detroit Lions @ Chicago Bears – TSN, RDS2
I figured I’d throw this up for everyone as there has been a lack of information available publicly on which FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches will air in Canada on Friday afternoon. Sportsnet has refrained from finalizing their schedule due to the possibility of a late afternoon baseball playoff game. So, here is what we know. I’ll update this post when more information comes in.
11:30am – Finland v. Belarus (Group I; from Olympiastadion in Helsinki)
2:30pm – Netherlands v. Andorra (Group D; from De Kuip in Rotterdam)
11:00am – Russia v. Portugal (Group F; from Luzhinki Stadium in Moscow)
1:00pm – Armenia v. Italy (Group B; from Hrazdan Stadium in Yerevan)
3:00pm – England v. San Marino (Group H; from Wembley in London)
7:45pm – Canada v. Cuba (CONCACAF; from BMO Field in Toronto)
12:00pm – Czech Republic v. Malta (Group B; from Plzen)
2:00pm – Belarus v. Spain (Group I; from Dynama Stadium in Minsk)
12:00pm – Faroe Islands v. Sweden (Group C; from Torshavn)
2:30pm – Ireland v. Germany (Group C; from The Aviva in Dublin)
Chances are both professional hockey players and the NHL’s 30 owners will come out of the lockout just fine. As the argument goes, it’s a battle of millionaires against billionaires. Sure neither is making money now, but both will be (if a fair, sensible CBA is agreed upon), sometime within the next year. Looking past the players and owners, and even the fans who will have to find something else to do on cold evenings during Canadian winter, there are many who are truly hurt by this lockout. Those who work at NHL offices (which are affected by cuts already), undoubtably the teams themselves will make cuts too, those who work at the arenas that are now empty for weeks at a time in some cases. And I’m sure there are countless others.
But, considering the focus of this blog, it seems only right to focus on the members of the media. TSN and Sportsnet will have no problem keeping their hockey personalities busy between retro games with new studio shows (on TSN), AHL/CHL games (on Sportsnet) and countless segments on every second of Donald Fehr’s life on the highlight and talk shows. There’s little doubt that these jobs are in jeopardy. However, the freelancers who work behind the scenes are left scrambling. Sure some will find work on those AHL and CHL games (and other events too), but some won’t.
And then there’s the CBC. The public broadcaster relies on NHL hockey, which is consistently its top-rated weekly program, to generate revenue to help finance other CBC programs. The government recently cut funding to CBC, including CBC Sports. Now not only does CBC have to find replacement programming for four hours a week (taking out three hours for a classic game), but they also have to find other streams of revenue in the face of cuts and a loss of expected revenue from hockey.
Last time Gary Bettman announced the NHL would lose a full season, news soon followed that Chris Cuthbert had been cut by the CBC. Even though he expected to become Hockey Night in Canada‘s primary play-by-play commentator, CBC couldn’t commit to paying his salary with taxpayer dollars (among other things, I should point out) when there were no hockey games for him to call. I’m not saying that CBC will cut Jim Hughson, Mark Lee, or anyone else this time, but they ware in a better economic position eight years ago. If they had to cut HNIC spending then, it would be reasonable to assume they might now too.
CBC will need to find work for high-profile Hockey Night personalities during the lockout. Sports Weekend returns from its summer hiatus in two weeks. Sports featured this winter include figure skating, alpine skiing, speed skating, bobsleigh and curling. Mark Lee has experience calling figure skating. I’d recommend using Scott Oake on ski racing, where excelled during CBC’s 2002 and 2006 Olympic coverage. Of course using HNIC personalities on Sports Weekend could prevent CBC’a amateur sports regulars, like Brenda Irving and Steve Armitage, from getting assignments.
Ron MacLean will host CBC’s classic broadcasts on Saturday nights, a similar role to his hosting of Movie Night in Canada in 2004.
Quebec vs. Montreal… It’s a rivalry that hasn’t happened in the NHL in over 15 years. NHLPA players have organized a series of charity games between teams featuring NHL players from Quebec City and Montreal. The players will compete for their city. With the Canadiens opening game for Thursday cancelled, RDS has elected to show one of these games instead. It will air on RDS INFO, while RDS has baseball and RDS2 has NFL.
Sportsnet not showing A’s-Tigers… No doubt viewers across Canada were as confused as I was when a classic 1979 MLB game (clearly from MLB Network) showed up on TV screens nationwide Sunday afternoon. Sportsnet missed he first inning of the Athletics @ Tigers game before restoring the correct MLB Network feed. Word from Sportsnet is MLB Network initially set them the wrong feed. They then had to get in contact with MLB Network to get the other feed (that the game was on) approved.
Jamie Campbell initially laid the blame on MLB Network. Turns out that was a bit rash, but he was probably as confused as the viewers, to be fair.
Costas on MLB Network... Bob Costas will return to calling postseason baseball for the first time since the 2000 ALCS. Costas will call the Cardinals @ Nationals game with Jim Kaat tomorrow afternoon for MLB Network (1:00pm, Sportsnet). Costas has called regular season baseball on MLB Network for the past couple seasons; however, these games are usually not available on Canadian television.
Other baseball playoff games tomorrow are Giants @ Reds (4:00pm, Sportsnet; if necessary), Orioles @ Yankees (7:30pm, Sportsnet) and Tigers @ Athletics (9:30pm, SN1; if necessary). If the Reds and Tigers win tonight, the Orioles @ Yankees game will move to 8:30pm.
9.79*… ESPN’s 30 for 30 is back for a second season (or third, depending on how you count). The first of the new docs to air in Canada is “9.79*”, the story of Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis and the men’s 100m final at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Most are familiar with the story. Johnson, a Canadian, won the race. He was later banned because he tested positive for steroids. As a result Lewis, who is arguably the best Olympian ever, moved up from silver to gold.
The film recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. You can see the TIFF trailer here. It will air Thursday night at 8:30pm ET on TSN. The second season of 30 for 30 will continue on Thursdays over much of October, November and December.
Shaw Direct simsubs… I tend not to complain about simsubs. They support the Canadian broadcast industry. However, sometimes things go too far and consumers have the right to know more. Shaw Direct recently began carrying Citytv HD Toronto. That’s all fine; however, shows on that channel are now simsubbed over the American channels everywhere in Canada. Even here in Atlantic Canada, where the closest Citytv affiliate is in Toronto, we have to watch Citytv.
I never received any simsubs on Shaw Direct until they bought Global, at which point they started simsubbing Global HD nationwide. Personally, I didn’t really have a problem with this. At least when Shaw bought Global they also added Global Saint John to the Shaw Direct line-up and launched a New Brunswick specific newscast (the only one by a private broadcaster). It was easily visible how this simsubbing revenue was having a positive impact on local television here in New Brunswick. I’m not so okay with having to watch Citytv when Rogers has no local programming (let alone a channel) in the Maritimes and for that matter, they don’t have very much original programming whatsoever.
NCAA FB games… Usually when there is a major college football game on an American cable channel, Canadian fans get the shaft as it rarely airs here. That’s not the case this Saturday when #3 South Carolina travel to Death Valley to face #9 LSU on ESPN (airs at 8pm ET on TSN2 in Canada). Fans have two selections at 12:00pm as #6 Kansas States faces Iowa State on SN1 and Iowa travels to Michigan State on TSN2.
Check back later in the week for CFL weekend ratings (as well as baseball playoffs, maybe), this weekend’s NFL games on Canadian TV, some Engraved on a Nation news, and an update on the World Cup Qualifying games that will air this weekend.
- MLB: There is potential quadruple header postseason baseball both Wednesday and Thursday (as of writing this the Giants and Reds are tied 1-1 in the 9th). Games are tentatively scheduled for 1:00, 4:00, 7:30 and 9:30 both nights. All on Sportsnet or Sportsnet One. Get watching!
- FIFA WC Qualifying: As an Ireland supported, I can’t even begin to express my excitement that Irish home matches aren’t on PPV now. Ireland’s new World Cup qualifying home campaign begins Friday against Germany at the Aviva (2:30pm, GolTV). Among other key games, next Tuesday (October 16) Canada will travel to Honduras to play our final game in the current stage of CONCACAF qualifying (4:00pm, Sportsnet). The Canadian team will likely need at least a point to advance to the next round.
- College Football: There are plenty of big college football games this weekend, including four that pit two top-25 teams against each other. My best bets are #13 Oklahoma vs. #15 Texas at the Cotton Bowl (12:00pm, ABC), #17 Stanford @ #7 Notre Dame (3:30pm, NBC), and #3 South Carolina @ #9 LSU (8:00pm, TSN2).
- Alouettes-Argonauts: Who would have thought that Toronto would could overtake Montreal in the standings on a Sunday afternoon in October (1:00pm, TSN). Well, they do. A slightly mediocre (by their standards) Alouettes season and a surprisingly good campaign for the Argos have led to this.
- NFL: There are only two games this week that match-up two teams with winning records, and they both air in the late timeslot Sunday afternoon. The Patriots and Seahawks are both 3-2 heading into their game at Qwest Field (4:05pm, CBS). Viewers who receive CBS from Seattle, Boston or Detroit will get this game. The 3-2 Giants also travel to the Bay Area to face the 4-1 49ers (4:25pm, FOX). This game will air on pretty much every FOX station available in Canada, except FOX Seattle.
A few quick points I’d like to share heading into the long weekend. Hope everyone enjoys the turkey.
Old is new… CBC is following TSN in showing classic hockey games to replace live NHL matches. The broadcasts will begin the first Saturday of (what was supposed to be) the regular season, October 13. Fans can vote online for their choice of 5 available games. The options for the first week are: Boston vs. Montreal (1979 too many men, hey gotta include Don Cherry in here), Montreal vs. Ottawa (1992, the Sens first game), Toronto vs. Detroit (1993 playoffs game 7), NY Rangers vs. New Jersey (1994 playoffs), and Toronto vs. Pittsburgh (2000, Mario’s first game back). Games will air at 8:00pm local.
Live Hockey on Saturdays… Sportsnet has the best solution yet to the lack of NHL hockey this fall, show the next best thing: the AHL. There are 4 American League teams based in Canada, and 3 more based in the US who are affiliates to Canadian NHL teams. Oklahoma City (Edmonton’s affiliate) has, in particular, loaded up on young talent from their NHL parent.
Sportsnet will show games on Saturday night, with the first on October 13 when the Toronto Marlies host the Rochester Americans at 5:00pm ET on Sportsnet One. Joe Bowen and Greg Millen will call the game, with Paul Hendrick rinkside. Jeff Marek, Brad May and John Shannon will host Sportsnet’s broadcasts.
On October 20 Sportsnet One will have a doubleheader. First the Hamilton Bulldogs play the Marlies in Toronto (same commentators as the previous Saturday) at 7:00pm ET. That game is followed by Chicago @ Abbotsford. Sportsnet will use a mix of their Flames and Canucks broadcast crews with Rob Kerr and Charlie Simmer in the booth and John Garrett rinkside. Roger Millions will host the broadcast.
Good to know that those HD production trucks TSN and Sportsnet share will be put to use this winter.
Baseball Playoffs… The MLB playoffs begin on Friday with the new wildcard games. The Cardinals play the Braves at 5:00pm ET (commentators: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling and Joe Simpson) and then the Rangers host the Orioles at 8:30pm ET (commentators: Ernie Johnson, John Smoltz and Cal Ripken).
The Divisional Series open on Saturday with the Athletics playing the Tigers at 6:00pm (commentators: Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez) followed by Reds @ Giants at 9:30pm (commentators: Anderson, Darling and Simpson).
Jamie Campbell will host Sportsnet’s baseball playoff coverage with analysts Gregg Zaun and Pat Tabler.
Ryder Cup Ratings… An average of 471, 000 viewers watched the final day of the Ryder Cup on TSN as Europe came back to shock the Americans. It was the second highest rated Ryder Cup ever in Canada, according to the Globe and Mail. It rounds off what was an up year for golf in Canada. In April an average of 1.8 million watched the final round of The Masters.