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I hope everyone had a good year. As you have probably noticed, I do not have as much time for this site as I once did. As a result I have scaled back to only writing when major news breaks or when I have something important to say. I hope to continue this in 2014, especially in the first couple months with regards to CBC’s Olympics coverage. Thanks to everyone who has continued to visit this year despite the less frequent posts.
Every year during the Christmas holidays I like to catch up on any music from the past year that I may have missed. I’m certainly not alone in posting a list of my favourite music from the year, but I hope you’ll enjoy listening to some of these as the year comes to an end. For the most part these songs are considered rock or alternative. Some are familiar radio hits, while others are album tracks. I’ve come up with the list based mostly on my own opinion, but using the charts a bit as well.
13. “Slumville Sunrise” – Jake Bugg (Shangri La)
Bugg has traded in the sweet sounds of his acoustic guitar for a more electric sound on his sophomore release. His vocals really shine, especially on this song. It is the album’s second single and is currently climbing the British charts.
12. “Varsity” – Smith Westerns (Soft Will)
Their last release in 2011, Dye it Blonde, was one of my favourite albums of 2011. While Soft Will didn’t really live up the expectations I had, mostly because it lacked standout a song like “Weekend”, the lead singe “Varsity” is still worthy of inclusion as one of the best songs of the year.
11. “Voices” – Alice in Chains (The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here)
Alice in Chains are still alive and kicking. While their new album wasn’t the same quality as their last, single “Voices” came close. There still isn’t any band out there that does harmonies as well as them, even without Layne Staley.
10. “Flick of the Finger” – Beady Eye (BE)
Beady Eye had a rougher year than most bands. Just as they were picking up momentum with their sophomore release Liam Gallagher’s marriage fell apart after it was reported an affair of his resulted in a baby. Then guitarist Gem Archer fractured his skull. “Flick of the Finger” was a welcome change of direction for the band, with the horns really adding to the song.
9. “KV Crimes” – Kurt Vile (Wakin on a Pretty Daze)
This is one of those songs that I heard for the first time in the past week. And now I just can’t stop listening to it. While the song wasn’t released as a single, his album cracked the top 50 in both the US and Britain.
8. “Team” – Lorde (Pure Heroin)
Lorde was a much-needed breathe of fresh air for pop music this year. If grunge music was a revolt against the overproduced pop music of the 1980s, then maybe Lorde will lead the charge of a revolt against today’s pop music. While “Royals” was her massive hit, I preferred this song. Her delivery on the chorus is spectacular. It is currently at #4 on Billboard’s alternative chart.
7. “Normal Person” – Arcade Fire (Reflektor)
It was an odd year for Arcade Fire. Their new album was a little hit and miss, and they received bad press for asking fans to dress up for their gigs. But this song redeems all else.
6. “Sirens” – Pearl Jam (Lightning Bolt)
This was the second single off of Pearl Jam’s new album. It proves that Eddie Vedder is still one of the best vocalists in the world, more than twenty years on from Ten. Its probably my favourite song Pearl Jam have released in 15 years. Peaked at #4 on the rock charts in both Canada and the US.
5. “Recovery” – Frank Turner (Tape Deck Heart)
I had never heard of Turner before I heard this song on the radio a few months ago. I quickly became a fan, as this gets better and better with every listen. This album was one of my favourites from the year. Certainly worth listening to.
4. “Berzerk” – Eminem (Marshall Mathers LP 2)
Is it a stretch to call this rock? Maybe a bit. But, it does sample a couple rock songs. And its one of the best songs Eminem has released lately.
3. “If I Had a Tail” – Queens of the Stone Age (…Like Clockwork)
I hadn’t been a big fan of QOTSA before this album, but it is fantastic. This song is also one of the great guest collaborations of the year, with Dave Grohl on drums and Alex Turner providing backing vocals. “I Sat by the Ocean”, “Fairweather Friends” and “Smooth Sailing” are the other best songs on the album.
2. “New Town Velocity” – Johnny Marr (The Messenger)
Marr is one of the greatest guitar players in rock history, and in his first solo effort he’s shown he still has the brilliance that made The Smiths one of the biggest rock bands two decades ago. That jangly guitar makes this sound as though it could have came out of The Smiths’ songbook itself. Other standout tracks include “Generate Generate”, “The Right Thing Right” and “The Messenger”.
1. “Do I Wanna Know” – Arctic Monkeys (AM)
Best song off the best rock album released in 2013. An easy choice for me. The guitars, the bass, the vocals all just sounded perfect. AM proved that the Arctic Monkeys could do something completely different and still sound awesome as they blended desert rock with dance music. Listen to the whole album, but “R U Mine”, “Arabella”, “One for the Road”, “Fireside”, “Snap Out of It” and “Knee Socks” are all fantastic too.
Lots going on in the sports broadcasting business in the past three weeks following the Rogers mega-bid to pick-up complete NHL national TV rights beginning next season. Mostly every sports broadcasting story reported in the mainstream media over the past couple of weeks is in relation to the fallout it has caused. Here is a quick roundup.
The NHL’s board of governors approved the Rogers/NHL contract by a vote of 29-0 at their winter meetings last week. That’s right, one team abstained. Ironically that team is the one that Rogers owns 37.5% of, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Damian Cox reports that Leafs CEO Larry Tanenbaum, who owns 25% of the team, abstained at the request of Gary Bettman after a contentious MLSE boardroom meeting between Rogers and Bell executives. Tanenbaum, who probably isn’t having a lot of fun at his job, must have felt like a middle school principal mediating between two kids after one stole the other’s girlfriend.
TSN has actually made the biggest news by re-signing James Duthie, Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger last week. The Globe & Mail article also reports that TSN is in negotiations with Pierre Lebrun and Aaron Ward. Yesterday Gord Miller joined the crowd that is staying at TSN. Reports indicate that Sportsnet really wanted Duthie to front their NHL coverage, which doesn’t bode well for Darren Millard. With Duthie off the market, Sportsnet could look to Elliotte Friedman or Ron MacLean to lead to hockey coverage.
One Sportsnet personality who does not have to worry about being replaced is Nick Kypreos. This article by Stu Cowan of Postmedia tells the story of how Scott Moore saved Kypreos from being fired at Sportsnet in 1999 after Globe & Mail media columnist Bill Houston reported Sportsnet was about to let him go. Kypreos is likely to take a central role in Sportsnet’s NHL coverage next season.
While Rogers have reportedly reached out to Duthie, they have not contacted the CBC’s Bob Cole about his future once the public broadcaster cedes creative control of Hockey Night in Canada to Rogers next season. Cole has called hockey on CBC Television for forty years, making him HNIC’s most senior on-air member.
Steve Lepore of Awful Announcing published a very interesting interview with Scott Moore, who is President of Broadcasting at Rogers. Moore, who used to work at CBC Sports, had a key role in bringing the new NHL contract to Rogers. In the interview Moore revealed that Rogers plans to broadcast an exclusive Sunday night game on City. Moore also revealed that Sportsnet will show games featuring two American teams on Friday nights, with a focus on star players.
This raises an interesting question about the future of Sportsnet’s Canadian Hockey League coverage, which would now compete with other NHL games for airtime on Sportsnet on Fridays and with both the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Blue Jays during the Memorial Cup. The current Canadian Hockey League national TV contract is up at the end of this season. With TSN froze out of the NHL, and already cashing in on ten days of junior hockey in December, picking up exclusive rights makes sense for them. However, as Moore pointed out on Twitter, Sportsnet has six channels.
Bell Media has acquired exclusive NFL rights on Sundays, Mondays and during the playoffs in a long-term agreement. CTV, CTV Two, TSN and TSN2 will combine to show games at 1pm ET and 4pm ET every Sunday afternoon. TSN will also continue to broadcast Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football, while CTV will continue to air the Super Bowl. Basically, how I understand the deal, is that two games will air in each market at 1pm ET and 4pm ET.
For example, viewers could get a game on CTV at 1pm ET, CTV Two at 4pm ET and a doubleheader on TSN. 1pm coverage is unlikely to change for most of the country as CTV and TSN or TSN2 already show games in that timeslot. At 4pm ET, I’d expect all markets Ontario-east will see games on CTV Two, while many markets Manitoba-west will see games on CTV. This is because there is little conflict with local news, except in Manitoba, and due to the lack of a CTV Two affiliate on the prairies. I could also see the 1pm ET game airing on CTV Two in British Columbia. Using this week’s NFL schedule, we could see something like this next season (I just threw this together quickly, so don’t read too much into it)
1pm, New England @ Miami – CTV Atlantic, Montreal, Northern Ontario
1pm, Seattle @ NY Giants – CTV Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Sask., Alberta; CTV2 BC
1pm, Buffalo @ Jacksonville – CTV Kitchener1pm, Chicago @ Cleveland – TSN
4pm, NY Jets @ Carolina – TSN2
4:25pm, Green Bay @ Dallas – CTV2 Atlantic, Ottawa, Toronto; CTV Winnipeg-west
If Bell hasn’t picked up enough new content with their new NFL television contract, maybe a baseball team would help fill the programming gaps. The Montreal Gazette’s Peter Hadekel raised the question last Thursday after a study was released that big-league baseball could be economically viable in Montreal, especially with a new stadium and an owner in the communications industry. While the Gazette report specifically mentions that TSN would benefit from such a deal, I think RDS is the network that would actually benefit the most. Considering that a Montreal franchise would go head-to-head with the Jays every night, they would likely gain little traction in English-Canada. Of course the question of whether 162 nights of programming for two networks is worth the investment of putting a baseball team in Montreal is just one of the many hurdles the project would have to clear.
Lastly, for those asking about a TV schedule for college football’s bowl games. Neither TSN nor Sportsnet has released anything official yet. However, expect a similar schedule to last season, with games split between TSN2 and Sportsnet 360, with the odd game on TSN. ABC will carry two games (Las Vegas Bowl and Capital One Bowl), with CBS and Fox having one game each (Sun Bowl and Cotton Bowl respectively). Regardless of any announcement from the networks, I will try to post a preliminary schedule by the end of the week.
• ICYMI: We posted earlier this week that Toronto Sports Media reported that TSN re-signed their main hockey guys in James Duthie, Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger to long-term contracts. Rogers apparently wanted Duthie badly to host their extensive hockey coverage — which presumably means Rogers thinks Duthie is fantastic at his job (which he is), or they really didn’t want/like any of their current guys (Millard, Maclean) enough to pull it off, something every hockey forum in Canada seems to agree with. While TSN may not have the games anymore, they certainly have the best insiders in “the biz”. TSM also states that Duthie’s deal is more than just hockey and “now involves pigskin”, meaning CFL hosting or…
• NFL on TSN: Toronto Sports Media (again) and Awful Announcing both reported today that CTV/TSN has allegedly acquired all rights to the NFL. This raises the following interesting questions: How does Bell expect to continue showing a decent numbers of games each week? Each week there would be constant overlap between 1pm and 4pm games, even more if you factor in overtime; TSN and TSN2 had many weeks this season where they showed no Sunday afternoon game due to clashes with CFL, NASCAR, etc. Would TSN blackout the games they show on Sunday afternoons? Is using CTV2 an option for the majority of Canada? Does CTV alienate the greater viewership by scratching their highly-rated local 6pm ET broadcast?
• During the 2014 FIFA World Cup final draw telecast earlier today, CBC and Sportsnet announced the broadcast breakdown for next year. CBC will show 56 matches live and 8 will be on Sportsnet. Sportsnet will also show all encore screenings. Kickoff times will be ideal for Canadian viewers (more so the east coast than the west coast) with the majority of games kicking off at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm ET. If you want to see the schedule for each group (unless you’re English, American, or a very devastated Aussie — such as yours truly), The Score has got you covered. Read the rest of this entry »
After a spectacular rivalry weekend in college football that saw Alabama lose for the first time since November of 2012, the conference championship games take centre stage this weekend. Alabama’s loss means that Ohio State and Florida State will likely play each other in the BCS Championship if they win Saturday night in the Big Ten and ACC Championship Games respectively. However, Missouri and Auburn both have a chance to jump to #2 with a SEC Championship win and a loss by one of the top teams. Elsewhere Saturday Arizona State and Stanford will play for a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Big 12 doesn’t have a conference championship game, but the top four teams in the conference play each other Saturday afternoon.
Saturday December 7
12:00pm, 17 Oklahoma @ 6 Oklahoma State – ABC
3:30pm, 25 Texas @ 9 Baylor – FOX
4:00pm, SEC Championship: 3 Auburn vs. 5 Missouri (from Atlanta) – CBS
8:00pm, Big Ten Championship: 2 Ohio State vs. 10 Michigan State (from Indianapolis) – FOX
8:00pm, ACC Championship: 20 Duke vs. 1 Florida State (from Charlotte) – ABC
10:00pm, MWC Championship: Utah State @ 23 Fresno State – CBS
U.S. Thanksgiving offers football fans one of the best weekends of action all season. While the NFL season is in full-swing and features some great games, college football offers some of the most-heated rivalries in all of sports. Games start on Thursday night and run through the day on Black Friday and Saturday. I’ve included info on all of the big games that will air on Canadian TV.
Thursday November 28, 7:30pm – Ole Miss @ Mississippi State – TSN2
This rivalry, known as the Egg Bowl, is the tenth longest uninterrupted series in college football and was first played in 1901. Ole Miss leads the series and comes in as the favourite; however, Mississippi State has a lot to play for as they become bowl eligible with a win.
Thursday November 28, 7:30pm – Texas Tech @ Texas – SN 360
Thanksgiving night just doesn’t seem the same without Texas playing Texas A&M. Texas Tech first played Texas in 1928 and the teams have met annually since 1960. Texas has won 47 of the 62 games played. Texas Tech is trying to stop a four game losing streak, while Texas is still in contention for a Big 12 title.
Friday November 29, 12:00pm – Iowa @ Nebraska – ABC
The Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers first met in 1891; however, the rivalry didn’t become an annual event until Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011. The teams have met 43 times, with Nebraska winning 38. This year both teams come into the game bowl eligible and competing for positioning in the Big Ten standings.
Friday November 29, 2:30pm – Arkansas @ 17 LSU – CBS
The Razorbacks and Tigers have met a total of 58 times, including annually since Arkansas left the Southwest Conference for the SEC in 1992. LSU leads the series with 36 wins. The game is usually played on Black Friday; however, beginning next season it will move earlier in the season so LSU can play Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night.
Friday November 29, 3:30pm – Washington State @ Washington – FOX
The Apple Cup is one of the oldest rivalries on the west coast, having been first played in 1900 with 105 meetings since. It was only five years ago that the two teams entered the game with a combined 1-20 record. Now they are both heading to bowl games Washington State’s passing attack, featuring Mike Leach’s air raid, is seventh best in the country. Last year the underdog Cougars won in a thrilling overtime game.
Saturday November 30, 12:00pm – 3 Ohio State @ Michigan – ABC/TSN
This one is simply called “The Game” in Columbus and Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes and Wolverines have meet a total of 108 times since 1897. Ohio State still have a chance of a BCS Championship birth with a win, and losses by Alabama or Florida State. Since scoring 63 against Indiana on October 19, Michigan has struggled. They don’t really have a signature win this year, but this is their chance for one.
Saturday November 30, 12:00pm – 2 Florida State @ Florida – TSN2
The Seminols are only two wins away from a trip to the BCS Championship and are the hottest team in the country, having scored 40 points in every game this year. They are coming off a 80-14 trashing of Idaho. Florida are not heading for a bowl game after a loss to FCS side Georgia Southern last week. The only thing that could keep this game close is Florida’s defense, which hasn’t given up 40 points in any game this season and is ranked 16th in the nation. On the flip side Florida State gives up second fewest points per game, while Florida’s offense is among the worst in FBS.
Saturday November 30, 3:30pm – 1 Alabama @ 4 Auburn – CBS
The Crimson Tide and Tigers have met in the Iron Bowl 77 times since 1893. This year’s matchup is arguably the biggest ever as the winner gets a spot in the SEC Championship Game. Last time the Iron Bowl has such high stakes was in 2010 when Cam Newton led the #2 Tigers to a 28-27 victory, overcoming a 24 point deceit. Auburn would go on to win the BCS Championship.
Saturday November 30, 3:30pm – Georgia @ Georgia Tech – ABC/TSN
This rivalry is known as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”. The two schools first met in 1893 and the Bulldogs lead the series with 69 wins. The Yellowjackets haven’t won since 2008. However, they come into this game with home field advantage and an equal 7-4 record to the Bulldogs. Georgia is without its standout quarterback Aaron Murray. Both teams are ranked in the top 25 in points for this season.
Saturday November 30, 3:30pm – Northwestern @ Illinois – BTN
These two rivals in Illinois first met in 1892, with Illinois holding a slight advantage in all-time victories. The Wildcats and Illini have had perfectly average seasons this year. Both teams are reeling, without wins since September and in the Big Ten basement. This game does feature an interesting matchup at quarterback, with Nathan Scheelhaase facing Kane Colter.
Saturday November 30, 3:30pm – Purdue @ Indiana – BTN
Fans in Indiana are probably just looking forward to the start of the Big Ten basketball season in a month. Purdue and Indiana have met 115 times since 1891, with Purdue leading the series with 72 wins. The Boilermakers are still looking for their first conference win this year.
Saturday November 30, 7:00pm – 25 Notre Dame @ 8 Stanford – FOX/SN1
The Irish and Cardinal have played annually since 1997 now, with their first meeting in 1925. Fox scores its first matchup featuring the Fighting Irish since getting into regular season college football last season. With Stanford dropping their game against USC, this game loses a lot of its intrigue as it is meaningless to the national title race. Stanford are still in contention for a BCS at-large birth, though. Irish fans, one the other hand, are just hoping their team plays in any desirable bowl game and not St. Pete on a Monday afternoon before Christmas. Last year this game was a thriller, ending in an Irish overtime goal-line stand.
Saturday November 30, 7:45pm – 21 Texas A&M @ 5 Missouri – TSN
While this isn’t a traditional rivalry by any means (they’ve only met 13 times), it is one of the more important and interesting matchups of the weekend. Missouri will play in the SEC Championship against the Iron Bowl winner with a win. The Tigers will get help at quarterback as James Franklin returns from injury. This could be the last regular season game for last season’s Heisman winner Johhny Manziel, who is expected to enter the NFL Draft next spring.
Saturday November 30, 8:00pm – 22 UCLA @ 23 USC – ABC
This is the biggest football game of the year in the country’s second largest TV market. The teams first met in 1929 and USC leads the series with 44 victories. This year the winning team will finish second in the Pac-12 south and get priority bowl selection (probably the Holiday Bowl or Sun Bowl).
Yesterday marked one hundred days until the beginning of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. CBC has been broadcasting the Olympics on and off for the past sixty years and this marks their return after last broadcasting the 2008 Summer Olympics. CBC won the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Olympics from the Bell/Rogers consortium, who CBC will sub-licence some events to, with more details on that coming next year.
It begins with the opening ceremony on February 7, hosted by Ron MacLean and Peter Mansbridge. Over the two weeks, CBC’s feature programming and hosts will be:
• Olympic Morning — 6am–10am ET / 3am–7am PT — David Amber (HNIC) and Diana Swain (The National)
• Olympic Daytime — 10am–3pm ET / 7am–12pm PT — Scott Russell (HNIC)
• Olympic Primetime — 7pm–11pm local time except 6pm–10pm AB / 5pm–9pm BC — Ron MacLean (HNIC)
• Olympic Overnight — 12am–6am ET / 9pm–3am PT — Andi Petrillo (HNIC) and Andrew Chang (CBC News Montreal)
Here is the full list of broadcasters and announcers:
Another round of World Cup qualifying, another full day of matches. As always, all times are Eastern.
- Russia vs. Israel — 10:30am Sportsnet
- Armenia vs. Denmark — 10:30am Sportsnet World
- Kazakhstan vs. Sweden — 12pm GolTV
- Georgia vs. Finland — 1pm SN World Online
- Romania vs. Turkey — 2pm SN World Online
- Ukraine vs. England — 2:30pm Sportsnet | GolTV
- Belarus vs. France — 2:30pm Sportsnet One
- Andorra vs. Netherlands — 2:30pm Sportsnet 360
- Greece vs. Latvia — 2:30pm Sportsnet World
- Macedonia vs. Scotland — 2:30pm SN World Online
- Faroe Islands vs. Germany — 4:40pm GolTV (TD)
- Austria vs. Republic of Ireland — 7pm GolTV (TD)
- United States vs. Mexico — 8pm Sportsnet One
From the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year starts today on TSN. Current title holders Andy Murray and Serena Williams will take to the courts over the next two weeks culminating in the Men’s final, which is now actually scheduled for Monday afternoon after rain has pushed the event from Sunday to Monday for the past five years.
TSN and TSN2’s coverage of the 2013 US Open includes live daily daytime and primetime broadcasts throughout the tournament including the men’s and women’s early round and round of 16 matches, along with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals (see broadcast schedule below). During the first week of the tournament, TSN’s coverage will start at 1pm ET each weekday and continue non-stop (occasionally switching between TSN and TSN2) until 11pm or the end of day’s play. The second week will feature the quarter-, semi- and finals of singles play, as well as the mixed doubles final. TSN.ca has exclusive bonus online coverage throughout the US Open – including full coverage of select matches not being televised. Fans can watch matches live as well as find select matches available on demand.
As usual, TSN will be taking the broadcast from ESPN and will feature their usual team of Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Chris Fowler, the McEnroe brothers, Mike Tirico, and etc.
TSN and TSN2’s 2013 US Open live broadcast schedule (all times ET):
- Monday, August 26 – Men’s & Women’s 1st Round, 1 p.m. on TSN2
- Monday, August 26 – Men’s & Women’s 1st Round, 7 p.m. on TSN
- Tuesday, August 27 – Men’s & Women’s 1st Round, 1 p.m. on TSN
- Tuesday, August 27 – Men’s & Women’s 1st Round, 7 p.m. on TSN
- Wednesday, August 28 – Men’s 1st Round & Women’s 2nd Round, 1 p.m. on TSN
- Wednesday August 28 – Men’s 1st Round & Women’s 2nd Round, 7 p.m. on TSN
- Thursday, August 29 – Men’s & Women’s 2nd Round, 1 p.m. on TSN
- Thursday, August 29 – Men’s & Women’s 2nd Round, 7 p.m. on TSN
- Friday, August 30 – Men’s 2nd Round & Women’s 3rd Round, 1 p.m. on TSN
- Friday, August 30 – Men’s 2nd Round & Women’s 3rd Round, 7 p.m. on TSN2
- Saturday, August 31 – Men’s & Women’s 3rd Round, 11 a.m. on TSN
- Saturday, August 31 – Men’s & Women’s 3rd Round, 7 p.m. on TSN
- Sunday, September 1 – Men’s 3rd Round & Women’s Round of 16, 1 p.m. on TSN
- Sunday, September 1 – Men’s 3rd Round & Women’s Round of 16, 7 p.m. on TSN2
- Monday, September 2 – Round of 16, 11 a.m. on TSN2
- Monday, September 2 – Round of 16, 7 p.m. on TSN2
- Tuesday, September 3 – Men’s Round of 16 &Women’s Quarterfinals, 11 a.m. on TSN
- Tuesday, September 3 – Men’s Round of 16 &Women’s Quarterfinals, 7 p.m. on TSN2
- Wednesday, September 4 – Men’s & Women’s Quarterfinals, 12 p.m. noon on TSN
- Wednesday, September 4 – Men’s & Women’s Quarterfinals, 7 p.m. on TSN
- Thursday, September 5 – Men’s Quarterfinals & Mixed Doubles Finals, 12 noon on TSN
- Thursday, September 5 – Men’s Quarterfinals, 8 p.m. on TSN2
- Friday, September 6 – Women’s Semifinals, 12:30 p.m. on TSN
- Saturday, September 7 – Men’s Semifinals, 12 noon on TSN2
- Sunday, September 8 – Women’s Finals, 4:30 p.m. on TSN2
- Monday, September 9 – Men’s Finals, 5 p.m. on TSN
Fox Sports 1 is launching in the United States today, replacing Speed on the dial on most US cable and satellite providers. This has caused confusion among Canadians wondering if we will receive Fox Sports 1 instead of Speed as well. So, I’ve pulled together a list of questions people have asked me over the past few weeks into this post. I hope it clears everything up a bit. I have received official word from media relations at Fox Sports/Speed on this, so these are not just guesses. If you have any other questions, ask away in the comments and I’ll update this post to include them.
First here is a rundown of the official word I’ve heard from Fox Sports/Speed on the situation.
Canada, among other countries, will continue to get Speed after Fox Sports 1 launches in the United States. It will still be called Speed and carry the same live programming. This live programming will come from Fox Sports 1 in the States.
Oh, and please don’t ask a question without reading this first. Mostly everything should be covered.
Q: Will Fox Sports 1 be available in Canada?
A: No. Fox Sports 1 is not regulated for carriage in Canada, similar to other general interest sports channels such as ESPN and NBC Sports Network.
Q: Will Speed still be available in Canada?
A: Yes. Speed will continue relatively unchanged in Canada. In the US most of Speed’s live NASCAR, Moto GP, Rolex Sports Car Series, Whelen Modified Tour, V8 Supercars and Barrett-Jackson Auctions. This coverage will continue to air in Canada on Speed. NASCAR Race Hub, which continues on Fox Sports 1, will also continue to air on Speed (nightly at 6pm ET). As will NASCAR Raceday and Victory Lane. Some other studio programming including Wind Tunnel and Speed Center are no longer produced, so they won’t air on Speed.
Q: Why isn’t Fox Sports 1 available?
A: There are a few reasons. It isn’t licensed for Canadian carriage. Speed’s license specifically states that it is a motorsports channel. It cannot air other sports because then it would no longer be a niche channel and it would compete with TSN and Sportsnet. This goes against CRTC regulation which prohibit a US-owned specialty channel from directly competing with a Canadian-owned specialty channel.
Q: But when The Nashville Network re-branded as Spike it was still available?
This is a common question, and a good one. TNN completely changed its style of programming when it rebranded as Spike, and almost was removed from the CRTC’s list of approved channels because of this. The difference here is Fox Sports 1 is NOT a rebrand of Speed, but a completely new channel. Speed is shutting down, Fox Sports 1 is replacing it. Any American providers who want to carry Fox Sports 1 have to negotiate a new contract, even if they already have an existing contract for Speed. The same applies for Canada, where in order for Fox Sports 1 to be carried here, a Canadian provider would have to apply to the CRTC asking for it.
Q: I want to see Fox Sports 1 programming, why is the CRTC denying me this right?
Most of FS1′s programming is available in Canada. In fact more of FS1′s programming will be available in Canada than ESPN. All of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches will air on Sportsnet. Every UFC fight, as well as other UFC programs and The Ultimate Fighter will air on Sportsnet 360. As previously mentioned motorsports programming will still air on Speed. Some college football coverage (featuring Pac-12 and Big 12) will air on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE.
Those are the generic commonly asked questions I’ve thrown together. Here are some specific ones from readers.
Q: Seems Rogers or Bell would be smart enough to include FS1 in some package, given the obvious demand?
No because it is not approved for carriage here. I’m not even sure the demand would be that great if fans realised that FS1 programming would mostly be blacked out due to Canadian broadcasters (usually Sportsnet) owning exclusive rights here (similar to Thursday Night Football on NFL Network or F1 on Speed). Except for Fox Sports Live (Jay & Dan’s new show), which there is demand for in Canada, FS1 isn’t providing a lot of programming that isn’t otherwise available in Canada.
Q: How much college football that would be on FS1 will end up on SN360?
I don’t have an exact answer on this yet, but Sportsnet will probably have a schedule available sometime in the next couple weeks, so check back then.
Q: When can I see Jay and Dan on Canadian TV again?
No Canadian network has released any plans to show Fox Sports Live (Jay and Dan’s new show). However, the pair have released a new (video) podcast that is available in Canada. You can watch it here. In the podcast Dan offered that he heard “it might happen”, referring to the new show airing here. However, a bunch of their clips will get uploaded to YouTube and FoxSportsLive.com.
Q: My cable/satellite on-screen guide says something different than you?
On-screen guides are done by a independent third party (neither Speed nor the cable companies). There are often mistakes, especially in a situation such as this.
Usually CBC provides Canadian TV coverage of the IAAF World Championships, but as with the FINA World Aquatics Championships, budget cuts at CBC Sports (made in 2012) have resulted the CBC giving up rights. And also like the swimming, Sportsnet will air a nightly highlights show for the Athetics Worlds. NBC will also have coverage on weekends in the afternoon, including the men’s 100m final live. Here is the broadcast schedule. For Sportsnet only the debut broadcast is listed, each regional channel (and Sportsnet ONE) will show each highlights show at least once. Check local listings for encores.
Saturday 8/10, 3:30-5:00pm
Sunday 8/11, 12:30-2:00pm (LIVE)
Saturday 8/17, 12:00-12:30pm (LIVE)
Saturday 8/17, 2:30-4:00pm
Sunday 8/18, 2:30-4:00pm
Saturday 8/10, 11:00pm ET (West & Pacific)
Sunday 8/11, 9:00pm ET (West)
Monday 8/12, 11:00pm ET (West & Pacific)
Tuesday 8/13, 11:00pm ET (West & Pacific)
Wednesday 8/14, 9:00pm ET (ONE)
Thursday 8/15, 9:00pm ET (ONE)
Friday 8/16, 11:00pm ET (West & Pacific)
Saturday 8/17, 11:00pm ET (West)
Sunday 8/18, 10:00pm ET (Pacific)
As I originally reported Sunday, on August 17 when Fox Sports 1 launches in America, Speed will continue to broadcast in Canada. However, advance listings now show that Speed will broadcast motorsports programming from Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in Canada, instead of the endless repeats that will air on a watered-down version of the channel for American providers who haven’t signed on to carry Fox Sports 1 yet. Usually the CRTC doesn’t allow American-owned services to broadcast a specific channel for Canadians; however, it seems that’s what Speed will do beginning on August 17.
Speed Canada’s updated advance listings for the launch weekend of Fox Sports 1 include these live broadcasts. US broadcaster is in brackets.
8:00am – NASCAR Live: Michigan (FS1)
8:30am – Sprint Cup Practice: Michigan (FS1)
9:30am – Truck Series Qualifying: Michigan (FS1)
11:00am – Sprint Cup Practice: Michigan (FS1)
12:00pm – Truck Series Setup: Michigan (FS1)
12:30pm – Truck Series Racing: Michigan (FS1)
3:00pm – Continental Tire Series: Road America – debut (FS2)
5:00pm – Motorcycle Racing: Miller Motorsports Park (FS2)
9:00pm – MotoGP Qualifying: Indianapolis (presumably FS2)
10:00am – NASCAR Raceday: Michigan (FS1)
11:00am – Moto3 Racing: Indianapolis (FS1)
12:00pm – Moto2 Racing: Indianapolis (FS1)
1:30pm – MotoGP Trackside: Indianapolis (FS1)
2:00pm – MotoGP Racing: Indianapolis (FS1)
7:00pm – NASCAR Victory Lane: Michigan (FS1)
Speed Canada will also air Fox Sports 1′s daily NASCAR show Race Hub weeknights at 6pm ET.
What is most interesting is some Fox Sports 2 (which is replacing Fuel TV on August 17) programming, including some things that aired on Fuel TV in the past, such as Lucas Oil Motocross, will now air on Speed.
So, that’s the latest. Better news than I had to report earlier in the week. I’ve reached out to Fox Sports for more information, and if I get any I’ll post another update. For now, here is where all of FS1′s live programming on August 17 will air in Canada.
8:00am – NASCAR Live: Michigan (Speed)
8:30am – Sprint Cup Practice: Michigan (Speed)
9:30am – Truck Series Qualifying: Michigan (Speed)
11:00am – Sprint Cup Practice: Michigan (Speed)
12:00pm – Truck Series Setup: Michigan (Speed)
12:30pm – Truck Series Racing: Michigan (Speed)
5:00pm – UFC Fight Night Prelims (SN360)
8:00pm – UFC Fight Night: Shogun v. Sonnen (SN360)
Edit as of 8/7: It seems the news isn’t so dire for Canadian motorsport fans. The advanced listings that were available at the time of this post are now updated and it seems Speed will continue to broadcast motorsport programming from Fox Sports 1 in Canada. Fox Sports 1 will not be available in Canada. See here for more information.
It’s the news Canadian sports fans have waited for since Fox Sports 1 was officially unveiled in the winter; however, it isn’t the news any were hoping for. Even auto racing fans who held out faint hope for continued coverage of NASCAR practice, Moto GP, V8 Supercars and other forms of auto racing won’t like what will become of Speed in Canada on August 17th, when Fox Sports 1 launches in America. The last program that Speed will show is an encore of NASCAR qualifying from Michigan from 4-6am ET. Then Canadians will get endless repeats of mostly non-racing or automobile shows. All day. Every day. August 17th features Pass Time, Pumped, Wrecked, Hard Parts, Unique Whips and an encore of the Barrett-Jackson Auction from January. Sunday features many of the same shows with RU Faster Than a Redneck, Drag Race High, Pinks and Unique Whips joining the schedule.
The impact of this on Canadian sports broadcasting is actually quite striking and far-reaching. Immediately it means NASCAR fans will not see Sprint Cup Saturday practice or the Truck Series race at Michigan on August 17. Nor will they see signature Speed programs NASCAR Raceday or NASCAR Victory Lane on August 18. Both of those are are moving to Fox Sports 1. The Moto GP race at Indianapolis, another Speed staple, will also not air in Canada.
Something else that is interesting is how Fox Sports 1 is replacing Speed in the United States. Notice I said replacing. This is not a straightforward re-brand. Speed will go off the air, Fox Sports 1 will replace it. Fox is negotiating new contracts with American providers for Fox Sports 1, hoping for higher subscriber fees than they could collect for a niche channel like Speed. So the channel that is approved for Canada is effectively shutting down in the States, while a new channel (which is not approved for Canada) is launching. So, Fox would have to apply to the CRTC for approval of Fox Sports 1, which certainly wouldn’t be granted considering it will compete with the TSN and Sportsnet networks. Remember how confused and mad Canadians were when WTBS became Peachtree TV in October 2007? While this is a different situation it will likely lead to the same result.
It is important to note that the only Canadians losing out are those who want to watch programming which has previously exclusively aired on Speed in Canada, such as the programs previously mentioned; or Fox’s new studio show, such as the new Fox Sports Live featuring former SportsCentre anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole. Canadians looking for most of Fox Sport 1′s other programming will find it on Canadian channels Sportsnet and TSN. The first UFC on Fox Sports 1 card on August 17th will air on Sportsnet 360, as will other UFC programming and The Ultimate Fighter. In fact Sportsnet owns rights to most of Fox Sports 1′s programming including UEFA soccer, college football and basketball from the Big 12 and Pac-12. Sportsnet will also have rights to the MLB games that Fox Sports 1 begins showing in 2014. And the 7 Sprint Cup races Fox Sports 1 has from 2015 will surely land on Canadian TV as well, just as every Sprint Cup race does now.
However, it does seem that Speed will (somehow) continue to broadcast new Barrett-Jackson Auctions live in Canada. Here is a quote from the press release announcing the auctions will continue to air on the Fox family of networks after the launch of Fox Sports 1.
For Canadian viewers, the SPEED brand will remain, and the new FOX Sports coverage of Barrett-Jackson will be broadcast on the network as usual. The transition of another FOX network, FUEL TV, to FOX Sports 2 will also happen in August and will play a role in future Barrett-Jackson programs.
ESPN FC... ESPN is launching a new daily soccer show on August 12. It will air weekdays at 5:30pm ET on TSN2 in Canada. Considering ESPN doesn’t air the Premiership or Champions League, and is losing FIFA rights after next year, I give them credit for finally launching a daily soccer show. And in the evening to show fresh Champions League and other weekday highlights. Dan Thomas and Max Bretos will share the hosting duties. The list of analysts (of which there are 23) includes familiar names Craig Burley (who is moving to the US to become the primary analyst for the show), Ian Darke, Steve McManaman, Derek Rae, Stewart Robson, Sid Lowe, Gabriele Marcotti, Raphael Honigstein, and others.
In what some consider the longest five months of the year, the NFL off-season drought ends this Sunday with the annual pre-season Hall of Fame game from Canton, Ohio.
TSN will show five games over the coming month (three ESPN games and two simulcast with NBC)
Sun Aug. 4 — Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins (Hall of Fame Game) – NBC / TSN (8pm ET)
Thu Aug. 8 — Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons – TSN2 (8pm ET)
Thu Aug. 15 — San Diego Chargers at Chicago Bears – TSN (8 p.m. ET)
Fri Aug. 16 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New England Patriots – FOX (8pm ET)
Sun Aug. 18 — Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants – FOX (8pm ET)
Mon Aug. 19 — Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins – TSN (8pm ET)
Thu Aug. 22 — Carolina Panthers at Baltimore Ravens TSN2 (8pm ET)
Fri Aug. 23 — Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – CBS (8pm ET)
Sat Aug. 24 — St. Louis Rams at Denver Broncos – CBS (8pm ET)
Sun Aug. 25 — New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans – FOX (4pm ET)
Sun Aug. 25 — Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers – NBC / TSN (8pm ET)
Select Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots pre-season games will also be available on local affiliates, for those who are able to get said US networks through their cable/satellite provider.
Like watching a spaceship getting sucked into a black hole, the world of sports after the MLB All-Star break also seems to stop moving. If you know science or astronomy, then you’ll know that while it looks like the spaceship has stopped moving, it is in fact just moving really slowly. The following is random pieces that we’ve received from the slow-moving spaceship.
— MLB RATINGS
MLB Home Run Derby: 694k; Jays vs. Rays: 660k (July 19); Jays vs. Rays: 603k (July 21); Jays vs. Dodgers: 477k (July 22).
From the Montreal Gazette:
As of July 10, Sportsnet was averaging 544,000 viewers (aged two and over) for Jays’ broadcasts. That’s nine per cent down from the 2012 average of 595,000 at this point of the season but up 10 per cent from 2011′s average of 496,000 at the same time. Breaking it down by month, the 2013 Jays averaged 639,000 in April, 403,000 in May (when the team went 13-15) and 575,000 in June (when the team won 11 straight).
This is definitely well-below the one-million viewers Rogers predicted they could get headed into the latter half of the season and under the 600,000 season average they were looking for.
— MISC RATINGS
Wimbledon Men’s Final did 451k. This is considerably down from last year’s record of 515k viewers who watched Federer beat Murray. The final round of the British Open on Global did 568k.
In the CFL: Edmonton vs. Hamilton — 570k (July 7), Toronto vs. Saskatchewan — 786k (July 11), Hamilton vs. Saskatchewan – 782k (July 21).
— FOX SPORTS ONE
In just a few weeks from now, Fox Sports One will start beaming into the homes of millions of US viewers as it replaces Speed. As for what the millions of Canadians will see, that is still unknown. A loyal-little of this site commented in a previous post that he asked Bell on their Facialbook page about the change, to which they responded “Just received word that Speed TV will only be re-branding in the States and will remain unchanged in Canada. Thanks for inquiring!”.
Complimenting that, we have the following tidbit from the Sports Business Journal:
It’s not clear what Fox will provide distributors that don’t cut FS1 deals but still have contracts to carry Speed. Distributors say they’ve been told that one option is that Fox will provide a watered-down motorsports channel that would run in place of Speed, possibly even keeping the Speed name.
Fox have already announced they will be cancelling a bunch of existing Speed programming once the channel ends, so it’s hard to see exactly how watered-down a new channel would be without live racing and general programming. Australia currently has their own version of Speed TV (which airs plenty of live racing not shown on the US version) which could possibly air here, though a majority of live programming would be blacked out, just as it would be should we get FS1. Motorsports fans would prefer to see a modified version of Speed, while general sports fans would be looking forward to seeing the offering from FS1 despite the many blackouts that come with it.
— NBC GETS NASCAR / INDYCAR RATINGS
NBC Sports is still a young network, relatively speaking, but it has fast acquired numerous sports rights. NHL, Indycar, MLS, Formula One, English Premier League, and now, NASCAR. Beginning in 2015, NBC and NBC Sports Network will shown a portion of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. NBC has quickly become the home of motorsport in the US, and one wonders if Sportsnet would consider making a similar move in Canada. They got the Indycar rights beginning this year and have already put more effort into their broadcast than TSN ever did, featuring pre- and post-race coverage as well as being track side for the Indy 500 and the Toronto race a couple weeks ago. I don’t think you could find a single fan of Formula One who is happy with TSN’s coverage, from the minimal coverage before or after the races (especially for the grand prix in this very country) to constant audio problems, so it would certainly be great to see Sportsnet takeover (a Google search could not tell me when the rights are next up for grabs) and — presumably — put the same amount of effort in as they do Indycar.
While on the subject, Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye has a great comparison on his personal site of this years Indycar ratings on Sportsnet versus last year on TSN, headlined by the fact that the terrible Sharknado special got 50,000 more viewers than the Toronto weekend of races. Granted, this is more likely due to the declining popularity of Indycar in general (it hasn’t been the same since Indy merged with CART, of which I was a huge fan) than Sportsnet taking over the broadcast from TSN.
— BROADCAST SCHEDULE RELEASES
The NHL released their schedule last week, which was quickly followed by the CBC putting out their broadcast schedule, which can be viewed in a previous post. Sportsnet and TSN will have theirs in the coming month or so. And speaking of Canada’s two biggest sporting networks, they still are yet to confirm who will be showing what games in the upcoming EPL season, which kicks August 17. Beginning this year the two networks will share the games 50/50. A number of games will also be seen on NBC.
— WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS
The 104th RBC Canadian Open begins tomorrow from Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. TSN will have coverage of the opening two rounds (Thu/Fri at 3pm) and Global will have coverage after the cut from 3pm each day. Global also have their The Morning Show and Global News crews broadcasting live from the course throughout the tournament. French coverage can be found on RDS.
Sportsnet has six hours of UFC coverage for the UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga card this weekend from Seattle. The weigh-in can be seen Friday on Sportsnet 360 at 7pm, early prelim fights on Saturday at 4pm streaming on sportsnet.ca (post-fight pressers will also be live online), and the prelims and main card begin from 5pm Saturday on Sportsnet 360.
Elsewhere: Super 15 Rugby and English Super League finals action can be seen on Sportsnet World; just weeks away from the EPL season, Sportsnet World are showing a bunch of friendlies; the Formula One circus arrives in Hungary, Sunday 8am on TSN/RDS; the UEFA Women’s Euro final goes at 9:45am Sunday morning on TSN2/RDS; and if you wanted even more soccer, the CONCACAF Gold Cup final kicks off 4pm Sunday on Fox and Sportsnet World.
• CFL SEASON BEGINS
Last nights Montreal at Winnipeg season-opener began a new year for the CFL and for TSN, as once again they show every regular season and playoff game live, including the CFL returning to Atlantic Canada with a game in Moncton, NB and culminating with the 101st Grey Cup in Regina, SK. All of the regulars will return to the commentary booth, including Chris Cuthbert, Rod Black, Gord Miller and Glen Suitor. The CFL on TSN panel will also return, with the inclusion of former CFL coach Paul LaPolice hosting ‘Coach’s Playbook’ segment.
Every game will be available on-demand via TSN.ca; TSN and TEAM radio stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal will have full coverage of their local teams and TEAM Radio in Ottawa will cover a “CFL Game of the Week”; and RDS will have French coverage of all Alouettes games, plus an addition 27 games on RDS2 through the season.
• NHL DRAFT
Sunday night you have the choice of watching eight hours of NHL Draft coverage on TSN or stabbing yourself in the eye with a cocktail fork repeatedly. If you choose the former, read on. TSN broadcasts every minute of all seven rounds of the 2013 NHL Draft live from the Prudential Center in New Jersey, with a preview show from 2:30pm ET and the main gig starting at 3pm ET. You can watch James Duthie, Darren Dreger, Pierre McGuire and the gang provide a breakdown of every pick, or you could (probably) just read about each pick on Twitter a couple minutes before it’s announced.
• TOUR DE FRANCE
If you’re a fan of cycling and/or scenery, then TSN2 has you covered starting tomorrow as you can catch all 21 stages and 139 hours of the 100th Tour de France. You can follow Canadian rider Ryder Hesjedal (2012 Giro d’Italia winner) accompanied by the soothing voice of vetern cycling annoucer Phil Ligget alongside Paul Sherwen. If live coverage is a little early in the morning for you, TSN2 will feature a recap show each night in primetime. Check out the full live and recap schedule in the press release.
• RANDOM INFORMATION
RUGBY: In an earlier posting I noted that TSN had acquired the right to the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament running this weekend in Moscow, Russia. Foolishly, I presumed they would be actually showing games — not so. Instead, you can catch a two-hour highlights show on July 2 at 8pm ET on TSN2.
CRICKET: If you’re a fan of cricket… that is, Canadian cricket, then do I have some amazing news for you. Starting tomorrow, Rogers TV will broadcast 18 matches (mostly T20′s) over the summer featuring the CIBC National Cricket League, and Canada taking on the the USA in the Auty Cup, as well as the UAE. If you don’t get Rogers TV, games will also be streamed live on sportsnet.ca and replayed on Sportsnet World. Fun fact: The Auty Cup is the world’s oldest ongoing international sporting fixture with the US and Canada first taking the field in 1844. The more you know. The full schedule can be found here.
BLUE JAYS RADIO/TV: In what is surely a first (I can only presume, I didn’t actually research it), Sportsnet Radio 590 The Fan will be covering eight games of the Buffalo Bisons, the Toronto Blue Jays minor-league team. The first game will be broadcast on July 1 from 7pm ET. This is the first year the Bisons have been the Jays Triple-A affiliate after they ending their long-term relationship with Las Vegas. The others games will be on July 6, 11, 18, 20, 27, August 19, 31. The Jays game against the Red Sox last night was broadcast in Mandarin Chinese on Rogers station OMNI 2, as Taiwanese pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was on the mound. 1) I can only presume that this was also a first. 2) Unfortunately, the guy got lit-up and didn’t even last two innings.
SPEED: If you’re a motorsports fan, you probably already know of the impeding death of Speed channel when it will turn into Fox Sports 1 in August. If you are a fan of the motorsports highlight show SpeedCenter, you’re about to get a little sadder. Fox announced yesterday that SpeedCenter and talk-show Wind Tunnel will not be part of the new all-sports channel in two months time. Fox will continue to produce a NASCAR highlights show, as well as pre- and post-race coverage. Like ESPN with NHL, Fox doesn’t really seem to care about motorsports they don’t have the rights for. And before you ask, no, there is still no word whether Fox Sports 1 will be available in Canada. Bell recently added Speed in HD, so either they are preparing to show FS1, or they are trolling their viewers who have been complaining about wanting Speed in HD for the past few years.
NHL Stanley Cup:
Game 4: 2,653,000, Game 5: 2,911,000, Game 6: 3,401,000, Game 6 Post-Game on CBC: 1,356,000.
Fri vs. A’s: 908,000; Mon vs. Rays: 655,000; Tue vs. Rays: 608,000.