The CBC has announced some highlights of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which begin in under one month. English-language coverage will air on TV on CBC, TSN, TSN2, Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE. CBC will also have 12 live online feeds that will include commentary. CBC is promising more than 1500 hours of total coverage, including the streams. CBC Television will have over 350 hours of coverage (21 hours daily), featuring all Canadian hockey games and most medal events. TSN and TSN2 will combine for 250 hours of coverage (~17 hours daily), including primetime encores of hockey. Sportsnet will feature 140 hours of coverage, with 64.5 more on Sportsnet ONE (~13 hours daily). Sportsnet will focus on curling in primetime.
Coverage begins on Thursday February 6, the day prior to the opening ceremony, at 6am Eastern with snowboard slopestyle qualification and figure skating’s team event. The opening ceremony, with hosts Peter Mansbridge and Ron MacLean, will air live on February 7 at 11am Eastern on CBC, Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE and TSN2. CBC’s coverage begins with an exclusive preview show at 10am ET and will also feature encore presentations of the ceremony at 2pm ET and again in primetime.
CBC’s coverage will air almost around the clock, except to break for local news and The National. Olympic coverage begins at midnight Eastern with Olympic Overnight and continues live through the end of Olympic Daytime at 3pm ET. Olympic Extra, an encore broadcast, follows from 3 through 5pm ET. That is followed by a 2 hour break for local news, then Olympic Primetime at 7pm Eastern, in most regions. The National will air between Primetime and Overnight Coverage.
CBC’s highlights include all Canadian hockey games, as well as the gold medal finals in men’s and women’s hockey and curling. TSN will show the free programs of all figure skating events. TSN2 features Shaun White looking for a third straight gold medal in snowboard halfpipe. Sportsnet has the men’s moguls final, featuring Alex Bilodeau, who won Canada’s first gold medal on home snow in Vancouver. Sportsnet ONE features lots of sliding, including women’s skeleton, women’s luge, women’s bobsleigh and 2-man bobsleigh.
CBC will release a more detailed broadcast schedule in the coming weeks.
Just six weeks after Rogers became the new national rightsholder for NHL games in Canada, Sportsnet has signed an eight year extension to broadcast its traditional anchor sport, baseball. Sportsnet’s new contract, which includes exclusive rights through 2021, looks very similar to the contract that just came to an end. Sportsnet will show around 300 MLB games each season, including the All Star Game and all postseason matchups. Financial terms were not released.
Rogers Cable has also added MLB Network to its offerings. It is available in Ontario on channel 415 and is on free preview through the end of April. Last year Rogers sponsored MLB Network’s application to became an approved channel in Canada.
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.
Sunday December 22
1pm: Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)
Fox Boston, Minnesota
Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber
1pm: Indianapolis Colts (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-3)
CTV British Columbia
CBS Rochester, Seattle
Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
1pm: Denver Broncos (11-3) at Houston Texans (2-12)
CTV Atlantic, Ottawa, Northern Ontario, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Alberta
CBS Boston, Burlington, Detroit, Minnesota, Spokane
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
1pm: New Orleans Saints (10-4) at Carolina Panthers (10-4)
CTV Toronto, Kitchener | RDS
Fox Buffalo, Rochester
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
1pm: Cleveland Browns (4-10) at New York Jets (6-8)
Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
1pm: Miami Dolphins (8-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-9)
Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein
4:05pm: New York Giants (5-9) at Detroit Lions (7-7)
Fox Burlington, Detroit
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston
4:05pm: Arizona Cardinals (9-5)at Seattle Seahawks (12-2)
Fox Spokane, Tacoma
Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
4:25pm: New England Patriots (10-4) at Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
City, Sportsnet East | RDS
CBS Boston, Burlington, Watertown, Rochester, Buffalo, Spokane
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
4:25pm: Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (7-6-1)
Sportsnet Ontario, West, Pacific
CBS Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota
Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
8:30pm: Chicago Bears (8-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (8-6)
TSN | NBC | RDS
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Monday December 23
8:30pm: Atlanta Falcons (4-10) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
TSN | RDS
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
College football’s bowl season begins this Saturday with four games. This is the final year of the BCS, with the College Football Playoff beginning next season. The breakdown of games is 2 on ABC, 1 on CBS, 1 on FOX, 1 on TSN, 12 on TSN2 and 12 on Sportsnet 360. There are six games which will only be available on Bell’s NCAA package and the Super Sports Pak.
Saturday December 21
2pm, New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State (7-6) vs. Washington State (7-5)
TSN2 (Mark Jones & Brock Huard)
3:30pm, Las Vegas Bowl: 20 Fresno State (11-1) vs. 25 Southern California (9-4)
ABC (Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer & David Pollack)
5:30pm, Idaho Bowl: Buffalo (8-4) vs. San Diego State (7-5)
TSN2 (Clay Matvick & Matt Stinchcomb)
9pm, New Orleans Bowl: LA-Lafayette (8-4) vs. Tulane (7-5)
TSN2 (Mike Patrick & Ed Cunningham)
Monday December 23
2pm, St. Petersburg Bowl: East Carolina (9-3) vs. Ohio (7-5)
TSN2 (Beth Mowins & Joey Galloway)
Tuesday December 24
8pm, Hawaii Bowl: Boise State (8-4) vs. Oregon State (6-6)
TSN2 (Steve Levy, Lou Holtz & Mark May)
Thursday December 26
6pm, Little Caesar’s Bowl: Bowling Green (10-3) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6)
SN360 (Dave Lamont & Ray Bentley)
9:30pm, Poinsettia Bowl: 23 Northern Illinois (12-1) vs. Utah State (8-5)
SN360 (Joe Davis & Mike Bellotti)
Friday December 27
2:30pm, Military Bowl: Marshall (9-4) vs. Maryland (7-5)
TSN2 (Mike Patrick & Ed Cunningham)
Saturday December 28
12pm, Pinstripe Bowl: Notre Dame (8-4) vs. Rutgers (6-6)
SN360 (Chris Fowler & Jesse Palmer)
3:20pm, Belk Bowl: Cincinnati (9-3) vs. North Carolina (6-6)
SN360 (Carter Blackburn & Danny Kanell)
10:15pm, Wild Wings Bowl: Michigan (7-5) vs. Kansas State (7-5)
SN360 (Sean McDonough & Chris Spielman)
Monday December 30
11:45am, Armed Forces Bowl: Middle Tennessee (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4)
SN360 (Beth Mowins & Joey Galloway)
3:15pm, Music City Bowl: Georgia Tech (7-5) vs. Ole Miss (7-5)
SN360 (Mark Jones & Brock Huard)
Tuesday December 31
12:30pm, Independence Bowl: Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
SN360 (Tom Hart & John Congemi)
2pm, Sun Bowl: 17 UCLA (9-3) vs. Virginia Tech (8-4)
CBS (Verne Lundquist & Gary Danielson)
4pm, Liberty Bowl: Mississippi State (6-6) vs. Rice (10-3)
SN360 (Bob Wischusen & Rod Gilmore)
8pm, Peach Bowl: 24 Duke vs. 21 Texas A&M
SN360 (Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer & David Pollack)
Wednesday January 1
12pm, Gator Bowl: 22 Georgia vs. Nebraska
SN360 (Mike Patrick & Ed Cunningham)
1pm, Citrus Bowl: 9 South Carolina vs. 19 Wisconsin
ABC (Dave Pasch & Brian Griese)
1pm, Outback Bowl: Iowa vs. 16 Louisiana State
TSN2 (Mike Tirico & Jon Gruden)
5pm, Rose Bowl: 4 Michigan State vs. 5 Stanford
TSN2 (Brent Musburger & Kirk Herbstreit)
8:30pm, Fiesta Bowl: 6 Baylor vs. 15 Central Florida
TSN2 (Sean McDonough & Chris Spielman)
Thursday January 2
8:30pm, Sugar Bowl: 3 Alabama vs. 11 Oklahoma
TSN2 (Brad Nessler & Todd Blackledge)
Friday January 3
7:30pm, Cotton Bowl: 8 Missouri vs. 13 Oklahoma State
FOX/SN1 (Gus Johnson & Charles Davis)
8:30pm, Orange Bowl: 7 Oho State vs. 12 Clemson
TSN2 (Joe Tessitore & Matt Millen)
Saturday January 4
1pm, Birmingham Bowl: Houston (8-4) vs. Vanderbilt (8-4)
TSN2 (Dave Neal & Andre Ware)
Sunday January 5
9pm, GoDaddy Bowl: Arkansas State (7-5) vs. Ball State (10-2)
SN360 (Carter Blackburn & Danny Kanell)
Monday January 6
8:30pm, BCS Championship: 1 Florida State (13-0) vs. 2 Auburn (12-1)
TSN (Brent Musburger & Kirk Herbstreit)
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.