Posts Tagged ‘Sportsnet’
Was so busy last week I barely even had time to look at the press release for TSN’s new CFL deal. So, here are some of the details. And while you read, here is music history from Saturday night. Blur’s Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon played their song “Tender” with Noel Gallagher of Oasis, officially ending of of music’s biggest rivalries, I guess. It was either great, or worse than sipping champagne at 10 Downing, depending on who you are.
- It’s a 8-year deal that runs through the end of the 2018 season and includes every regular season and playoff game for TSN, RDS (Alouettes and playoffs) and RDS2.
- Also includes radio rights for the Grey Cup for TSN Radio and TEAM radio stations.
- Otherwise it seems everything is basically the same as before. The schedule will expand to 81 games next season when Ottawa rejoins the league, an increase from 73 this season.
- The CFL’s exclusive negotiating window with TSN ended at the end of January. The CFL wanted an exclusive deal with Bell.
- The guarantee of Canadian markets facing Canadian markets in every game was important for TSN.
- Cohon thinks it gives the CFL the dollar guarantee that allows it to invest in new infrastructural and ideas.
- TSN’s Stewart Johnston on the prospect of moving the Grey Cup to CTV, “Well we love our parent network at CTV, but I can tell you honestly, it wasn’t once discussed. We love what the Grey Cup has done for the TSN brand in the past five years.” It’s not a problem for the CFL, as I’ve mentioned before.
- You can listen to Johnston and Cohon on TSN Drive with Dave Naylor from last week here. I wish I had more to say about it, but it’s really more of the same.
March Madness… TSN’s March Madness coverage continues to have both bright spots and some real annoyances for viewers. The features on Canadian players are great. Dan Shulman and Sam Mitchell are great on the studio panel. Host Kate Beirness is really growing into the job. And best of all TSN barely showed any of the games that were on CBS over the weekend. Not only that, but Beirness and the bottomline directed viewers to watch CBS. Meanwhile TSN and TSN2 focused on games that were broadcast on cable channels TBS, TNT and TruTV in the States. The only thing I found poor about TSN’s coverage was the constant flipping of games from TSN to TSN2. It got confusing. And while the bottomline said which game was on CBS, it never mentioned what games were broadcast on the other network. At the opening of each broadcast it was never really revealed which games TSN would show and which ones would air mainly on TSN or TSN2. A little more consistency in leaving one game on the same network would be nice, instead of constantly switching at halftime.
Soccer… 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying continues tomorrow. Before getting to what’s on tomorrow, GolTV deserves credit for using the RTE Irish domestic commentary of the Sweden v. Ireland game on Friday evening. Despite audio troubles in the first five minutes, it was a lot better than their usual annoying American commentators calling the match off a screen from Florida.
But on to the more interesting matter. England travels to Podgoric to face Group H leaders Montenegro in a key qualifying match tomorrow night. International broadcasts of the match, originally marketed for by Kentaro, have taken an interesting turn. GolTV shows Kentaro matches in North America. This game was one of the biggest in the package of qualifiers that GolTV purchased from Kentaro last year. However, the Montenegro FA recently pulled out of their contract with Kentaro. With that GolTV lost rights to the match and it will now air on Sportsnet.
A similar situation occurred in England where ITV nearly lost rights to the match after paying Kentaro an upfront fee for it. Kentaro still claims (or at least claimed as of last week) to hold international rights to Montenegro home matches internationally. GolTV in the US included it on their broadcast schedule as recently as the weekend. GolTV in Canada still does. The Guardian has an interesting article on the situation. It also explains why Brazil’s World Tour matches have disappeared from GolTV this season, as Kentaro has lost rights to those as well. No word yet on how this affects GolTV’s coverage of Ireland v. Austria tomorrow evening. The match was originally scheduled for tape-delay at 6pm ET; however, with this development it could air live at 4:45pm ET. In other action tomorrow evening France and Spain battle for the top spot in Group I on Sportsnet ONE.
MLB… The 2013 Jays broadcast schedule is out. 20 games will air exclusively on Sportsnet ONE. Most of those are due to NFL or Memorial Cup conflicts. Because of regional hockey conflicts another ten games in April will air on different combinations of the Sportsnet channels (six of those are also on ONE). The other 132 games will air on all four regional channels. I also have Sportsnet’s MLB schedule (I’ll post it later this weekend when I get the chance). Sportsnet ONE has close to 90 other MLB games, while the regional channels will combine for around 175 games. TSN2 has Sunday Night Baseball again. By my count there are over 450 games on Canadian TV this season, not including American networks like FOX or WGN.
Spring Training kind of snuck up on me. The first games were played yesterday, with the first Jays game earlier today. With the increased interest in the team, Sportsnet has increased their coverage compared to last year. Sportsnet will produce and broadcast seven Jays spring games this year, up from just two last season. And that’s on top of all of the World Classic games over the next month as well (more on that next week). In addition Sportsnet announced earlier this week that five more games will air on FX Canada. Here is the complete Jays spring training schedule.
Saturday 2/23, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Tigers – Sportsnet
Thursday 2/28, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Yankees – FX
Saturday 3/2, 1:00pm – Phillies @ Blue Jays – Sportsnet
Sunday 3/3, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Phillies – Sportsnet/SN1
Thursday 3/7, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Orioles – FX
Sunday 3/10, 1:00pm – Yankees @ Blue Jays – Sportsnet
Saturday 3/23, 1:00pm – Braves @ Blue Jays – Sportsnet/SN1
Sunday 3/24, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Twins – FX
Wednesday 3/27, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Rays – FX
Thursday 3/28, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Phillies – FX
Friday 3/29, 7:00pm – Blue Jays @ Phillies – Sportsnet
Saturday 3/30, 1:00pm – Blue Jays @ Phillies – Sportsnet
This feature, posting press release links with a bit of commentary at the end of the week, seemed to work quite well last week. So, I’m thinking about making it a regular feature. Gives you guys a chance to catch up on any news you may have missed this week, and saves me a bunch of time.
TSN has the Scotties Tournament of Hearts beginning this weekend. Coverage begins tomorrow at 2:00pm ET with the opening draw, featuring defending champion Heather Nedohin against New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford. TSN will have every draw, except draw 5 tomorrow night, which airs on TSN2. There is a slight change to the schedule this year as there is no action on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Instead Friday will feature the final 3 draws, with tiebreakers and page playoffs on Saturday, and the semifinal, 3rd place game and championship final on Sunday. I think this works a lot better for fans and should help attendance. It should help maintain momentum torwards the end of the week as well.
Sportsnet has announced that Vancouver Canucks games will air on Sportsnet Pacific until 2022-23 with a new ten year extension set to kick-in next season. Sportsnet Pacific will show up to sixty games per season, although the average number is probably a bit less than that. Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean will likely still work for Sportsnet towards the end of the new Canucks deal as both have signed new multiyear deals with the network. Bob McCown joked that Kyper signed a lifetime contract, but in reality he is locked in for around ten years.
In a slightly shorter-term deal Global has re-newed its contract with the PGA Tour through 2018. Global will show 26 tournaments a year (not sure if that includes The Masters, which is a seperate contract). Along with The Masters, Global will continue to show the Players Championship, Canadian Open, two World Golf Championships events, and all four PGA playoff tournaments. Also included are the 2015 and 2017 Presidents Cups. The new contract, as with the current one, does not include all events, which leaves another small package open for another networks to pick up.
The NASCAR season begins this weekend. Coverage of the season’s non-points opener, the Spint Unlimited at Daytona, airs on CTV Two (yes you read that right) and FOX Saturday night at (8pm ET). FOX also has Daytona 500 pole qualifying on Sunday afternoon. TSN and TSN2 will show every NASCAR race after the opener. And the reason NASCAR is on CTV Two on Saturday is because TSN has the Scotties and TSN2 has NBA All Star Saturday (8pm ET). TSN also has the Rising Stars game tonight (9pm ET) and the All Star Game on Sunday night (7pm ET).
NBC’s third annual Hockey Day in America is this Sunday. NBC has a doubleheader Sunday afternoon featuring Pittsburgh @ Buffalo (12:30pm ET) and Los Angeles @ Chicago (3:30pm ET). The press release details some of the stories that are featured. There is a bit of Canadian content too as Gord Miller will call the game in Buffalo.
And, lastly, Fox has announced its 2013 MLB broadcast schedule. Included are eight primetime games beginning in late May.
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.
The 2014 Olympics begin in 365 days in Sochi, Russia. Today Sportsnet announced that they are the official cable broadcaster of the Games in Canada. This is just the latest partnership between the two networks which also includes the 2014 FIFA World Cup. I’ll have a lot more on this later, but for now here is a statement from Sportsnet.
Today marks the official one-year countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia and Sportsnet is pleased to announce it has reached a sub-licensing deal with CBC to provide Canadians with comprehensive coverage of the Games.
Further platform distribution announcements are to come, but under the agreement Sportsnet is now an official cable broadcaster of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
As part of the sub-licensing deal, Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE will carry approximately 200 hours of 2014 Olympic Winter Games coverage, including coverage in prime time
And as did TSN and RDS, evidently. Somehow I missed this. Worth noting that TSN and RDS have shown every Olympics since 1998. Very impressive.
TSN and RDS are partnering with CBC/Radio-Canada to provide coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
Through the partnership, both networks will be able to bring viewers access to live events and coverage across TSN and RDS’s sports, news, and entertainment platforms.
TSN and RDS have been part of Canada’s Olympic tradition for the past three decades, setting the standard of excellence for delivering Olympic coverage during the Vancouver 2010 and London 2012 Games.
TSN and RDS will provide more details on this partnership and broadcast information in the near future.
And here is CBC’s press release with all that news and more. Read the bolded section closely. What’s coming next? Netflix for highlights?
Today marks the official one-year countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and CBC/Radio-Canada is thrilled to bring the Olympic Games home to Canadians. As Canada’s Official Broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada brings Canadians cross-platform coverage of the top news and stories in the year leading up to Sochi 2014, running from February 7 – 23, 2014. With exclusive license arrangements, TSN, RDS, and Sportsnet will also present coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Stay tuned – more platform distribution announcements to come.“We’re incredibly proud to be the official home of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games,” said Kirstine Stewart, Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC. “As we count down to Sochi 2014, we are committed to sharing the inspirational stories of our athletes, while providing Canadians with a robust Olympic Games experience, across all platforms.”Louis Lalande, Executive Vice-President, Radio-Canada, added: “The Olympic Games have been part of Radio-Canada’s DNA for over fifty years. It is with great anticipation that we prepare for Sochi 2014. We aim to offer viewers from coast to coast a distinct coverage that will allow them to live and breathe with our athletes on this most prestigious stage.”Click here for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games English Promo.CBC/Radio-Canada is the place to be as we count down to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. With coverage across all platforms – including TV, radio, online, and mobile – Canadians can connect with the biggest stories and the latest content whenever and wherever they want it. Through world-class storytelling and the best performance coverage available, CBC/Radio-Canada will introduce viewers to Canadian athletes poised to take on the world in 2014. Canadians can engage with CBC/Radio-Canada leading up to and throughout the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games online in English at CBC.ca/Olympics and in French at Radio-Canada.ca/Olympiques, as well as on Twitter in English at @cbcolympics (#cbcolympics), and in French at @RC_Sports (#RColympiques).The countdown to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi was in full-swing this week on CBC, with extensive programming on all platforms. Throughout the week, viewers have enjoyed extensive coverage, with stories from Sochi and beyond, as well as a look at Canada’s Olympians as they prepare for the Games.
Curling entered into new territory last weekend when it held its first “All Star Weekend”. The four major American sports have held All Star Games for decades, with success ranging from great (MLB) to terrible (NFL). Even NASCAR has held an All Star Race for close to thirty years, not that it’s entirely different from any other NASCAR Race. In my opinion, the first Curling All Star Skins Game, held at Casino Rama, was more exciting than any of the traditional All Star Games in North American sports.
There are many reasons why an All Star format works in curling. The curlers all know each other because they play in the same tournaments some 10-15 weeks a year. In that sense it’s not unlike the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in golf, where athletes who usually compete against each other player together. It also works because there is very little chance of injury in curling, compared to any of the four major American sports, really. It also has a unique history in that the Curling Skins Game at Casino Rama was already one of the most prestigious curling events in the world before it introduced All Star format in 2013.
Money is also important. The purse at the Skins Game was $100, 000, which the same as the purse at this weekend’s Grand Slam. That makes it one of the richest curling events in the world. Glenn Howard’s All Star team, who were champions, won $51, 000. At the last Grand Slam in December, Howard’s usual team won $25, 000 as champions. The Curling All Star Game is big money for the sixteen curling who make it. They all want to win.
While the All Star format was first revealed during the 2012 Skins Game final, the idea of a draft was only introduced earlier this month. TSN adopted the idea from the NHL All Star Game draft, which is wildly popular among fans and players. It worked a lot better than a random draw would have. It was fun TV to watch. It gave viewers a glimpse at curlers off the ice. And, most importantly, it allowed the skips to choose players who they’d always wanted to play with.
The new format also saw the Skins Game get a bump in TV ratings as well, despite going against record-setting NHL games most of the weekend. An average 330, 000 watched the first semi final on Saturday afternoon, while an average of 308, 000 watched the second semi final Saturday night. The Saturday night number is particularly impressive when you consider that an average of 4.6 million others were watching the Leafs-Habs game at the same time. An average of 403, 000 watched Sunday’s final, which also went head-to-head with an NHL game on NBC. The three games averaged 347, 000 viewers, which is an 9% increase over last season.
This was the last year for the Skins Game at Casino Rama. With a new venue next year, maybe TSN will want to consider a few new ideas for the event. At some point I’d like to see it as a mixed All Star game. Just once to see how the idea works. The mixed skins at the Continental Cup is really the only thing that saves that event. I’d also like to see international curling including in the voting. While Canadians would likely win the spots, Niklas Edin’s team is one of the best in the world and they at least deserve a shot. And how about a “skills competition” (similar to singles at the Continental Cup) on Friday night? It would give TSN another night of programming, and it would also give the new teammates a chance to play with each other before playing for more money on Saturday.
Curling Grand Slam… Similar to the way TSN built the Curling Skins Game, Sportsnet has done a great job rebuilding the Grand Slam this year. The foundation was obviously already there, and had been for a several years. However, it was in shambles after the television contract with the CBC fell apart a year ago. Last season’s The National wasn’t broadcast on Canadian television at all. A year later Sportsnet has some 22 hours of coverage of this weekend’s event. Curling fans have always said the sport has a lot of room to grow on Canadian TV, and we are seeing that this year.
Which leads me to…
Provincial Championships… Sportsnet is also showing the Scotties playdowns in Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario to a national audience for the first time. They also have Brier playdowns in those provinces in a couple of weeks. It is really unheard of for a network to cover four curling events in one weekend, but Sportsnet is doing so this weekend. Rob Faulds, Mike Harris and Richard Hart are in Port Hawkesbury for The National; Don Landry and Paul Webster are in Lethbridge for the Alberta Scotties; Roger Millions and Joan McCusker are in Stonewall for the Manitoba Scotties; and Dan Dunleavy is in Kitchener for the Ontario Scotties.
Here is the complete Scotties playdowns schedule for Sportsnet and Citytv
Saturday 1/26, 9:30pm – Manitoba Semifinal #1 (Sportsnet West/Pacific; Citytv Winnipeg)
Sunday 1/27, 9:30am – Ontario Semifinal (Sportsnet National)
Sunday 1/27, 1:00pm – Manitoba Semifinal #2 (Sportsnet ONE; Citytv Winnipeg)
Sunday 1/27, 4:00pm – Ontario Championship (Sportsnet Ontario)
Sunday 1/27, 4:00pm – Alberta Championship (Sportsnet West/Pacific; Citytv Alberta)
Sunday 1/27, 6:00pm – Manitoba Championship (Sportsnet ONE)
I guess The Biggest Loser takes precedence over the Manitoba Final for Citytv Winnipeg.
Dodgers New TV Deal… The Los Angeles Dodgers have signed a new local broadcast contract to show the team’s games for two decades beginning next (2014) season. Time Warner will pay $7 billion for the rights, that’s a whole billion more than Fox Sports was willing to pay. It’s not good news for Fox’s channel Prime Ticket, which already lost local L.A. Lakers rights to Time Warner’s new sports channel last year. Steve Ladurantaye of The Globe and Mail has a comparison of the new Dodgers TV deal and the Blue Jays TV deal. The Jays are experiencing big TV ratings gains, which should increase again this year with the hype surrounding the team; however, they probably won’t cash in on their new TV deal anyway.
Sun News… As many may have noticed, Sun News Channel has asked the CRTC to place it on the basic cable section of the dial, forcing everyone to carry it. This is similar to what CBC Newsworld and CTV News Network asked for when they launched 24 and 16 years ago, respectively. Obviously many things have changed in cable and satellite broadcasting since. I thought Andrew Coyne’s take on this was great. This is a great opportunity for the CRTC to remove the must-subscribe designation from all cable services. And, of course, the other aspect of the story is that Sun said they’d never ask for basic cable carriage because it “would be tantamount to a tax on everyone with cable or satellite service.” Oh, the hypocrisy.
The Hahnenkamm… One could argue that the original extreme winter sport is the Kitzbuhel Downhill. The classic ski race was first run more than 80 years ago in 1931. CBC will broadcast the 2012 Downhill on Saturday at 4:00pm ET. And trust me, it is worth watching. I won’t spoil the result, but Canada’s Erik Guay had a very good day. CBCSports.ca will stream Sunday’s Slalom, with the second run at 7:25am ET. Friday’s Super-G isn’t on Canadian television.
This year marked the first in the NFL’s new initiative to play games on most Thursday nights during the regular season. NFL Network’s package expanded from 8 to 13. NBC added a Thanksgiving night game. Add in the season opener (which was actually on a Wednesday because of a political convention) and there was weekday football every week this season until now. There are no Thursday night games in weeks 16 or 17.
Many of the games, which air on league-owned NFL Network in the States, were duds. The best matchup was probably the very first when bitter rivals Chicago and Green Bay played in week 2. The Packers won 23-10, but the Bears turned out to have a good season as well. They are tied for the last NFC wildcard spot. Who knew on October 18 that the Seahawks and 49ers would play each other on national television again two months later? This week they play on Sunday Night Football. Aside from those two, there have been no Thursday Night games this year that featured teams that now have .500 or better records. Three times teams who both have sub-.500 records met.
Of course it isn’t entirely the NFL’s fault for poor scheduling. Who knew that Cam Newton would be so bad that he’d throw three picks and his Panthers would get destroyed by the defending Super Bowl champion Giants in week 3? Who knew that New Orleans would have a mediocre season, taking some of the buzz away from the NFL Network’s second most buzzworthy matchup against the Falcons? Who knew that the Eagles would completely collapse after September taking any buzz away from their matchup against the Bengals? All of those games looked like quality national television matchups in August. Even NBC got in on the underachieving party as the hapless Jets got blown out by New England on Thanksgiving.
It wasn’t all bad for the Thursday night experiment though. Many of the games early on were decided by less than a touchdown, although the same can’t be said for those in November and December. The Titans upsetting the Steelers in October was memorable. Other than that, and maybe the Bucs beating the Vikings, they’re weren’t any upsets all year in an NFL season filled with parity.
Personally I see no harm in having Thursday night games, even if the Browns played the Jaguars every week. They give fans a chance to see their favourite team on national TV one more time per year. Every team played once on Thursday this year (the Giants and Cowboys did twice including the Wednesday night opener). That seems fair to me.
Of course the NFL is mostly concerned with ratings. It seems that in America, the ratings are doing just fine. Despite carriage issues with NFL Network in some markets, Thursday Night Football won the night on cable every week. In Canada I only have ratings for November and December available to me now. It is worth noting that three of the four games in October aired on Sportsnet One due to the MLB playoffs, so this takes into account 7 of the 11 games that aired on the main Sportsnet channels. Those seven games averaged 336, 000 viewers. That’s not as impressive as the late Sunday games, which regularly bring in close to half a million for Citytv alone. It is also not as impressive as the Sunday or Monday nighters, which are averaging 533, 000 and 521, 000 viewers on TSN over the same time period. The highest rated Thursday game was 421, 000 for Miami @ Buffalo (only one other topped 400, 000 viewers). Those two games only beat one Monday night game and no Sunday night games since November 1.
Having said all that, Thursday night games still do better in the Canadian ratings than many scripted cable shows and every NBA regular season game. Especially considering the NHL lockout, they are valuable sports programming.