A Midsummer Night’s Blog Post (Part 1)

So… it’s been awhile. While the long, somewhat boring days of summer sports toll on, there has been some Canadian sports media news to report on over the past couple months since this site last saw an entry. I’ll post it over two parts as my bookmarks are mostly filled with NHL and soccer info, which I ramble on about both below.

NHL

It’s hard to say whether the first season of NHL on Rogers was a success or not — it depends who you talk to, I guess. It certainly wasn’t for the two main French networks:

Rogers certainly didn’t reach the ratings goals they promised advertisers, thanks mostly to people giving up on cable and people streaming online. While NBC had some of the highest ratings it has seen in years for the postseason, Rogers saw a 12 percent decrease over last year. This, on top of the below-par ratings they had on and off during the regular season. It will be interesting to see how Rogers tinkers with their product during the summer — we already know Sunday’s Hometown Hockey game will be on Sportsnet and not City. Some additional reading if you missed it:

David Shoalts reported on Twitter that the Canadian operation of NHL Network would be shutting down at the beginning of September leaving 20 people unemployed. The network, run by Bell/TSN, was always a piece of trash with little live games or live programming, it wasn’t available in HD, and with the new Rogers TV deal, they lost 40 live games they did show. The US version will continue to operate out of New York.

TSN VS. SPORTSNET

TSN and Sportsnet got into a pissing contest in early June over who is the number one sports network in Canada. Sportsnet is claiming pole position via combining the viewers between their four regional channels, SN One and SN 360 versus the five of TSN in the top three key demographics for advertisers (2+, men 18–34, adults 25–54). TSN says they are numero uno based on the four regional TSN feeds versus the four Sportsnet regionals. TSN also states it is the number one specialty channel in Canada in those top three demos. Chris Zelkovich at Yahoo Sports has an excellent breakdown of it all and words from both sides. It will be interesting to see the numbers this time next year — will Rogers grow or hemorrhage viewers and can TSN keep their hockey-less numbers up by focusing on their existing major properties (CFL, soccer, tennis, motor sports) and adding some fringe sports (rugby, MMA) to their lineup.

SOCCER

If you’re a soccer fan, you probably have been blowing your load at how many soccer matches of all types from all different tournaments have been on Canadian networks in the past couple months.

TSN has already shown more coverage of international FIFA tournaments in the couple months since they obtained the rights than CBC and Sportsnet did combined during their previous years with the contract. TSN showed nearly every game live or on delay of the FIFA U20 World Cup from New Zealand with only a few matches relegated to TSN GO and over the past couple weeks featured a majority of matches from the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. They also covered the UEFA U21 Championship substantially.

The biggest even though was the FIFA Women’s World Cup being held across Canada. In obvious news, the tournament was a ratings success for CTV, TSN, and RDS. The USA vs. Japan final was watched by 2.1 million Canadian making it the most-watched Women’s WC Final ever. The Canada-England quarterfinal was the most-watched Women’s WC match ever with 3.2 million viewers and the Canadian team averaged 2.3 millions over their five games (Group: 1.6m, 1.9m, 2.1m; R16: 2.8). In other stats, nearly 60% of the country watched part of the tournament and we consumed 69 million hours of coverage collectively. That said, even with the tournament in their own backyard, TSN’s coverage seemed underwhelming compared to Fox’s. While TSN hosted a majority of the coverage from their Toronto studio, Fox had a huge set on Vancouver’s waterfront that was used for pre- and post-game coverage. Fox also managed to provide their own commentators for all games, even including some women in the pairings, while TSN only had their people covering the Canada games and the final and their women on staff were relegated to desk hosting.

Sportsnet has been covering men’s and women’s soccer from the Pan Am Games in Toronto with career freelancer Nigel Reed riding solo for every game for SN and the world feed (Meet the voice of the Pan Am soccer games). The Canadian women’s team will compete for bronze Friday night (8:30pm, SN1), the men’s bronze and women’s gold games go Saturday (1pm and 6:30pm, SN1) and ends with the men’s gold medal game on Sunday at 1pm on SN. Sportsnet also has the conclusion to the CONCACAF Gold Cup this weekend — USA vs. Panama for third place on Saturday (6pm, SN1) and Mexico vs. Jamaica for the championship on Sunday (7:30pm SN).

Sportsnet will announce later today (Friday) that they have secured the rights to the Bundesliga, the top domestic league in Germany, sub-licencing them from Fox Sports who obtained the rights back in 2013 beginning this season and running through 2020. GolTV Canada was the previous rights holder who showed a few games a week on their piss-poor excuse for a channel — it wasn’t available in HD for a majority of providers. As a result, GolTV will be shutting down at the end of August.

CSA confirms that it is looking for new broadcast partner: Sportsnet will no longer be airing matches involving the Canadian national teams after ending their contract early with the Canadian Soccer Association. The contract was due to run until the end of the year and including matches such as World Cup qualifiers and not tournament play. Canada Soccer wasn’t happy that Sportsnet couldn’t find air time in their hockey and baseball-filled schedule as well as higher-rating soccer such as the EPL. It would shock nobody is TSN were to pickup the rights to add to their vastly-growing stable of soccer programming.

Part two (NFL, CFL, other randomness) to follow over the weekend.

 

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 on Canadian TV and Radio

The 2015 edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup begins tonight with Canada taking on China from Edmonton. TSN, CTV and RDS will have live coverage of every game throughout the tournament. There will also be extensive coverage online at TSN.ca/FIFA

All Canadian games will be shown on CTV and RDS and through their respective apps/online streaming service. Encore presentations can be seen the following day on TSN and TSN GO. All 52 games will be covered across CTV and the TSN and RDS networks and their GO platforms with an extensive pre-game show for all matches and prime-time highlight recap shows during the tournament.

TSN has built a fancy new studio for World Cup coverage at their HQ in Toronto and thankfully, it comes without any gigantic touchscreens or huge floor monitors. TSN will take their coverage from FIFA’s world feed which will be the biggest and most advanced broadcast in women’s soccer. Europe’s top soccer directors have been flown in to spearhead the coverage of each match, which will be covered by 20 cameras throughout the stadiums, up from 16 for the previous Women’s World Cup. Two additional cameras will be added for the opening game as well as the semifinals and final — one high above in a helicopter and one not as high with the cable camera we are all familiar with by now.

TSN will have an extensive team bring viewers all the action: in-studio in Toronto will be Jennifer Hedger hosting with Kristian Jack and Clare Rustad breaking down the games. On-site will be host James Duthie, Kara Lang and TSN’s top commentary team Luke Wileman and Jason deVos calling all Canada matches. Sheri Forde reports for Sportscentre and in what will be a must-miss segments, Cabbie and Kate McKenna do “social reporting”.

TSN has produced more than forty original features for the World Cup, with Brian Williams being wheeled out to head up the big interviews and specials. They will air throughout the tournament during game coverage and Sportscentre and can also be found online. A list of them can be found here.

If you don’t have TSN, Fox will cover 16 games throughout the tournament including the first semifinal, third-place game and the final on July 5. Unfortunately none of the 16 will be Canadian games.

The full television schedule can be found in this previous post.

Throughout the tournament, six TSN Radio stations across Canada are joined by CFAX 1070 in Victoria, AM 1150 in Kelowna, and CKOC 1150 in Hamilton, as well as Sirius/XM 167 to deliver live radio coverage of the biggest women’s sporting event in the world. Fans can also listen live on TSN GO and on TSN.ca/Radio.

In a big month for soccer on TSN, they continue to provide live coverage of every match of the FIFA U-20 World Cup currently going on in New Zealand. That schedule can be found at TSN.ca.

2015 Stanley Cup Final on CBC, NBC, TVA Sports, OMNI

Better late than never, here are all the deets for the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

CBC (read: Sportsnet) will have comprehensive coverage of all seven games, TVA Sports will have full coverage for French-language viewers, and five of the seven games will be available on NBC for those who have had enough of Sportsnet and Rogers.

Here is the schedule. All times are Eastern.

Wed., June 3 — at Tampa Bay, 8pm
Sat., June 6 — at Tampa Bay, 7pm
Mon., June 8 — at Chicago, 8pm
Wed., June 10 — at Chicago, 8pm
Sat., June 13 — at Tampa Bay, 7:30pm
Mon., June 15 — at Chicago, 8pm
Wed., June 17 — at Tampa Bay, 8pm

Sportsnet will be making use of their multi-million dollar studio in Toronto instead of broadcasting from each arena as CBC has done in previous years. George Stroumboulopoulos hosts and is joined by analysts Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey, Mike Johnson and Nick Kypreos. The game crew has Jim Hughson on play-by-play, game analysts are Craig Simpson and Glenn Healy, and reporters Scott Oake and Christine Simpson. OMNI (Punjabi) play-by-play: Harnarayan Singh with game analysts: Randip Janda, Bhupinder S. Hundal. Games will be available on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and online for Sportsnet 590 The Fan.

For those of you who either despise Sportsnet’s coverage of the NHL in general or just want to hear better commentating/see better production, NBC will show games one, two and five to seven. Mike “Doc” Emrick, Eddie Olcyzk and Pierre McGuire will be in the booth with Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Keith Jones handling studio duties.

(My) Top 10 Music Performances on Letterman

Does this have anything to do with sports, no. However, music performances on Letterman are probably my favourite part of the show. Is this a definitive list of the best music performances on Letterman, no. But these are some of my favourites in no particular order. Sound quality is not the best on all of them (I’d say many came from VHS)

Foo Fighters – Everlong (Letterman’s favourite song)

Oasis – Live Forever (My favourite song)

New Pornographers – The Laws Have Changed

Smashing Pumpkins – Pefect

Alice in Chains – Again/We Die Young

Stone Temple Pilots – Vasoline

Blur – Tender (with a choir!)

The Black Keys – I Got Mine (remember when it was really only the 2 of them?

Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows

Coldplay – Trouble

2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup TV Schedule

With matches from Vancouver to Moncton, hopefully soccer fans all across the country can make it out to at least one Women’s World Cup game, but obviously none of us will make all of them. Amazingly, CTV/TSN and FOX are both producing an unprecedented amount of live soccer for a Women’s World Cup. Here is the full match schedule, with many games available on CTV and FOX. All times are eastern.

Saturday 6/6, 6:00pm – Canada v. China (from Edmonton) – CTV
Saturday 6/6, 9:00pm – New Zealand v. Netherlands (from Edmonton) – TSN1/3/4
Sunday 6/7, 1:00pm – Norway v. Thailand (from Ottawa) – CTV, FOX
Sunday 6/7, 4:00pm – Germany v. Ivory Coast (from Ottawa) – TSN, FOX
Monday 6/8, 4:00pm – Sweden v. Nigeria (from Winnipeg) – TSN, FOX
Monday 6/8, 7:00pm – Cameroon v. Ecuador (from Vancouver) – TSN2
Monday 6/8, 7:30pm – United States v. Australia (from Winnipeg) – TSN1/3/4
Monday 6/8, 10:00pm – Japan v. Switzerland (from Vancouver) – TSN1/3/4
Tuesday 6/9, 1:00pm – France v. England (from Moncton) – TSN, FOX
Tuesday 6/9, 4:00pm – Columbia v. Mexico (from Moncton) – TSN
Tuesday 6/9, 4:00pm – Spain v. Costa Rica (from Montreal) – TSN2, FOX
Tuesday 6/9, 7:00pm – Brazil v. South Korea (from Montreal) – TSN
Thursday 6/11, 4:00pm – Germany v. Norway (from Ottawa) – TSN
Thursday 6/11, 6:00pm – China v. Netherlands (from Edmonton) – TSN
Thursday 6/11, 7:00pm – Ivory Coast v. Thailand (from Ottawa) – TSN2
Thursday 6/11, 9:00pm – Canada v. New Zealand (from Edmonton) – CTV
Friday 6/12, 5:00pm – Australia v. Nigeria (from Winnipeg) – TSN
Friday 6/12, 7:00pm – Switzerland v. Ecuador (from Vancouver) – TSN
Friday 6/12, 8:00pm – United States v. Sweden (from Winnipeg) – CTV, FOX
Friday 6/12, 10:00pm – Japan v. Cameroon (from Vancouver) – TSN
Saturday 6/13, 1:00pm – France v. Colombia (from Moncton) – TSN, FOX
Saturday 6/13, 4:00pm – England v. Mexico (from Moncton) – CTV, FOX
Saturday 6/13, 4:00pm – Brazil v. Spain (from Montreal) – TSN
Saturday 6/13, 7:00pm – South Korea v. Costa Rica (from Montreal) – TSN
Monday 6/15, 4:00pm – Ivory Coast v. Norway (from Moncton) – TSN2
Monday 6/15, 4:00pm – Thailand v. Germany (from Winnipeg) – TSN, FOX
Monday 6/15, 7:30pm – Netherlands v. Canada (from Montreal) – CTV
Monday 6/15, 7:30pm – China v. New Zealand (from Winnipeg) – TSN
Tuesday 6/16, 5:00pm – Ecuador v. Japan (from Winnipeg) – TSN
Tuesday 6/16, 5:00pm – Switzerland v. Cameroon (from Edmonton) – TSN2
Tuesday 6/16, 8:00pm – Nigeria v. United States (from Vancouver) – CTV, FOX
Tuesday 6/16, 8:00pm – Australia v. Sweden (from Edmonton) – TSN2
Wednesday 6/17, 4:00pm – Mexico v. France (from Ottawa) – TSN, FOX
Wednesday 6/17, 4:00pm – England v. Colombia (from Montreal) – TSN2
Wednesday 6/17, 7:00pm – Costa Rica v. Brazil (from Moncton) – TSN1/3/4
Wednesday 6/17, 7:00pm – South Korea v. Spain (from Ottawa) – TSN2

Round of 16
Saturday 6/20, 4:00pm (from Ottawa) – CTV
Saturday 6/20, 7:30pm (from Edmonton) – CTV
Sunday 6/21, 1:00pm (from Moncton) – TSN
Sunday 6/21, 4:00pm (from Montreal) – CTV
Sunday 6/21, 7:30pm (from Vancouver) – CTV
Monday 6/22, 5:00pm (from Ottawa) – TSN
Monday 6/22, 8:00pm (from Edmonton) – TSN
Tuesday 6/23, 10:00pm (from Vancouver) – TSN

Quarterfinals
Friday 6/26, 4:00pm (from Montreal) – TSN, FOX
Friday 6/26, 7:30pm (from Ottawa) – CTV, FOX
Saturday 6/27, 4:00pm (from Edmonton) – CTV
Saturday 6/27, 7:30pm (from Vancouver) – CTV

Semifinals
Tuesday 6/30, 7:00pm (from Montreal) – CTV, FOX
Wednesday 7/1, 7:00pm (from Edmonton) – CTV

Medal Round
Saturday 7/4, 4:00pm – Third Place Game (from Edmonton) – TSN, FOX
Sunday 7/5, 7:00pm – Championship Final (from Vancouver) – CTV, FOX

2015 Premier League Survival Sunday Schedule

The final day of the 2014-15 Premier League season is this coming Sunday. Unlike many recent seasons, there is relatively little drama. Chelsea (84 points) will be crowned champions and will join Manchester City (76 points) and Arsenal (72 points) in the Champions League group stage next fall. Manchester United have clinched their spot in the Champions League playoff round. Technically United can catch Arsenal if they win and Arsenal lose by a combined 7 goals, but that’s unlikely. For whatever a Europa League spot is worth, Liverpool (62 points), Spurs (61 points) and Southampton (60 points) are fighting for them. Although all 3 will get into the Europa League if Arsenal wins the FA Cup against Aston Villa next weekend. Burnley and QPR (30 points each) know they are playing their last Premier League games for at least a year, while Newcastle (36 points) will try to ensure their safety, which would send Hull City (34 points) back to the Championship.

For anyone wondering what the Premier League will look like next season, Bournemouth and Watford have booked their spots in the top flight by finishing atop the Championship. They will be joined by the winner of the playoff match between Middlesbrough and Norwich.

But now back to the schedule this Sunday. NBC, TSN and Sportsnet will have the matches. I’ll add in commentator info if/when it becomes available. All times are eastern. It’s also worth noting that the matches on TSN and NBC are preceeded by the Monaco Grand Prix which tends to run past 10am ET many years.

10:00am, Hull City v. Manchester United – NBC/TSN4
10:00am, Newcastle v. West Ham – SN World
10:00am, Chelsea v. Sunderland – SN
10:00am, Stoke City v. Liverpool – SN360
10:00am, Manchester City v. Southampton – TSN1
10:00am, Everton v. Tottenham – SN World NOW (encore: 7pm ET on SN360)
10:00am, Arsenal v. West Bromwich – TSN3
10:00am, Leicester City v. QPR – TSN.ca
10:00am, Crystal Palace v. Swansea City – TSN.ca
10:00am, Aston Villa v. Burnley – SN World NOW

2015 NHL Playoffs Conference Final Schedule

All the broadcast details below, but first here is a fun fact:

Studio

  • George Stroumboulopoulos hosts the Eastern Conference Final with analysts Elliotte Friedman, Kelly Hrudey and Nick Kypreos
  • Daren Millard anchors the Western Conference Final alongside analysts P.J. Stock, Doug MacLean and Darren Pang
  • Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will host Coach’s Corner

Game Crews

New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Play-by-play: Jim Hughson; Game Analysts: Craig Simpson and Glenn Healy; Reporter: Scott Oake

Anaheim Ducks vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Play-by-play: Paul Romanuk; Game Analyst: Mike Johnson; Reporter: Christine Simpson
OMNI (Punjabi): Play-by-play: Harnarayan Singh; Game Analysts: Randip Janda, Bhupinder S. Hundal

Radio

Sportsnet 590 The FAN

  • All Conference Finals games will be available online at Sportsnet.ca/590
  • Gord Stellick and Mark Osborne host pre-, post- and intermissions, beginning 30-minutes prior to every game
  • Sportsnet 590 The FAN will broadcast select games of the Conference Finals. Please visit http://www.sportsnet.ca/590/ for broadcast schedule

Sportsnet 960 The FAN

  • All Conference Finals games will be available on Sportsnet 960 The FAN

Game schedule below. All times are Eastern.

NEW YORK RANGERS VS. TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

Sat May 16 at New York — 1pm CBC, NBC, TVA Sports
Mon May 18 at New York — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Wed May 20 at Tampa Bay — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Fri May 22 at Tampa Bay — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Sun May 24 at New York — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Tue May 26 at Tampa Bay — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Fri May 29 at New York — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports

ANAHEIM DUCKS VS. CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

Sun May 17 at Anaheim — 3pm CBC, NBC, TVA Sports
Tue May 19 at Anaheim — 9pm CBC, TVA Sports
Thu May 21 at Chicago — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Sat May 23 at Chicago — 8pm CBC, NBC, TVA Sports
Mon May 25 at Anaheim — 9pm CBC, TVA Sports
Wed May 27 at Chicago — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports
Sat May 30 at Anaheim — 8pm CBC, TVA Sports