We have a very interesting development in Canadian sports today as CBC have announced that they will partner with Rogers Sportsnet to bring Canadians live coverage of every 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup match. This is the first time every match from a Women’s World Cup will air on TV in Canada. For the 2009 Women’s World Cup, I remember that CBC had all the Canadian women’s games live, as well as some quarter finals, the semi finals and the final, but otherwise there was no coverage at all the other round robin games in Canada. I also seem to remember that Bold aired much of the weekday action, with CBC only airing primetime taped coverage of some games. This also has some broader implications that I’ll get into later, but first the details of the agreement.
- CBC will air 3 round robin games, all involving Canada. These games are Saturday June 26 at 12:00pm ET vs. Germany, Wednesday June 30 at 12:00pm ET vs. France and Tuesday July 5 at 2:45pm ET vs. Nigeria. It appears that all 3 games will air on the main CBC network live and in high definition.
- Rogers Sportsnet will air the rest of the group stage matches. Presumably some of these will air on Rogers Sportsnet One, although the exact Sportsnet network that they will air on hasn’t been confirmed.
- CBC will air 3 quarter finals games (presumably two on Saturday July 9 and one on Sunday July 10), while Sportsnet will have the other. CBC will also have both semi finals live (on Wednesday July 13), the 3rd place game on Saturday July 16 and the World Cup Final on Sunday July 17. Once again it appears all of this coverage will air on the main CBC network, not Bold.
- Sportsnet will air a nightly wrap-up show, presumably under the SoccerCentral brand. This could be a lot like The Score’s World Cup Tonight at last year’s World Cup in South Africa. However, I’d think the wrap-up show will only be 30 minutes for the Women’s World Cup.
- CBC Sports will produce the broadcasts, with commentators from both networks appearing. This means that Scott Russell, Gerry Dobson, Nigel Reed, Craig Forrest and Jason de Vos are all expected to appear. I’d also expect CBC/Sportsnet to employ a former Canadian Women’s National Team member as an analyst. The recently retired Kara Lang would be my choice.
Here are some quotes from CBC Sports and Rogers Sportsnet.
“World Cup level soccer continues to grow in popularity, so it was important to us to be able to offer Canadians the full slate of matches in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. We’re pleased to partner with Rogers Sportsnet to use our combined resources to provide outstanding and unprecedented coverage.” – David Masse, Senior Director of CBC Sports.
“We are proud to be partnering with CBC and offering Canadians the very best from the FIFA Women’s World Cup. This is a great tournament and Rogers Sportsnet is committed to giving our viewers access to the most exciting teams in the world.” – said Scott Moore, President, Rogers Broadcasting.
Of course Moore, who appears to have been instrumental in getting this deal done, was the head of CBC Sports up until this past fall when Rogers head Keith Pelley offered him as job at Rogers. It seems that Moore left CBC on good terms and is interested in working with CBC on future agreements, especially now that there is a bit of a gulf between TSN and Rogers because of numerous factors.
This is great news for women’s soccer and soccer fans in Canada. First it means that all games will be on live TV, which has never happened before in Canada and I’m not even sure it has happened anywhere else. This is absolutely unprecedented for women’s soccer and both CBC and Rogers should be commended for offering Canadians complete coverage of a Women’s World Cup. Aside from Canadian games, I’ve never really followed women’s soccer before, but I’ll probably try to make an effort to watch this.
The second thing that stands out is it seems Bold is out as a broadcaster of international soccer. The CRTC came down on Bold for airing soccer last year because it doesn’t fit under the station’s license, which is to serve rural Canadians. If Bold is indeed gone from airing soccer, this could mean future deals between CBC and Rogers to split up games in other competitions, like the World Cup.
Finally, by looking at the big picture, this really makes you wonder if Rogers, under new leadership, will jump ship on TSN and bid with CBC for the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games. Reports came out that CTV and Rogers planned to bid on the Olympics together again; however, tensions have been high between the networks with Damien Cox leaving TSN for Rogers, TSN not allowing its personalities (Darren Dreger, Dan Shulman etc.) to appear on any radio stations owned by Rogers, TSN launching its own radio station in Toronto to compete directly against The Fan 590 and heavy battles for broadcast rights for seemingly everything in the past month. With Keith Pelley, former CTV Olympic head, leading Rogers, it seemed a no brainier that Pelley would try to keep the Consortium alive, but with these developments and Moore coming over from CBC, it almost seems that it would now make more sense for CBC and Rogers to launch a bid together.
Plus, CBC and Sportsnet easily have the best amateur sports coverage in Canada, especially for the Winter sports. They have the commentators who cover these sports year in, year out.
Super 15 Rugby Returns This Weekend
Super 15 Rugby returns this weekend and Setanta Sports has all the action covered with 5 live matches in Canada. Super 15 is the top competition for rugby union in the south, combining teams from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Setanta’s schedule for the opening round of competition is:
Friday 2/18, 1:30am – Wellington Hurricanes vs. Otago Highlanders
Friday 2/18, 3:30am – Melbourne Rebels vs. New South Wales Waratahs
Saturday 2/19, 1:30am – Auckland Blues vs. Canterbury Crusaders
Saturday 2/19, 3:30am – Canberra Brumbies vs. Waikato Chiefs
Sunday 2/20, 1:30am – Queensland Reds vs. Perth Western Force
TSN Radio 1050 to Launch
TSN has announced that its much anticipated radio station in the Toronto market, which will be 1050 on the AM dial, will launch on April 13. TSN has already secured radio rights for the Toronto Argonauts, EURO 2012, the Open Championship and golf’s US Open. This is the first real competition that The Fan 590, owned by Rogers, has faced in the Toronto market. TSN has hired Mike Richards (no, not the Flyers captain, but it would be cool if he was a regular guest) to be the host of the morning drive show. There have been rumous that this could be simulcast on TSN2, which would mean the SportsCentre Morning Rush would only air in the early and late morning. This is just part of the ongoing battle between Canada’s two media giants, Bell and Rogers, that I mentioned earlier in the article.
Continue after the page break to see how CBC and Sportsnet could do commentating duties for a Winter Olympics.
There are many reasons why a CBC-Rogers bid would make sense. The first is that CBC has a better pool of amateur sports commentators than TSN for the most part. The second is that CBC doesn’t own a cable sports network, while Rogers doesn’t own an over-the-air network that reaches all of Canada. As a result, there wouldn’t be the competition between TSN and Rogers. It would also be fair to say that Rogers and CBC personalities would get along better. Using the 2010 Olympics as an example, here is how commentators could have worked if CBC and Rogers co-owned rights.
Men’s Hockey #1: Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson, Glenn Healy
Men’s Hockey #2: Bob Cole, Garry Galley, Greg Millen
Men’s Hockey #3: Peter Loubardias, John Garrett
Women’s Hockey: Kevin Quinn, Cassie Campbell-Pascal
Figure Skating: Mark Lee, Kurt Browning, Tracy Wilson
Curling: Bruce Rainnie, Mike Harris, Joan McCusker
Speed Skating: Steve Armitage, Catriona Le May Doan
Short Track: Rob Faulds, Susan Auch
Alpine Skiing: Gerry Dobson, Kerrin Lee-Gartner, Brian Stemmle
Nordic Skiing: RJ Broadhead, Beckie Scott, Jack Sasseville, Daniel Lefebvre, Rob Keith
Freestyle Ski: Brenda Irving, Veronica Brenner, Jeff Bean
Snowboarding: Brenda Irving, Tara Teigen
Bobsleigh: Mark Connolly, Dave MacEachern
Luge: Mark Connolly, Chris Wightman
Skeleton: Mark Connolly, Duff Gibson