I go away for a couple of days and a number of major moves were made in the hockey industry this week. Here is a recap of what has happened this week.
- The Winnipeg Free Press has reported that TSN has picked up regional TV rights to the Winnipeg Jets. Bell also picked up radio rights for Sports Radio 1290. An official announcement is expected next week. I don’t know who will call the games yet, but my vote still goes to Rod Black and Gary Green.
- NBC and Versus have made two moves. First they hired Dave Strader away from the Phoenix Coyotes (and FS Arizona) on Tuesday. Then they hired Mike Emrick from the New Jersey Devils (and MSG). Both will now work exclusively on national TV for NBC and Versus. They join Pierre McGuire and Brian Engblom as exclusive NBC employees. I wonder if Ed Olczyk, Darren Pang or Joe Micheletti could be next? Darren Eliot could also move to Versus full time now that he no longer does Thrashers games. Or he could move to TSN (which my money is still on).
- Sportsnet has announced that Rob Kerr will takeover for Peter Loubardias calling Flames games next year. This is an excellent hire by Kerr. He is a name that is recognizable to Calgary sports fans. He will be leaving his radio show on the Fan 960 in September.
- Finally from the hockey front, RDS announced that Patrick Lalime will join their network this year, primarily working as a booth analyst on Senators broadcasts. RDS has officially joined in CBC’s love affair with ex-goaltenders.
- In other news, GolTV HD (yes that’s right HD), is now on free preview on Shaw Direct and Rogers Cable (until the end of the month). Nobody has committed to carry the HD channel after the free preview though. Live World Football Challenge and Toronto FC broadcasts will be available on the temporary HD channel. Apparently all La Liga and Bundesliga games would be available in HD as well if the channel is picked up on a full-time basis.
- Setanta Sports has picked up rights to the Scottish Premier League for the 2011-12 season, beginning this weekend. This new deal means that Celtic and Rangers fans won’t have to go to the bar to see their games. Live coverage begins this Sunday from 7:30am when Celtic travels to Hibernian.
- Some Major League Baseball All Star Game ratings. The Home Run Derby attracted 935, 000, while the game itself attracted 660, 000 on Spoortsnet. It is important to remember the Home Run Derby is only on Sportsnet in Canada, while the All Star Game is on Fox as well.
- Argonauts-Alouettes got killed head-to-head by Blue Jays-Yankees last Friday. Baseball was watched by 759, 000 to 409, 000.
- The entire Toronto-New York series on Sportsnet averaged 657, 000 viewers. Baseball on Sportsnet is certainly starting to get up there with CFL on TSN and NHL on TSN as the highest rated cable sports programs over a season.