One day after Rogers President Keith Pelley announced that his network won’t be pursuing the 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games, CBC/Radio-Canada and Bell Media have announced they will be, together. The new partnership, which is independent of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, have agreed to bid on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. This news comes as a bit of a surprise to me as I thought that Bell would go at the Olympics alone this time around.
What this does do though, is combine the two most serious Olympic bidders. As a result, the rights fee will be kept to a minimum, benefiting both Bell and CBC (as well as Canadian taxpayers). This is similar to how ITV and BBC, the two main broadcasting networks in Britain, share World Cup TV coverage.
Here is a quote from Bell Media President Kevin Crull:
The Olympic Games are a premium property that requires a strong partnership in order to deliver the level of experience that Canadian viewers and advertising partners now expect. With our combined resources and experience, this strategic alliance with CBC/Radio-Canada allows us to deliver the best possible Games experience to Canadians, and ensure the legacy of the Olympic movement in this country. Of course London 2012 is just around the corner, and we look forward to extending the successful partnership with Rogers exhibited at Vancouver 2010 into a powerful media experience for viewers once again.
And a quote from Kirstine Stewart, Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC/Radio-Canada:
This partnership is positive news for Canadians as it is a first and important step in renewing the Olympic tradition on all of the public broadcaster’s platforms. With our commitment to keep offering world-class sports events, including Olympic Games, we will continue optimizing partnership opportunities like this one for the benefit of all Canadians
I expect that CBC and CTV will share over-the-air coverage, with CTV probably airing less than CBC, especially in primetime. However, it is possible that CTV isn’t included at all. There has been no indication yet as to what channels will be used. TSN and TSN2 will be the main cable providers, with Bold likely involved as well. Radio-Canada will carry the brunt of French-language programming, with RDS, RDS2 and RDS Info supplementing coverage.
Many of the best Olympic presentations came between 1998 and 2008 when CBC and TSN pooled their resources to cover the Games. Those productions had a heavy CBC slant, mostly using CBC commentators and even graphics. CBC produced on-site coverage for TSN, except in 2002 I believe, while TSN only produced their studio show. Expect things to be different this time around. There will still be a number of high-profile CBC commentators, but expect TSN will provide more of its commentators as well.
Just imagine the three men’s hockey crews, Chris Cuthbert and Ray Ferraro; Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson; and Gord Miller and Glenn Healy, with Mark Lee and Cassie Campbell calling women’s hockey. Which raises the question, Sunday February 23, 2014, the men’s ice hockey final between Canada and Russia live from Bolshoi Ice Palace, who calls it? Jim Hughson or Chris Cuthbert? Or do CBC and Bell do separate broadcasts of the hockey final? I’d like to hear everyone’s thoughts on this, so leave a comment.
If Bell and CBC win, which I fully expect they will, then theme song (the best, in my opinion) will probably make a return.