I was too busy on Monday to write Monday Morning Commentator again this week, so, here is a quick round-up of the goings-on in Canadian sports media this week.
- First, there is an important issue I need to raise. Lately (and by lately, I mean last month) Sportsnet ran a music video with sports highlights featuring Rise Against’s “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”. This song is about bullying, and in-particular, bullying against gay and lesbian teens. Sportsnet’s video showed UFC clips while the song played. I have a major problem with this. The song is about stopping violence, while the Sportsnet video almost sent the opposite message. It is especially disturbing to me in the wake of a British Columbia teen who committed suicide after being bullied because he was gay a couple of weeks ago. For me, this was a lack of research or judgment from Sportsnet. Here is the original video. I’m sure many of you have seen the Sportsnet version.
- TSN will show their first of four university football playoff games on Friday when UBC takes on Calgary in the Canada West Hardy Cup. Rod Black and Duane Forde are in Calgary to call the game. TSN will also have the Uteck Bowl and Mitchell Bowl next Friday, and then the Vanier Cup on November 25.
- Black and Forde will stay in Alberta to call the CFL West Division Semi-final on Sunday afternoon between the Stampeders and Eskimos in Edmonton. Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor will call the East Division Semi-final from Montreal between the Alouettes and Tiger Cats.
- CFL regular season ratings this season were quite disappointing, in my opinion. According to an article in the Toronto Star this morning, TSN and RDS averaged 700, 000 viewers this season, down from 876, 000 last season. That still makes the CFL the second most popular league in Canada, behind the National Hockey League, but it is a bit concerning for a few reasons. The first is most other sports properties have ratings trending upwards, including the CFL’s main summer competitor, Blue Jays baseball. Blue Jays broadcasts on Sportsnet were up 17% this season, averaging 507, 000 viewers. Tue downturn in ratings can easily be attributed to the Roughriders and Argonuats finishing out of the playoffs. But a greater concern is the lack of star power in the league, especially once Anthony Calvillo retires. It will be interesting to see if both trends continue next season.
- I’m beginning to think the CFL signing with only TSN may have been a mistake. Next time around, the CFL may want to come up with an NFL-style deal. Maybe they should sell a game of the week back on CBC, along with a Labour Day game, a Thanksgiving Day game and the final game of the season (for a total of 22). Let TSN take 25 more for Friday Night Football. The other 30 could air on TSN on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. TSN and CBC would show 1 semi-final and 1 division final each, with the Grey Cup alternating between the two year-to-year. Some competition would improve TSN’s broadcasts, which have largely remained the same since 2007.
- Meanwhile, NHL ratings are back to normal now that the MLB postseason is over. All 5 broadcasts on CBC and TSN last week averaged over 600, 000 viewers.
- Canadian soccer fans are well-served this weekend, even those with only basic cable. TSN and TSN2 will combine for four EURO 2012 Qualifying games, while Sportsnet will broadcast three friendlies (which all feature major European teams).