Mid-Week Notes: November 9

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).

11 thoughts on “Mid-Week Notes: November 9

  1. Normally I don’t watch television on a weekday afternoon (unless a live sport event is playing). I did see that the main TSN feed will show the Turkey-Croatia game at 2 pm this Friday. I don’t follow the English Premiership League, Italian Serie A, or other soccer leagues. Though when it’s something like Euro 2012 or the World Cup, then I watch. I didn’t really watch qualifying games for the World Cup or Euro tournaments in the past. So I made it a goal for myself to watch a qualifying match and that’s what I will watch this Friday afternoon. :)

  2. CFL decision to go entirely on TSN was shortsighted. And fact they didn’t put the Grey Cup on CTV is still strange. Read before it was in the contract with TSN that the game could NOT be moved over to CTV. Having SuperBowl on network TV but not the Grey Cup doesn’t make sense. CFL wants highest ratings possible and they have the biggest game only on cable/satellite. And for once I agree with a certain columnist in the Globe and Mail. The TSN broadcasts have become stale. No competition = No innovation.

    Now whether or not CTV would want the CFL playoffs is another matter. Bumping off the NFL games for 2 weeks? Might be problematic. Then the Grey Cup would mean messing up a Sunday night of US programming. Combo of TSN and CBC would be best. Like it used to be.

    • Actually it does make sense from CTV and TSN’s point of view to have the Super Bowl on CTV and the Grey Cup on TSN. Having the Super Bowl on CTV guarantees them a big audience by raking in the simsub viewers. If the Grey Cup were on CTV they would in theory lose out on a night of simsubbing other American drama/sitcom/etc programming and TSN would be relegated to showing filler programming like darts or poker. This way CTV gets to still air/simsub an American show and TSN gets to air the Grey Cup, both of which will get a big audience.

  3. I don’t think signing with TSN was a mistake at all. TSN has done a lot of good for the league over the last 4 years and people forget how horrible the CBC coverage was. Plus, CBC couldn’t compete financially the last time around and it will be even more so now that the days of endless taxpayer money to fund who knows what appear to be over.

    • CBC was only horrible after they lost Cuthbert and Williams. Before, that, they were great. As long as Mark Lee and Chris Walby don’t return together in the booth, CBC’s coverage would be fine.

  4. Tsn has done good things for the cfl good coverege etc and no i don’t think it was a mistake at all could it be better sure but over all it was a good move.As for cbc getting it back i think there are a couple issues with that first there are some that don’t think cbc should be in the pro sports game the other big issues is with people wanting there budget cut if they win the next round of nhl rights and get the cfl rights i just can’t see it going over very well with most.As for the idea of a tsn-cbc combo the only thing i could see working and keep people happy is for the tsn and cbc to work oput a deal where 6-10 games would be on cbc every year this way cbc would not have to put out a bunch of money to get there rights and it would help tsn.

  5. Good stuff Josh

    I’m going to put the Rise Against video/UFC issue to my Grade 12 Law class and Debate team and see what shakes out.

    • Sounds interesting. I’d love to hear what the consensus is. FWIW, I’m not saying that MMA promotes violence. I’m just saying that the original message of the song is so strong, yet it is lost in the Sportsnet video. I wish I could find the Sportsnet video online, but I can’t. And I think they’ve taken it out of their rotation – I remember seeing it a lot during the MLB playoffs.

  6. Can someone explain to me why the CFL playoffs are not played on Saturdays rather than Sundays against the NFL, I realize that more people tune into the CFL than NFL in this country (me not included) but why would you not want to have the Saturdays all to yourself?

    • The CFL still gets higher Sunday afternoon ratings than the CFL. The CFL also gets higher ratings on Sunday than it does on Saturday. Traditionalists were pissed off when TSN tried putting the games on Saturday in 2008. See this article by Chris Zelkovich.


      The ratings for the CFL division semifinals since 2007 (CBC’s last year). All are on Sunday except 2008.
      2007 – 842, 000 & 1 million
      2008 – 610, 000 & 862, 000
      2009 – 1.36 million & 1.55 million
      2010 – 1.1 million & 2 million
      2011 – 1.6 million & 1.4 million

      As you can see, 2008 sticks out. Sunday is a traditional football viewing day. Some viewers will watch multiple games at once, or at least check out the CFL game if the NFL game they are watching is a blowout (ex. Bills-Cowboys on Sunday).

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