Again, I was busy on Monday and didn’t have time to write Monday Morning Commentator. Maybe I’ll start doing mid-week notes regularly instead; it seems I have more free time on Wednesday.
- As I mentioned last week, CFL ratings are down this season. However, Sunday’s overtime thriller between the Tiger Cats and Alouettes helped the CFL gain respectable ratings for its division semifinals. A total of 961, 000 watched the East Semifinal on TSN. An additional 639, 000 watched on RDS, which can’t be overlooked considering the Alouettes involvement. Last year 1.1 million watched the East Semifinal between Hamilton and Toronto on TSN (Note: RDS numbers for last year are not available; however, they are small for non-Alouettes games). An average of 1.25 million watched the West Semifinal between Calgary and Edmonton on TSN and RDS. 2 million watched last year’s West Semifinal between BC and Saskatchewan. So, even when including RDS’s numbers for the East Semifinal, this year’s games averaged 1.43 million. Last year’s averaged 1.55.
- Of course TSN is trying to spin that CFL ratings are consistent by including RDS in the numbers in their press release this year. The fact is, they are a bit down. Of course it is fair to include RDS in the East Semi rankings because most of the Alouettes fanbase is French. While TSN’s ratings are slightly down, the number of people watching online streaming increased by 3000 over last season.
- TSN’s top production team is already in Vancouver more than a week before the Grey Cup. Dave Randorf, Matt Dunigan, Jock Clime and Chris Shultz will host TSN’s coverage of the Divisional Finals from BC Place Stadium on Sunday. Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor will call the West Final, while Rod Black and Duane Forde will call the East Final in Winnipeg. This Tiger Cat fan can’t wait to hear Winnipeg’s number one fan on Sunday.
- Bob Costas’ interview with former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky on Monday night was fantastic. Costas didn’t appear biased, only stating facts in his introduction (example: Sandusky was the former assistant coach at Penn State, he is at the centre of these allegations). Costas asked all the questions the public wanted answers to. Sandusky didn’t perform anywhere near as well. I would have liked to see Costas question Sandusky about why it took him so long to answer whether he is sexually attracted to young boys. That was the one time when Sandusky seemed hesitant during the interview. Fang’s Bites has a video of the full interview, plus a transcript.
- The way the media handled the Sandusky case, or even more so the story of the dismissal Joe Paterno was odd. TSN, for example, promoted the Nebraska @ Penn State football game, which was broadcast on TSN2, on SportsCentre. I don’t remember ever seeing a promo for a regular season college football broadcast on SportsCentre before. TSN’s attempt to gain viewers out of a tragedy bothered me. All of the networks (and social media) made a big deal about Paterno’s firing, persecuting him more than Sandusky. For that reason, I still believe Penn State would have been better off keeping Paterno as head coach until the end of the season.
- Sportsnet’s new CHL Friday Night Hockey broadcast is exactly the boast junior hockey in Canada needs. R.J. Broadhead is a huge improvement over Peter Loubardias as play-by-play. Sam Cosentino and Rob Faulds both have plenty of experience covering junior hockey. Sportsnet’s broadcasts in the past looked amateurish, especially considering they were in standard definition. Friday Night Hockey, which is broadcast in high-definition, is something I Can see myself watching most weeks.
- The Ultimate Fighting Championship made its free-television debut Saturday night on Fox. I’m not a UFC fan, so I didn’t watch much, but based on what I did see, it was a standard Fox broadcast. Dana White, the UFC’s president, was an analyst. I can only imagine the outrage if Hockey Night in Canada had Commissioner’s Corner with Gary Bettman. By all accounts, Sportsnet did a better job than Fox. By using the international feed, Sportsnet was able to show an undercard fight while Fox previewed the main event.
- Sportsnet’s broadcast averaged 198, 000. Not a spectacular number, but assuming even another 100, 000 watched on Fox, respectable. Especially considering it went head-to-head with Hockey Night and the main event lasted for less than 2 minutes of the 1 hour broadcast. I will try to post peak numbers during the fight tomorrow, which gives a more accurate picture of how many saw the fight. It really makes me wonder though, how many people are willing to pay $50 for a pay-per-view.
- The UFC fight overshadowed one of the biggest boxing fights of the year between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao. Of course one major problem for boxing was the Pacquiao fight was on pay-per-view. Pacquiao is one of boxing few superstars. I used to watch a lot of boxing; however, I have watched less and less over the past couple seasons. I have only watched one fight this year (Klitschko vs. Haye in July). That fight was on HBO, was at a friend’s house who subscribes to HBO. One factor for me is TSN’s loss of live title fights to HBO Canada. Another, maybe more subconsciously, is we now know the toll concussions take on athletes.
- The Footy Show on theScore will change timeslots beginning this weekend. It will now air Saturdays at 2pm eastern, just before theScore’s live coverage of the Serie A’s Saturday evening game. The Saturday edition replaces the Sunday morning Footy Show.
- TSN and Sportsnet both deserve credit for their excellent coverage of international soccer over the last week. TSN’s EURO 2012 studio crew of Luke Wileman, Jason de Vos and Noel Butler is the best in Canada. I hope TSN includes Rohan Ricketts in their coverage of the tournament next season though. TSN also deserves credit for taking the ESPN UK commentary of Jim Proudfoot and Iain Dowie for the Croatia vs. Turkey tie. TSN broadcast five of the six matches they had rights to. Meanwhile, Sportsnet broadcast four international friendlies, plus Canada’s World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night. Sportsnet’s broadcasts included six of the top seven teams in FIFA’s latest rankings.