Earlier this week the National Football League announced a new set of over-the-air television contracts with CBS, NBC and Fox. Things will remain mostly the same for the three network television partners, with CBS continuing to carry the AFC package, Fox the NFC package and NBC Sunday Night Football. The Kick-off Game will continue to air on NBC, while the current playoff format remains unchanged. NBC will get the Super Bowl in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2021; CBS in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022; Fox in 2014, 2017, 2020 and 2023.
However, a few aspects of the new contracts that are intriguing. The first is the ability to expand NFL Network’s schedule past the current 8 games. This suggests that NFL Network could carry games 15 weeks of the season. NFL Network still couldn’t broadcast games week 1 because NBC has a Thursday game and Week 17 because the NFL only plays on Sundays in week 17. This also seems to rule out the chance of the NFL selling an early-season Thursday package to a cable network like TNT, FX or Versus. The NFL will determine how many Thursday night games NFL Network will get in 2012 during the offseason.
Also, beginning in 2014 the NFL can move games from CBS to Fox, and vice-versa. Some might call this the “Tebow Effect” after the NFL moved an originally CBS game, Denver @ Minnesota, to Fox earlier this year. It was the first time that Tim Tebow started in a game on Fox. While it is a confusing concept, and one that could cause tension between CBS and Fox, it is a good move by the NFL. It could fix a problem where Fox has 3 really good games in a week, and CBS has none. It should mean that more viewers get good games.
NBC picks up the Thanksgiving night game, replacing NFL Network. I thought this move would have made sense when the NFL first created the Thanksgiving night game for NFL Network. It is about time they moved it to network TV. NBC will also flip one of its Wild Card Playoff games for a Divisional playoff under the new contract.
Let’s be honest here, unless the NFL wanted to move one of these packages to cable, they didn’t have any other options. ABC, whose sports division is now under the control of ESPN, had no interest in getting back into the NFL business. That only left three networks to bid for three packages, and while CBS would secretly love to get the NFC package back, all three are quite happy with the current arrangement. The good news is that the Super Bowl will stay on network TV until
network TV dies 2023. Earlier this season the NFL also re-signed their Monday Night Football deal with ESPN to last into the 2020s.
These moves probably mean little for Canadian TV rights. TSN and Sportsnet will probably battle over the next round of bidding for the Thursday night package. If it extends into October, which is likely, it will conflict with Sportsnet’s Baseball Postseason coverage. This could make TSN a more attractive option for the NFL. There is also an outside chance that Sportsnet and/or Citytv could make a bid at Sunday Night Football.
Another loss at CBC… Nabil Karim has left the public broadcaster to join TSN’s SportsCentre. Karim previously hosted Hockey Night Online, soccer broadcasts and as a reporter at the 2010 Commonwealth Games on CBC and CBC Bold. He was also a sports anchor for CBC News Network. Karim will join TSN’s World Junior Hockey Championships broadcast team as well. Andi Petrillo is replacing Karim on Hockey Night Online temporarily.
Yet another loss at CBC… Hockey Night in Canada will also lose Mike Milbury at the end of the year as he takes an expanded role at NBC and NBC Sports Network. Some might see this as a great present. I see it as an opportunity for CBC’s Hotstove. CBC could replace Milbury with Glenn Healy, which would only degrade the quality of the once mighty Hotstove. Instead CBC should add a reporter from a Montreal newspaper. This would not only add an interesting perspective (with Toronto-based, Calgary-based and Montreal-based reporters), but would also ease Canadiens fans’ concerns that the CBC hates their team. CBC need not look any farther than last Saturday’s Hotstove to find a replacement for Milbury: La Press’s François Gagnon. If not Gagnon, there are lots of good hockey writers in Quebec, I’m sure CBC can find one with a few spare minutes on a Saturday.
Bills Blackout… Not even
God Tim Tebow can save the hapless Buffalo Bills from a Christmastime blackout. This Saturday a Bills home game is blacked out for the third consecutive time as the Broncos come to Orchard Park. The game is available on CTV and CBS in western Canada; however, those feeds are likely blacked out in the Toronto/Niagara region on cable and satellite.
What Did Canada Watch in 2011… With no home Olympics the list of Canada’s most watched shows in 2011 varies greatly from the 2010 list. Check it out on CTV’s media site. Lot’s of hockey and football.
Hughson on Concussions… Here is Jim Hughson’s video blog on concussions. This is why he is one of the best.
Buck on Twitter… Fox’s Joe Buck has joined Twitter just in time for this Saturday’s important Eagles-Cowboys game. If you are on Twitter, he is a must-follow. If you still don’t have Twitter, now is a good time to get it. Buck’s responses to viewers who don’t like him are hilarious. My personal favourite:
An English coach in Montreal… Lastly, I hate the Montreal Canadiens and if hiring a sub-par coach just because he speaks French floats your boat (Canadiens fans in Quebec I’m looking at you), great. Of course right now you just have a sub-par coach who can’t speak French. In all seriousness, most of the Quebec media can speak English and Cunneyworth has a translator. I don’t see the big issue. This happens in European soccer all the time.
HBO 24/7… For those who don’t get HBO, RDS is airing 24/7 on Saturday nights leading up to the Winter Classic. It is must-watch TV.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Lastly, this is probably my last post for about a week. It’s Christmas, if you celebrate it, go spend time with your friends and family, not on here. Enjoy the NFL on Christmas Eve, NBA on Christmas Day, the Premier League on Boxing Day, the World Juniors, the Spengler Cup and college football’s bowl games. Or, if you don’t like any of those great traditions, enjoy mid-season NHL. Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate, and to those who don’t, enjoy your overtime pay and/or time off work.
Here is one last Christmas song from me to you heading into the long weekend. It is one of the best music videos ever, Run-DMC’s Christmas in Hollis.