In All the Kerfuffle, TSN Has Missed an Oppertunity

The NHL trade deadline is an annual flash point when TSN and Sportsnet try to prove they are superior to one another. On Monday both networks will bring out their hosts, NHL analysts, “insiders” (for whatever that word is worth), western experts (thank Sportsnet for that one), reporters panels and the latest invention, social media reporters. Both networks follow potential trades closely leading up to the deadline, promoting their coverage for the month between the All Star Break and the deadline. Some get annoyed by the coverage, while others (such as Toronto Sports Media) love it. The ratings, in fact, show that many love it.

That is why I think TSN is missing out on an opportunity Sunday night. NBC Sports Network is showing a Blackhawks @ Canucks game at 7:00pm ET on Sunday night. TSN2 usually shows NBC Sports Network’s NHL broadcasts. Instead TSN2 is showing the World Sledge Hockey Challenge on tape delay Sunday night at the same time as the NHL game is on in the States. TSN should have taken full advantage of the trade deadline hype to show an NHL game on a dead night in television – for those who don’t want to watch the Oscars or a meaningless basketball game. Not to mention the Ducks are 6 points out of the playoffs, while the Blackhawks are only 5 points ahead of 8th placed Dallas.

TSN could have even used their own studio crew for the game to give updates on the latest rumours. Sure it wouldn’t be worth it to bring in Duthie or McKenzie the night before the deadline, but the That’s Hockey 2 Nite crew is already working Sunday night. Steve Kouleas and Jamie McLennan are hosting a one hour pre-TradeCentre special at midnight on Sunday night. Surely they could do a couple of intermission segments earlier in the evening as well.

If the game was broadcast in Canada, I would watch. I’m sure others would too. I’d rather watch an actual NHL game than the hours of talk on Monday. Maybe TSN has reasons for not showing the game that I’m not aware of, but if not, I don’t know why they wouldn’t show the game.

Flyers-Sharks… On the other hand, TSN2 has added a Flyers-Sharks game to their schedule on Tuesday. NBC Sports Network is showing the game in the US; however, they will likely just use the local broadcast of the Flyers or the Sharks. Puck drop is at 10:30pm ET. TSN2 also has Kings-Wild at 7:30pm ET. It also looks like TSN2 will show NBC’s studio show between the two games.

Comparing Deadline Coverage… Confused by the length of the TSN and Sportsnet trade deadline press releases? Puck the Media compares them.

Formula One coverage not confirmed… A few readers have asked about TSN’s 2012 Formula 1 schedule. The Canadian Grand Prix is mysteriously missing. TSN’s programming department tells me this is not a typo and they “will know where and what time coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix will start in the coming weeks.”

TSN’s schedule conflict stems from the EURO 2012 game between Ireland and Croatia that is on at the same time. The Canadian Grand Prix goes green at 2pm ET this year, an hour later than the usual 1pm ET start time. This is because, as Kristian Jack remarked, Formula 1 likely wants to avoid competing with the Italy vs. Spain EURO 2012 game from 12-2pm ET. A soccer game between two world powers would negatively affect Formula 1’s viewership in Europe and Asia, especially in Formula 1 hotbeds like Italy and Spain.

Sky or BBC… In related news, TSN’s programming department also tells me that they will decide on whether to use the Sky or BBC commentary in the coming weeks. Sky takes over as the main broadcaster of Formula 1 in Britain this year, showing every race live. BBC One will also show 10 races live, but will record commentary live for every race as part of their highlights program. BBC has hired Ben Edwards to join David Clouthard in the commentary box for 2012. Sky’s commentary team has a BBC flair to it as former radio play-by-play David Croft will describe the action alongside former TV commentator Martin Brundle, who moves back to his traditional analyst role this year. Natalie Pinkham (from BBC Radio) and Ted Kravitz (from BBC TV) are Sky’s pitlane reporters.

No IndyCar on TV in 2012?… The Star’s Norris McDonald reports that with only a month to go until the start of the new IndyCar season, the sanctioning body doesn’t have a Canadian TV deal yet. TSN has conflicts with about 4 of the 16 races, by my quick estimation.

TFC Return to Sportsnet… Many Toronto FC fans were upset that many of their games were broadcast on GolTV Canada, a digital only channel that isn’t part of basic cable last season. The club has come to an agreement with Sportsnet where Sportsnet will show six games this season. GolTV will show ten.

14 thoughts on “In All the Kerfuffle, TSN Has Missed an Oppertunity

  1. Question: Since BBC only has 10 races live, that means TSN must go with Sky for all the other races right? I’ll be irate if we just get extended highlight packages for half the races. The best way to go is to only show Sky’s coverage.

    BBC’s F1 coverage looks like it’s just a bunch of replacements thrown into the ring to replace the superior talent they one had. It will probably be passable but not as good as it used to be. Sky on the other hand is new, fresh, and exciting. Their on-air talent is better and they’re going to have a bunch of new and innovative ways to bring F1 racing to the viewer.

    • Not necessarily. BBC will still record full commentary for all the other 10 races, but it just won’t be shown live in the UK (and in fact, some of it won’t be shown at all in the UK). I’d compare it to Champions League, where Sportsnet uses Sky’s commentary regardless of whether they are showing the game or not. For example Wednesday’s Marseille vs. Inter game was only shown in highlight form later in the evening on Sky, while ITV showed it live. Sportsnet still used the Sky commentators.

      As far as the talent, I really like Clouthard. He certainly is BBC’s bright spot. Jake Humphries hosting (although we don’t see him in Canada) is good too. But otherwise, Sky’s team is far superior.

  2. Regarding the F1 coverage, if TSN is showing Euro 2012 and TSN2 is showing NASCAR on the day of the Canadian Grand Prix, isn’t the only place left to show the race CTV? And couldn’t CTV then pick up the Fox broadcast which would allow them a simsub since unlike Speed, Fox can’t be blacked out (not normally in issue since Fox’s 3 other F1 races are shown taped delayed anyway). TSN’s F1 coverage is already a joke but not airing the Canadian Grand Prix live would really be a slap in the face. At least we know it’ll be on Fox and RDS though… not that it’ll affect me as I’ll be watching the race from my seat in grandstand 11 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve :)
    As for IndyCar on TV in Canada, I know in the past some of the races already ended up being shown taped delayed on TSN when there were conflicts with things like afternoon NHL playoff games, NASCAR, CFL to think of a few. I don’t know if Sportsnet would have any room for IndyCar. Obviously they’re Blue Jays heavy from April-September and also have some NFL when it starts. But they did manage to work in some ALMS races last year if I recall.

    • Re: CTV, I would assume so. They could also move the NASCAR race to tape delay in primetime (show it on tape delay from 4-8pm ET, between F1 and Sunday Night Baseball). I imagine Formula 1 would get better ratings than NASCAR.

      As far as IndyCar and Sportsnet, I’m sure they could fit it on One at least, with maybe Indy and the Canadian races on the main channels. There is only 1 race after the NFL season begins (and it is on a Saturday night).

  3. I don’t follow auto racing. But if CTV doesn’t at least show the Canadian Grand Prix live, then that is really bad decision making and Bell Media deserves to get a lot of criticism should they decide not to air the Canadian GP live. On the other hand, if CTV shows it live, hopefully they will produce their own coverage instead of going for the almighty simsub money.

    • If CTV does air the Canadian Grand Prix one would assume they’d show it just like TSN does using the British commentary from Sky/BBC (TSN hasn’t used their own commentators on the CGP since 2006). However I thought I’d put out the possibility that for the Canadian Grand Prix they could simsub Fox instead for that race only. TSN always blacks-out live Speed coverage of F1 to prevent competition but the Canadian Grand Prix is the 1 race a year where they do have competition from Fox as it can’t be blacked-out. So airing it on CTV and picking up the Fox feed (allowing a simsub) would be just as good as a blackout, in theory.

  4. CTV could do either (use the Sky/BBC commentary) or (simsub the coverage from Fox) if they show the Canadian Grand Prix. Alternatively, they can produce their own coverage. Just as long as they show it. That’s what matters most to Formula 1 fans here in Canada. Here’s another question that I just thought of: if CTV (Bell Media) cannot show the event, is it possible that they could sell or sub license the rights to the Canadian GP to Sportsnet? I know that might be tough because they are busy showing the Blue Jays & Major League Baseball coverage. What do you guys think?

  5. Has TSN ever produced their own coverage for the Canadian F1 grand prix, even if it’s just pre- and post-race? Seems crazy if they don’t. Then again, it’s F1, so what do they really care; They barely get it right when they use the UK feed.

  6. This is the kind of blog posts I come here for. Great work J.

  7. As long as TSN doesn’t use the Speed feed I’ll be a happy camper!

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