The World Curling Tour has announced today that Global Television will broadcast the men’s and women’s finals of the 2012 Players’ Championship. The crown jewel of the tour was left without a broadcaster after the CBC nullified their contract just before the previous Grand Slam event in January.
This news comes as a major surprise for two reasons. The first is the rumour was then that Sportsnet was extremely interested in World Curling Tour rights, which would have included expanded coverage. The other reason is Global doesn’t have a sports production division. And for that matter, their parent company, Shaw Media, announced just last year that they wouldn’t pursue sports broadcast rights.
Former CBC analyst Don Duguid will make his return to Canadian television in Global’s broadcast booth alongside 2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard.
Here is the press release from the World Curling Tour.
Shaw Media and the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling announced today that the men’s and women’s finals of the Players’ Championship April 21-22 will be broadcast live, beginning at 12:00pm EST on Global Television.
Held annually since 2001-02, the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling is a series of four elite international events with the largest prize purse in curling, totaling $670,000.
“The Capital One Grand Slam of Curling is an outstanding addition to our lineup,” said Barbara Williams, Senior Vice President, Content. “As the crown jewel of the Grand Slam series with an elite field of competitors, it’s the perfect addition to our extensive PGA Tour coverage, adding up to a great weekend for Canadian sports fans.”
The Players’ Championship will see the debut of a new broadcast team with Olympic Silver Medalist, Cheryl Bernard teaming up with Two-time World Champion and veteran NBC Olympic commentator, Don Duguid.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity”, said Bernard, who’s team just failed to qualify for the Players’ Championship, “I have always wanted to try commentating but since I am always playing, there was never a chance. So when this became available, I jumped at it, and then to find out I will be sitting beside the master, Don Duguid, well that’s just icing on the cake.”
“I’m looking forward to being back on Canadian television,” said Duguid, the curling expert for NBC’s Olympic coverage for the past three Olympic Games. “To be able to team up with a great champion like Cheryl will enable us to provide a new perspective on this event. The Grand Slam fans are going to see a very innovative broadcast as we will be committed to interacting with the fans and also taking them behind the scenes.”
Each Slam event boasts a line-up featuring the world’s best teams competing for the CapitalOne Cup, awarded to the one men’s team and one women’s team that accumulate the most points throughout the season based on their performance in selected Capital One Grand Slam of Curling events.
“We’re excited to announce our partnership today with Shaw Media as it means that our fans will see outstanding national coverage of the brand new format we have introduced for this year’s Players’ Championship,” said Kevin Albrecht, CEO, Grand Slam of Curling “For the first time ever, the top 8 teams on the world rankings will battle it out for the largest prize purse in curling. The combined purse for the men’s and women’s divisions, including the year-end Capital One Cup, will be $370,000.”
Here is Global’s updated sports broadcast schedule for April 21 and 22.
Saturday April 21
12:00pm – Players Championship: women’s final
3:00pm – Texas Open: 3rd round
Sunday April 22
12:00pm – Players Championship: men’s final
3:00pm – Texas Open: final round