A Good Weekend for Those Without Cable

There was a time, only 10 or 15 years ago, when many major sports events were broadcast on over-the-air networks, such as CBC, CTV and Global. In recent years most of these broadcasts have migrated to cable channels like TSN and Sportsnet, where more money is made off of them. These include The Canadian Grand Prix (CTV to TSN), Wimbledon (Global to TSN), NBA Finals (Global to TSN), Blue Jays (CBC to Sportsnet), curling (CBC to TSN), CFL (CBC to TSN) and many, many others.

This weekend is unique where three major sports events are on free television in Canada. CBC has game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night at 8pm ET. Of course the Stanley Cup Final has always aired on CBC, but it is possible the public broadcaster is in its final years as the primary NHL rightsholder in Canada. Who knows if everyone will still have access to cup-clinching games five years from now. This is the Kings’ second shot to win the 2012 Stanley Cup after losing 2-1 on Wednesday night. The pre-game show begins at 7:30pm ET. The commentators are Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Glenn Healy.

CTV has a doubleheader (of sorts) on Sunday. First up CTV Two (yes, you read that correctly) will have the Roland Garros men’s final at 9:00am ET. With either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer guaranteed a spot (they play each other in a semifinal on Friday), it will feature at least one star player. Rafael Nadal will also likely be there, barring a defeat to David Ferrer in the semis. When Nadal meets Federer or Djokovic in a Grand Slam final, the result is usually a classic match. The Commentators are Ted Robinson, John McEnroe and Mary Carillo (CTV is simulcasting NBC’s coverage).

CTV (the main network) also has the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon. Coverage begins at 1:55pm ET, with the race starting about 5 minutes later. This is the first time the Canadian Grand Prix will air on CTV in ten years. So far 2012 is the most competitive season in Formula One history. Six different drivers have won the first six races of the season for the first time ever. Three drivers are within three points of the lead for the drivers’ championship. Three others are within 25 points (the number the winner of each race receives). I am disappointed that CTV isn’t showing a pre-race though, however. The commentators are the BBC’s Ben Edwards and David Coulthard.

Also this weekend CBC has World League Volleyball from Brazil as the top-ranked hosts play Canada. The game airs Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm ET. Canada is ranked third in their group, behind Brazil and Poland. There is one other sports event on over-the-air television this weekend. Global has third and fourth round coverage of the PGA’s St. Jude Classic on Saturday and Sunday at 3:00pm ET. The field isn’t the best, with many taking the week before the US Open off, but it does include Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Henrick Stenson.

I know most who read this blog have cable or satellite. But, I still feel the need to point out this oddity for 2012.

17 thoughts on “A Good Weekend for Those Without Cable

  1. Thanks for the update.

  2. I think tsn should be using ctv for weekend sports coverage way more often. A saturday night cfl game on ctv,for example, would be very beneficial???? OTA sports sort of disappeared in canada (HNIC, golf,nfl being exceptions) with TSN’s monoply. Major sporting events are still mainly OTA in the USA and it works but i guess fox,nbc,cbs and abc have way more money than ctv,cbc,global and citytv as far as bidding goes.

    • I suspect even golf and NFL wouldn’t be as attractive for O-T-A in Canada either if it weren’t for the lure of the all-mighty simsub dollar. I think that’s the main reason why TSN keeps the CFL and Grey Cup for itself while CTV shows the Super Bowl.

    • Great idea. Just as long as the sporting even doesn’t interfere with a newscast. Everyone would be angry if CTV cut out of a game at 11pm to go to the National News.

  3. If you have access to ota like I do then you should be able to watch anything that is on CBS, ABC, FOX and if your lucky NBC as well as CBC, GLOBAL, CTV, CITYTV and sometimes events on OMNI 1 or 2. I have both Satellite and OTA and can say first hand the HD reception and picture is noticeably clearer on OTA than Sat.

    • Not everyone lives in Toronto. So, no, I’d say most can’t access US channels OTA. I know I can’t for sure.

      • I am 4 hrs from Toronto and that is a huge insult assuming I did, lol.

        • I live in the northern suburbs of Toronto, and I thought about getting an HD antenna to replace cable… The saleswoman at The Source said it was useless where I live, because of all the interference in the area. Either I get closer to Toronto to get some signals straight-on, or further away into Cottage Country to avoid interference. She said I’d be lucky to get 1-2 stations unless the antenna was extremely tall. So… that’s that.

          • Hey Mark, if you want to try, and make your own, and see how many channels you get, follow this youtube demo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWQhlmJTMzw
            I’m not too far from Downtown, and I made my own HD Antenna (coat hangers, screws, a piece of wood). I also borrowed a store bought OTA antenna that my friend purchased. The number of channels I was able to receive was the same! (I got a lot of channels). If I didn’t need live sports, I’d scrap cable all together.

            It doesn’t cost much at all, and it’s really easy to make. Give it a try, and if you like, it and get more channels than you thought, then you can buy one. No offense to the girl at the Source, but sometimes they’re not that well informed.
            I must agree that the OTA HD signal, is sharper than the HD cable signal. (IMO)
            I hope the link is allowed.

          • Since you are in the northern part of Toronto, just go buy a cheap Philips HD Antenna. Its only 25.00. I live in Regaina SK and since it is flat there is tons of interference. But I get 4 channels and great reception. If the antenna doesn’t work, take it back.

  4. CTV messed up here in Calgary. They don’t have the French open on TSN2 like they were supposed to.

  5. No Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix here on CTV Ottawa this Sunday.

  6. Why can i not reply to Marc? Anyway, Marc go to tvfool website an enter yr postal code, it will give u a list of all the ota channels u should receive, and you don’t need a hd antenna.

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