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.