theScore: An End of an Era (1997-2012)

For the past 15 years theScore was the “different” sports network. Unlike TSN and Sportsnet, it was never owned by major corporations like Bell, Rogers, Labatt, ESPN or FOX. It revolutionized the double-line ticker, a feature uniquely Canadian for the most part. theScore spent 15 years focusing on the sports that TSN and Sportsnet didn’t have time for. Showing segments, such as Cabbie on the Street, that would eventually be eaten up by TSN or Rogers. And so it’s only fitting, and sad, that after 15 years theScore itself is about to become a Rogers property.

theScore created many programs and segments that are as well-known as any on Canadian TV. SportsWorld became the destination for soccer news with host James Sharman. It was succeeded by The Footy Show. Considering Sportsnet already has a top soccer department with a new nightly show, the future of The Footy Show is in serious doubt. Ironically, like so many others, former Score employees Brendan Dunlop (host) and Thomas Dobby (producer) are at the head of the new Sportsnet show.

Court  Surfing and its signature segment Court Cuts were appointment viewing for Canadian hoops fans. The Court Surfing format has been adopted by the rest of the North American pro leagues. It also provided a base for theScore to show NCAA March Madness in 2008.

theScore has covered its fair share of major events over 15 years. They had the World Series in 2002 and 2003 when the Angels beat the Giants in 7 and the Marlins upset the Yankees in 6. The Expos last home game in 2004. And many other baseball games in between. Sunday 11am Premier League matches aired on the network for a number of seasons. NBA, college football and basketball, and Serie A fans have also found a home with the network over the years.

The Score Tonight was once the signature program of the network. It was nightly viewing for me. And one of the few Canadian sports highlights shows that I can honestly say was better than SportsCentre. Of course it was dropped long before Rogers became involved, but is nonetheless and important part of the history of theScore.

ESPN’s Adnan Virk; CBC’s Elliotte Friedman; TSN’s James Cybulski, Sara Orlesky and Steve Kouleas; and Sportsnet’s Brendan Dunlop, Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro all got their start at theScore. All have moved on to have very successful careers elsewhere.

The saddest part of theScore becoming a Rogers property is it is no longer the underdog. In fact there is no longer a privately-owned underdog in Canadian sports broadcasting. There’s just TSN and Sportsnet, who can spend money out of their ass, and the publicly-owned CBC who would love to be able to do the same. I think that’s what many loved about theScore, they didn’t have a lot of money to spend, but they spent it wisely. Now theScore is just going to become another generic “Sportsnet” in Rogers’ multi-platform brand.

Over the past couple years Greg Sansone, James Sharman and Kristian Jack have been among the best on-air personalities at any network for answering questions and conversing with me. I wish all three, as well as anyone else whose job is in jeopardy due to the takeover, the best. I’m sure they’ll land on their feet somewhere else in Canadian broadcasting because they are three of the best. Sansone’s role behind the scenes at theScore in recent years cannot be overlooked.

21 thoughts on “theScore: An End of an Era (1997-2012)

  1. Score Tonight with Tim and Sid was the best,always enjoyed when Cabbie came on with them

  2. Can’t say I’ve watched much of The Score the last couple years as various shows have been cancelled. I appreciated the early years before I got the internet as that was the place to go for the latest sports scores rather than waiting for TSN Sportsdesk. I remember Diamond Surfing in the summer of 2000 which was a nice alternative to pretty much only Blue Jays games back then. And although I wasn’t really a Montreal Expos fan, I commended them for picking up a package of their games in the final year 2004 under tough circumstances when no other broadcaster, English or French, really wanted anything to do with them. And wasn’t The Score the network that kind of started the insanity that has now become the NHL trade deadline day coverage at the other networks?

  3. Its a sad day in the canadian sports broadcasting landscape. What happens to the properties they still have?? Example OUA football, WWE, NCAA sports. Does Rogers just absorb it and do as they want or is it terminated??

    • They absorb the rights, I believe. I doubt OUA football is worth the $ for them. They’ll probably keep the WWE and NCAA. Ironically the FOX NCAA package aired on Sportsnet until theScore acquired rights beginning this season.

  4. Agree with everything you’ve said. They may not have had a tonne of money but it was well spent. The amount of sports they “popularized” only to have the other two comeand buy the rights away… Most importantly all the on air people seemed genuine and not overacting their place.

    Really hope Sharms and KJ don’t get left out in the cold. They get across more about footy than any of the other talking heads on the shows now. I can’t even watch the others anymore. Love everything that they do.

    Just really sad that Rogers will no doubt completely sanatize the network of any of its prior personality.

  5. One of the first things that I remember about The Score was that they were not allowed to air any highlights from TSN & RDS when both networks were owned by the now defunct Netstar. One time (I think it was 1999), Headline Sports / The Score was running some highlights with Lisa Bowes and someone put up a graphic on one of the television screens in the studio that read “TSN RULES”. It had came up multiple times within that particular segment. Fun stuff. The Score will be missed. :(

  6. “There’s just TSN and Sportsnet, who can spend money out of their ass”
    Tell that to TSN who has kept from upgrading to more modern production values such as on screen displays like graphics and studio adjustments, which hasn’t been changed since ’04 unlike their counterpart or rivals such as Sportsnet, ESPN, CBC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ect. time for a change in look but not in personality. Hope Rogers keeps the score as what it is with minor changes if at all. At least one channel to tune in and find out THE SCORE.

    • TSN has spent a crazy amount on rights over the past 18 months. And a new studio.

      Unlike the other networks you mentioned, TSN is doing their new graphics in-house. They’ve introduced various new elements over the past 2 years. And completely new graphics for golf and figure skating. I’m sure they’re coming for everything else.

  7. I know I always love TSN for it’s sportcentre and sports it showed and sportsnet now for the soccer and stuff, but i know when I was younger I always enjoyed watching the Score for the little detail things they went into, the funny guys on there, sure Dan and Jay are the best for TSN, but I remember some funny moments on the Score, even the footy show sucked when they lost EPL rights, and whatever but those guys were great, Cabbie and Gerry Dee were fantastic and awesome to watch and will be missed even if they left like some of the other guys before. But ya score was that one fun sports one and had the outside edge on everyone but it was fun. Started watching it less and less as years went on and people left but it’s just going to be kinda weird it not there at all anymore.

  8. I really hope Sharmen and KJ get to continue with the footy show podcasts and blogs. It would also be great if they got their show back. They have been the best at covering football in this country. For me, the pinnacle was the World Cup Tonight show they had during the last world cup.

    Also sorry to nitpick but Elliotte Friedman was around on the sports scene long before the Score. As a kid growing up in Canada prior to any all sports channels I listened to a lot of sports radio. When ever I hear his name mentioned I still always think of him as the ‘Telemedia Encyclopedia’.

  9. so oua football is gone…that sucks.Tsn usually only shows Vanier cup.

    Josh any word on where ESPN college gameday will be shown this year??

    The score had it a few years back and tsn last year if im not mistaken.

  10. This is a damn shame.
    KJ and James are can’t miss TV for me

    Other than the annoying WWE stuff, the Score was the best sports station for talk.
    The only place the NFL and college football of both types gets any love.
    Plus the BBJ crew is THE only decent hoops talk in the city.
    Why does the CRTC allow this concentration in the market?

    This is really sad news

    • Agreed on James and KJ, especially. Even they aren’t sure of their future come the new year, which is sad.

      The biggest reason why the CRTC allows it is because ScoreMedia was losing money on the TV channel. They had it for sale for a year before Rogers bought it. Nobody else wanted it. Unfortunately, Rogers taking over the channel is probably the only way it was going to be saved in the long run.

  11. Pingback: Industry Update – CRTC News: The League, Quest, Paul Girouard, theScore, Must-Carry Channels | TV, eh?

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s