Is Hockey Night in Kazan coming to a TV screen near you? The Kontinental Hockey League recently re-newed its online streaming deal with ESPN3 in America (contrary to other reports, ESPN has held rights in the past). ESPN3 will show 5 games in the first week and a half of the KHL season.
According to Russian/American hockey reporter Dmitry Chesnokov, the KHL is now shopping Canadian rights. Some would argue that Bell and Rogers (and CBC, for that matter) would hesitate to sign a deal with the rival league to the NHL considering they don’t want to sour relations ahead of the big national TV rights battle in the coming years. I disagree. KHL games rarely go head-to-head with NHL games anyway, due to the timezone difference. And, let’s be honest, is the NHL going to turn away millions from Bell or Rogers because they showed a couple KHL games in the past? I doubt it. Money talks.
TSN would benefit most from KHL rights. They have no major live hockey properties until the World Juniors and Spenger Cup in December. Sportsnet has the Canadian Hockey League and the CHL/Russia junior challenge.
While the KHL is an attractive property, I wonder if it is the most cost-efficient for a Canadian network. So far, few Canadians have committed to play in Russia. What might make more sense is the European Trophy. It features teams from across Europe. The round robin will continue on various dates in October and November. The playoff rounds all take place before Christmas.
Regardless of what other hockey TSN can acquire, they should gain big ratings come December if the NHL is still locked out. The World Junior team could become one of the best in history, even though the Juniors are taking place in Europe this year. Even the Spengler Cup features Joe Thornton and Rick Nash playing for the host HC Davos.
No El Classico… As the ugly battle between Bein Sports (the new rightsholders for La Liga and Serie A in Canada) and Canadian companies trying to sub-license rights to their matches continues, Canadians will likely miss out on two key matches this weekend. Both El Classico and the Milan Derby are not scheduled to air on Canadian television. In past seasons both would have been available live between GolTV and TLN. This year neither. Complain all you want about the lack of HD for TLN and GolTV, but their bad pictures were better than no pictures at all.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I really have a problem with a foreign company buying rights to these broadcasts with no clear intention of showing them in the Canadian market. Especially when there are other Canadian broadcasters who would have bid on the rights and broadcast the games.
Ryder Cup… “Yes sir, he’s done it. Oh that’s quite remarkable.” Those were the words uttered on Sky Sports as Martin Kaymer clinched the 2012 Ryder Cup. On NBC, Dan Hicks said, “Europe has pulled off the improbable. Oh, miracle at Medinah.” Both commentators honestly sounded shocked at what they saw. Hicks came off as a bit cheesy with his second remark though.
Paying attention… Sometimes a commentator says something that really makes you wonder how close they are watching the game they are working. There were two such examples during the Giants @ Eagles game Sunday night on NBC. First Michelle Tafoya reported that Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had went to hospital due to an injury. No sooner did she report this and Asomugha was back on the field, leaving colour man Cris Collinsworth perplexed. Tafoya went on to explain Asomugha had not, in fact, left the stadium.
And then there was Bob Costas. I think most are aware of the Giants decision to kick on 3rd and 19 at the end of the game because they didn’t want the clock to run out (they were out of timeouts and couldn’t spike the ball on 4th down). Of course picking up 20 yards is no sure thing, and if they completed a pass in bounds for less than that, they would’ve ran out of time. So, as soon as the game ended, Costas asked Tony Dungy why the Giants didn’t run another play. At least Dungy was on his toes and immediately explained the situation to Costas.
Cruz’s TD… And if you thought those were bad elements of NBC’s broadcast, they were outshone by the cheesy moment when NBC played salsa music following a Victor Cruz touchdown. Cruz was born in New Jersey and is half Puerto Rican.
Sippin’ the Beaver Juice… No, it’s not the latest Snoop Dogg song. Just watch the video for yourself from ESPN’s College Game Day on Saturday (via SB Nation). The look on Chris Fowler’s face is priceless.
NFL.. CTV is showing two NFL games in the 1:00pm ET timeslot this Sunday. Most viewers will see Eagles @ Steelers, while those in Ottawa, Mantioba, Alberta and British Columbia will see Packers @ Colts. Also in the early timeslot, TSN2 has Browns @ Giants and RDS has Falcons @ Redskins. Later on it’s Bills @ 49ers (4:25pm, Citytv) and Broncos @ Patriots (4:45pm, Sportsnet/RDS).
College Football… Two NCAA football games are on Canadian television this Saturday. They are: Northwestern @ Penn State (12:00pm, TSN2), Iowa State @ TCU (3:30pm, SN1). TheScore is also simulcasting a couple FOX games.
Premier League on TSN… You may have noticed that TSN (not TSN2) broadcast the QPR vs. West Ham match Monday evening. This was a first in the current broadcast cycle, where TSN sub-licenses Premier League matches from Rogers. Manchester City vs. Sunderland is also slated for TSN on Saturday morning. No word on if this is a rare occurance or if it will continue throughout the season.
Canada Rewind… As long as the NHL isn’t playing and they don’t have KHL to show, TSN will continue to broadcast classic Canadian vs. Russia games. Next Wednesday’s choice, the 2009 World Juniors semifinal. Another 6-5 game between the Canadians and Russians. I’m noticing a trend.
- NFC West Battle: I didn’t think I’d ever say this, but the best NFL matchup this weekend might be an NFC West rivalry. The Rams host the Cardinals (who used to play in St. Louis) in the Thursday night game this week (8:30pm, Sportsnet). The Cards are a surprise 4-0 to start the season. The 2-2 Rams are coming off a victory over Seattle.
- MLB Wild Cards: Never before has Major League Baseball had pre-detirmined (non-tiebreaker) 1-game playoffs to decide postseason positions. I’m still not a fan of the idea (it messes with pitching rotations); however, Friday’s games are still worth watching. The match-ups are still not confirmed, but the games will likely air at 5:00pm ET and 8:30pm ET on Sportsnet. I will post the full Wild Card playoff schedule on Thursday.
- NCAA FB: It’s a top-10 matchup featuring to southeast rivals as #4 LSU travels to Gainesville to play the #10 Florida Gators (3:30pm, CBS). Later on, #8 West Virginia @ #11 Texas (7:00pm, FOX) isn’t a bad matchup either. Both teams are top 10 nationwide in points for.
- ICC T20 Final: Twenty20 cricket has revolutionized cricket TV viewing. While some purists hate it, I find it makes cricket a watchable sport. The biggest international T20 tournament is the ICc World Twenty20. The final of the 2012 edition is this Sunday in Sri Lanka (9:15am, Sportsnet). Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Australia and the West Indies (a collection of Caribbean nations) play in the semi finals later this week for spots in the final.
- Thanksgiving Classics: Roughriders @ Argonauts (4:30pm, TSN) headlines Turkey Day Canadian football. Both teams currently sit in playoff positions and couple move up in the standings this weekend.