A few things of relevance to Canadian Sports Media this afternoon.
FA Cup... The 132nd FA Cup continues this weekend with the third round proper, the stage where Premier League clubs enter. It was one of the oldest and most prestigious sports competitions in the world. Tomorrow’s West Ham United v. Manchester United match at Boleyn Ground in London will make history in North America. It is the first ever FA Cup match broadcast on over-the-air American television as Fox will air it. It is also the first match in ages (ever?) available on basic cable in Canada. Fox will also show the final from Wembley in May. Sportsnet World continues to exclusively broadcast the tournament in Canada, aside from the two matches on Fox. Those looking for big upsets may want to look to Football League Two side Cheltenham Town play Everton (Monday 3pm ET, Sportsnet World).
World Juniors and BCS… The World Junior Hockey Championships and college football’s major bowl games are two of the most exciting pre-pro (if such a word exists) sports events in the world. And they also get some of the best ratings. TSN surely isn’t too happy about Canada missing the final of the World Juniors for a second straight year. Now they’ll play in the bronze medal game at 4am ET Saturday morning. I can’t imagine too many people will wake up early to watch a 3rd place game, even with Canada. Sweden plays the USA in the final (Saturday 8am ET, TSN). I think the final is worth watching even without Canada. Meanwhile Notre Dame plays Alabama in what is probably the most anticipated BCS Championship on Monday night (8pm, TSN). According to the polls, they are the two most successful programs in college football history.
Cherry and the Juniors… With the lack of a platform on Saturday nights to spread his opinion, Don Cherry has taken to Twitter. In a nine-Tweet rant Cherry blamed the lack of success for Canada at the World Juniors on the CHL allowing players whose parents don’t pay taxes in Canada to play in it’s league. Your guess is as good as mine as to how paying taxes in Canada and playing in a league that doesn’t receive money from the federal government correlate. Of course Cherry made a living in the American Hockey League, despite being a Canadian whose father never paid taxes to the US government. Then again, by now I don’t except Cherry rants to make much sense.
NFL playoffs… CTV will broadcast all four NFL playoff games this weekend. They are: Cincinnati @ Houston (Saturday 4:30pm, commentators: Dan Hicks & Mike Mayock), Minnesota @ Green Bay (Saturday 8pm, commentators: Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth), Indianapolis @ Baltimore (Sunday 1pm, commentators: Jim Nantz & Phil Simms), and Seattle @ Washington (Sunday 4:30pm, commentators: Joe Buck & Troy Aikman). In my opinion the most interesting matchup is Seattle @ Washington. Both teams average over 160 yards rushing, while their defenses average around 100 rushing yards again. Which one will give?
Toronto Rock… Lacrosse returns to Canadian television this weekend as TSN enters another season of broadcasting Toronto Rock games. Dave Randorf and Brian Shanahan will provide commentary. TSN will show three games, with seven more on TSN2. First up is an all-Canadian match on January 12 as the Rock play the Roughnecks in Calgary (9pm ET, TSN2).
Gretzky on Citytv… And no, it’s not Wayne. Not even sure why I’m mentioning that, but an interview with Paulina Gretzky will air on Tuesday night at 7:00pm on Citytv. She’ll talk about the supposed Twitter scandal from last year, for those who really have nothing better to do. By the way, also of note, Citytv is dropping the “tv” and is now simply “City”.