Canadian Sports Media Notes: January 4, 2012

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”.

23 thoughts on “Canadian Sports Media Notes: January 4, 2012

  1. Good to see you back, Josh, and Happy New Year.

    I just want to point out that Sunday’s FA Cup game on Fox isn’t quite that history-making… It may be the first ever live FA Cup broadcast on American over-the-air television, but the FA Cup Final has been shown on ABC’s Wide World of Sports on tape delay. In fact, one of the first-ever episodes of WWOS showed the 1961 FA Cup Final. And this may very well be the first non-final FA Cup match to ever be shown on OTA television in the U.S.

    As for the FA Cup on Canadian basic cable, I guess that depends on your definition of basic cable, but Sportsnet had live coverage in 2003-04 (albeit cheaply produced – just the feed of whichever English network was showing the game, with no Dobson/Forrest to be found), and TSN (and CBC before that) aired the FA Cup Final live for several decades.

  2. Couldn’t be happier the Canadian World Jr team got blown out in the semis. Three players suspended for a total of seven games in this year’s tournament, not even including the 4 games Huberdeau got for physically abusing an official in the QMJHL. Class acts, those guys are. I’m glad the IIHF is finally taking them to task.

    Regardless, I wonder what the ratings will be for a 3:30am bronze-medal game?

  3. The 3rd Round of the FA Cup, one of my favorite weekends in sports. I love this tournament. I don’t care about the people who say it isn’t what it once was, I still think it has a great deal of meaning to it. So rich in history.

    Come On Liverpool!


  4. So CTV is showing all the NFL Playoffs on the main network? And they won’t show ANY CFL games? WTF kind of Canadian programmer is that? I sure hope the CFL tells TSN that they won’t get any games if the parent networks continues to snub a ratings hit.

    • I agree, the CFL should at least have playoff games available on an OTA Station. In fact I think 1 game per week on CTV throughout the season would be cool.

    • One word: simsubs.
      If the NFL playoffs were all on ESPN or some US cable channel not available in Canada, then I’d bet you’d see the NFL games all on TSN/cable as well.

    • In case you don’t realize, CTV shows an NFL game every Sunday of the regular season. On a related note, TSN does get one playoff game every year. It is the late Sunday game of the Divisional Playoff week (January 13th this season). This is due to the Golden Globe awards and red carpet arrivals that CTV simsubs.

    • That’s how Canadian TV works. By showing the Grey Cup on TSN, they get a huge audience, and yet CTV can still air their simulcasts of their big Sunday night shows and capture some of the 3/4 of Canadians not interested in football. Show the Grey Cup on CTV and you may get a few more viewers, but those uninterested in the football will still watch the same big Sunday night shows – on the American network.

      This isn’t the 1960s where the Grey Cup aired on both CBC and CTV and American networks could only be accessed with a good set of rabbit-ears. It would be nice to have the Grey Cup on CTV not TSN, but the business part of putting it on TSN makes complete sense. And the CFL knew exactly what they were getting into when they left CBC for TSN.

    • Yeah, what everyone above me said. It’s not like the CFL doesn’t have over-the-air options available. They determined the best deal for them is with TSN, even if it means no over-the-air games. I’d actually argue that the CFL gets more promotion on TSN where NHL/NFL fans are watching and seeing CFL promos all the time. Hard to imagine many people watching Grey’s Anatomy are going to see a CFL promo and want to watch the game.

    • At the time that the TV deal was signed I think the CFL was just happy that TSN had planned for promoting the CFL that they just figured that leaving it optional to TSN it would eventually show at least the Grey Cup on CTV. This time around the CFL has a little more leverage. While they would be crazy to leave TSN it may be a point that at least the Grey Cup be shown on the OTA CTV. I would think that TSN will realized that they have peaked for TV numbers on the Grey Cup being shown on TSN and CTV would be the only way to get an even bigger TV audience meaning more $$ for commercial spots for the game

      • But it would also mean no subscriber revenue for TSN. I don’t know the exact numbers, but at best it would offset IMO. Plus CTV would have to shove popular programs like The Amazing Race aside. i also don’t think that the only way for CFL numbers to go up is to put the game on CTV. I believe they can rise on TSN if the Argos get a bit of a dynasty going.

  5. Thanks for mentioning the match on FOX as it didn’t show on my on air guide but fortunately I was reading this at noon on Saturday just when it started.

    But I wouldn’t describe BCS games as getting the best ratings in Canada. If you want to stretch it, you can include just the championship game. But none of the BCS games are in the same league of World Juniors games involving Canada and BCS is quite behind behind CFL & most NFL regular season games.

    I think with the playoff system coming, Cdns might get more interested as it becomes easier for the causal football fan to finally understand which games are actually meaningful.

    Sim subs convulte which sports are shown OTA vs cable. It’s why meaningless NBA matches are shown OTA in Canada. For the NFL, the payoff for CTV is the playoffs and Super Bowl which makes up for showing regular season games that eat up CTV’s allocation for American programming but only get a fraction of the ratings of a sim subbed comedy or drama.

    For the CFL, TSN has been very good for the CFL and TSN is the most watched cable network.

    • When I was talking about BCS, I was referring more to American ratings. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. The Orange Bowl (Florida St-Northern Illinois) did get 218, 000 on TSN. Not bad considering it was a terrible matchup.

      • That might be more because it was the Orange Bowl played on New Year’s day – all traditional stuff as in the past the US championship was historically decided on New Year’s day and often in the Orange Bowl. But 218k is still surprising since I bet 99% of people watching didn’t know Northern Illinois even existed till Jan 1, 2013.

      • Little off topic question, but why are the viewership numbers released for totally random sporting events. I am a little confused why the Orange Bowl numbers are reported yet the 2012 UEFA Champions League FInal numbers are nowhere to be found. With the 2011 edition of the CL Final getting more than 400K viewers I can’t see the 2012 edition doing worse than this years Orange Bowl.

        • The guy who I currently get ratings from usually has TSN and Sportsnet’s primetime ratings (he is unaffiliated with both networks). That’s how I got the Orange Bowl ratings. As for UEFA CL, Sportsnet is terrible at releasing ratings. They rarely do, except for hockey.

          • Thanks, makes sense that because Champions League games aren’t played in prime time the numbers aren’t available. It’s just a little disappointing as I would have liked to be able to compare the Champions League viewership to other major sporting championships in 2012. It’s really annoying that American TV Ratings are more detailed and easily obtainable than Canadian ratings which are at best hit or miss.

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