March has began, and with it have came programming plans for many of the big events this month. Here is a quick roundup of what’s happened in sports media this week.
The World Baseball Classic begins later tonight in Taichung and Fukouka. Sportsnet will broadcast all 39 games, beginning with Australia vs. Taiwan tonight at 11:30pm ET. 25 games will air exclusively on Sportsnet ONE. Canada’s three games will air on all four regional channels. The other 10 games will air on a mix of the two, due to scheduling conflicts with regional hockey. I may be wrong on this, but as I understand there is only one broadcast feed for the World Baseball Classic. MLB Network will produce games in the United States. MLB International will everywhere else. That means we will get two Americans calling the Canada-US game. For the first round Rich Waltz and Buck Martinez will call Group A games in Fukouka, JB Long and Joe Magrane will call Group B games in Taichung, and Gary Thorne and Jose Mota (my favourite team) will call Group C in San Juan. Matt Yallof and Jeff Nelson, and Matt Vasgersian and Jim Kaat will split Group D games in Arizona. Bob Costas will come in to call the final. Sportsnet will show all games in their entirety, except for two that are joined in progress this weekend. That’s better than in 2009 when the start of almost every game was cut off by Connected.
The 2013 Tim Hortons Brier begins tomorrow afternoon in Edmonton. TSN has more than 65 hours of live coverage of the most prestigous curling event in the world. Favourites include defending champ Glenn Howard, Jeff Stoughton, Kevin Martin, Brad Gushue and Brad Jacobs. Also take this as a sign of things to come, graphics-wise.
Sportsnet will broadcast the CIS Men’s Hockey Championship for a sixth straight year. The regional channels will show the final two pool play games on March 16, with the final on Sportsnet ONE on March 17. Alberta and Saskatchewan from Canada West, as well as UNB and St. Mary’s from the AUS have already qualified. The OUA also has two spots.
Sportsnet has officially announced their 2013 IndyCar Series coverage, as they enter their first year as the Canadian broadcaster. Sportsnet will show every race live, which I don’t think TSN ever did in all of their years covering the series. Sportsnet will have six races, including the two races in Toronto and the Indianapolis 500; Sportsnet ONE has nine; and Citytv has the two races in Detroit. Sportsnet will even have a studio crew anchored by Rob Faulds with analysts Paul Tracy and Bill Adam for four of the races. Todd Lewis will work as a pit reporter for those four races.
For those wondering about the Jays games airing on FX, there is a reason for why those broadcasts are airing there. The decision to show them came well too late to make them Sportsnet productions. Plans are often made months in advance for any sports production. Rogers doesn’t want to show Jays games on Sportsnet that use the other teams’ feed, so they are marketing them as bonus games on FX. Of course it also can’t hurt as a promo tool for FX either.
Lastly, how about ratings this week? Sportsnet set a record for a Jays spring training game, while TSN had its highest NHL audience since the first game after the lockout in 2005.