Friday Catch-All: CFL, NHL Draft, Tour de France, Rugby, Cricket, Speed, Ratings

Last nights Montreal at Winnipeg season-opener began a new year for the CFL and for TSN, as once again they show every regular season and playoff game live, including the CFL returning to Atlantic Canada with a game in Moncton, NB and culminating with the 101st Grey Cup in Regina, SK. All of the regulars will return to the commentary booth, including Chris Cuthbert, Rod Black, Gord Miller and Glen Suitor. The CFL on TSN panel will also return, with the inclusion of former CFL coach Paul LaPolice hosting ‘Coach’s Playbook’ segment.

Every game will be available on-demand via; TSN and TEAM radio stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal will have full coverage of their local teams and TEAM Radio in Ottawa will cover a “CFL Game of the Week”; and RDS will have French coverage of all Alouettes games, plus an addition 27 games on RDS2 through the season.

Sunday night you have the choice of watching eight hours of NHL Draft coverage on TSN or stabbing yourself in the eye with a cocktail fork repeatedly. If you choose the former, read on. TSN broadcasts every minute of all seven rounds of the 2013 NHL Draft live from the Prudential Center in New Jersey, with a preview show from 2:30pm ET and the main gig starting at 3pm ET. You can watch James Duthie, Darren Dreger, Pierre McGuire and the gang provide a breakdown of every pick, or you could (probably) just read about each pick on Twitter a couple minutes before it’s announced.

If you’re a fan of cycling and/or scenery, then TSN2 has you covered starting tomorrow as you can catch all 21 stages and 139 hours of the 100th Tour de France. You can follow Canadian rider Ryder Hesjedal (2012 Giro d’Italia winner) accompanied by the soothing voice of vetern cycling annoucer Phil Ligget alongside Paul Sherwen. If live coverage is a little early in the morning for you, TSN2 will feature a recap show each night in primetime. Check out the full live and recap schedule in the press release.

RUGBY: In an earlier posting I noted that TSN had acquired the right to the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament running this weekend in Moscow, Russia. Foolishly, I presumed they would be actually showing games — not so. Instead, you can catch a two-hour highlights show on July 2 at 8pm ET on TSN2.

CRICKET: If you’re a fan of cricket… that is, Canadian cricket, then do I have some amazing news for you. Starting tomorrow, Rogers TV will broadcast 18 matches (mostly T20’s) over the summer featuring the CIBC National Cricket League, and Canada taking on the the USA in the Auty Cup, as well as the UAE. If you don’t get Rogers TV, games will also be streamed live on and replayed on Sportsnet World. Fun fact: The Auty Cup is the world’s oldest ongoing international sporting fixture with the US and Canada first taking the field in 1844. The more you know. The full schedule can be found here.

BLUE JAYS RADIO/TV: In what is surely a first (I can only presume, I didn’t actually research it), Sportsnet Radio 590 The Fan will be covering eight games of the Buffalo Bisons, the Toronto Blue Jays minor-league team. The first game will be broadcast on July 1 from 7pm ET. This is the first year the Bisons have been the Jays Triple-A affiliate after they ending their long-term relationship with Las Vegas. The others games will be on July 6, 11, 18, 20, 27, August 19, 31. The Jays game against the Red Sox last night was broadcast in Mandarin Chinese on Rogers station OMNI 2, as Taiwanese pitcher Chien-Ming Wang was on the mound. 1) I can only presume that this was also a first. 2) Unfortunately, the guy got lit-up and didn’t even last two innings.

SPEED: If you’re a motorsports fan, you probably already know of the impeding death of Speed channel when it will turn into Fox Sports 1 in August. If you are a fan of the motorsports highlight show SpeedCenter, you’re about to get a little sadder. Fox announced yesterday that SpeedCenter and talk-show Wind Tunnel will not be part of the new all-sports channel in two months time. Fox will continue to produce a NASCAR highlights show, as well as pre- and post-race coverage. Like ESPN with NHL, Fox doesn’t really seem to care about motorsports they don’t have the rights for. And before you ask, no, there is still no word whether Fox Sports 1 will be available in Canada. Bell recently added Speed in HD, so either they are preparing to show FS1, or they are trolling their viewers who have been complaining about wanting Speed in HD for the past few years.

NHL Stanley Cup:
Game 4: 2,653,000, Game 5: 2,911,000, Game 6: 3,401,000, Game 6 Post-Game on CBC: 1,356,000.

Fri vs. A’s: 908,000; Mon vs. Rays: 655,000; Tue vs. Rays: 608,000.

47 thoughts on “Friday Catch-All: CFL, NHL Draft, Tour de France, Rugby, Cricket, Speed, Ratings

  1. I’m seeing these commercials promoting the TSN coverage of the 2013 NHL Trade Deadline. The commercial is filmed from the drafted players point of view. Bettman welcomes him as he walks on stage. He passes several players backstage and nods to them. Then he comes to James Duthie at the TSN desk. Duthie extends his hand and welcomes him to the NHL. How is Duthie in a position to “welcome” players to the league? He is not now, nor has he ever been an employee of, or player in the NHL. Let’s not overstate your importance please.

    • Duthie is really one of the faces of the Nhl broadcast he is known in many areas so that is why you see him doing that.

    • I found that strange as well. It would be like a reporter welcoming a newly elected politician to the government.

      Unless TSN is doing away with any image of independence and carrying on as is they ARE the NHL.

  2. 658,000 for game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on RDS. (from RDS RP twitter)

    • From the RDS twitter, game 6 peaked at 1,013,000. The BBM ratings show that games three, four, and five averaged 550,000 viewers.

  3. Some more Blue Jays ratings from the Red Sox series: 644k on Thursday, 800K+ on Friday (from Whitey Fisk and Arash Madani on Twitter)

  4. I don’t understand the lack of any response from the Canadian cable and satellite companies regarding the Speed/Fox Sports 1 situation. They’ve known the format and name change has been coming for months, so they must have some idea by now. If Fox Sports 1 is not allowed by CRTC regulations, there isn’t anything to be negotiated. If it is allowed, I guess Fox could want more money than they were getting for Speed?

    Whatever happens, I suppose some of their customers are probably going to be disappointed, unless they can find some way to provide Fox Sports 1 and add some other new motorsports channel to carry the racing we won’t be seeing on Speed anymore.

    • I don’t think the Crtc is thed big issue in this case its that Tsn and Rogers owna fair bit of content thats going to be on Fox 1.

      • The CRTC could be involved because they decide what foreign (non-Canadian, in their words) channels are allowed to be distributed on Canadian cable, satellite, and IPTV systems. Speed is only allowed now (and since 1997) because it is a niche or genre-specific channel that does not have a programming format (in this case, motorsports-oriented) that is in direct competition with a Canadian channel. The CRTC statement issued when Speedvision was added to the CRTC list of approved non-Canadian channels stated that these channels can be removed from the list when they change their programming format, and Speed is definitely changing its programming format IMO. Presumably being removed from the list would require the CRTC to receive an official complaint on the situation, likely from TSN or Sportsnet, but I have not heard of any such complaint so far. A similar situation several years ago allowed SpikeTV to stay available as the CRTC judged it not to be in direct competition with any Canadian channel.

        Since Speed, formerly Speedvision, was approved, it has changed ownership, name, and will soon change its format, so possibly Fox Sports 1 could be judged to be a completely different and new channel, and therefore would have to go through the process of being newly approved if it wanted to do so.

        As for all of the American sports channels content that is already on TSN and Sportsnet, remember that if the Fox, NBC, and ESPN channels become available in Canada, it may allow them to keep Canadian TV rights for not only their own programming they produce, but possibly even bid for Canadian rights to major events like NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, etc., all without having to follow the Canadian ownership and Canadian content regulations that TSN and Sportsnet have to follow. If that was the case, I don’t see TSN, Sportsnet, and the CRTC allowing them in.

        I would agree with another comment here that allowing sports channels from other countries would be a good idea. Eurosport News is actually already on the CRTC approved list, but just not carried by anyone in Canada that I know of. As someone who watches more motorsports than any other sports, I’d like to see Rogers, Bell, etc., apply to bring in Motors TV as a direct replacement for Speed in their channel and package line-ups, although I don’t hold much hope of it happening.

        • As i have said before Espn owns part of Tsn so it makes no sense for them to want to come in as for Fox and Nbc bidding on Canadian sports part of the issue is they would have to soend a massive amount of money for the Nhl/Nba/Nfl/Mlb rights in some cases more then what the rights are worth in the States.

          • “Some cases”? Well, maybe one case — NHL.
            I doubt it would be allowed to happen, but what makes you think the American channels wouldn’t want to make money in Canada too, if they could, by taking a big percentage of the market controlled by TSN and Sportsnet? The sports channels in Canada bring in a lot of money, unlike much of the rest of the broadcasting business in Canada. Why would ESPN give a crap about getting rid of their minority percentage ownership of TSN, if they could make the money by themselves?

            • The thing is if it was allowed Espn and Nbc would have to be ready to spend a ton of money they could not go in on the cheap that might mean $400 million plus for the Nhl rights $300 million plus for Nfl rights $200 million Mlb rights etc.

              • Where are you getting these numbers? The $400 million/year alone would be more than enough to grab all three of those rights.

                But this is all a moot point because ESPN and NBCSN will not be coming to Canada.

  5. I have a question for everyone on this blog: If Fox Sports One is allowed here in Canada (and let’s say hypothetically that NBC Sports Network & the ESPN Networks would like to apply here for carriage in Canada and both are allowed), wouldn’t that be good for the consumer as it would give us more choice and force TSN & Sportsnet to smarten up with their offerings and become more original in their approaches to sports broadcasting? I know that it will probably never happen in a million years but just a thought.

    • what would be the point? TSN & SN have the Cdn rights to many of the programming being shown on NBCSN or ESPN. Looking at the top-rated shows in the last week of June on ESPN, NBA draft was shown here on 2 networks, MLB Sunday Night is on TSN & Confed Cup Final was on CBC. Looking at the top 100 rated shows ex their version of Sportscenter, only College World Series wasn’t on tv in Canada.

      On ESPN 2, the story is the same other than for niche events like Women’s Pro Softball & drag racing not being shown in Canada. Same with top rated shows on NBCSN, Tour de France is on TSN, F1 is on TSN & NHL draft was a TSN simulcast. Only top 100 rated shows not shown in Canada were basically fishing shows. Both ESPN 2 & NBC SN had CFL games make their top 25 list which again was just a TSN simulcast.

      And NBCSN and ESPN would need to show Cdn produced shows. If you look at other new American cable networks who have received licenses here, they have one or two hot shows while the rest is a repeat of these one or two hot shows, re-runs of shows already be re-runned on other cable networks and re-runs of Cdn shows to meet CRTC requirements.

      Most added value would be if we got non-North American sports networks in Canada like Sky, Eurosport, Al-Jazeera Sport/BeIN Sport, Fox Sports Australia or SBC from South Africa.

      • Yeah I can’t see NBCSN or the ESPN networks being allowed into Canada. It sucks because it shows more of a sport (college football) that I like but that’s the way it is and I just live with it. It will be very interesting how Fox Sports 1 is treated. Perhaps a precedence is set if they are approved to broadcast in Canada?

        Oh and using the last week in June to compare is quite ridiculous. There isn’t exactly an abundance of great sports programming at that time of the year. It would be like showing that people aren’t watching the major sports in North America on the day of the MLB All-Star game. Of course they aren’t because nothing is on other than the (usually boring) All-Star game.

        • well if we used a week where there were tons of sports programming, then more of it would be carried by TSN or SN. The point PK was making that we get all big sports events shown on American sports networks. The things missing are fringe sports events and each networks “Sportscentre” type show and the rest of filler programs like fishing, this week in “name of the league” and chat shows.

          • Oh I totally understood PK’s point. However, last time I checked, TSN and Sportsnet have a HEAVY emphasis on hockey programming. Do they show the “major sporting events?” Of course they do, for the most part. That makes no difference though. A true auto racing fan would bristle if they heard that they can get all they need from TSN and Sportsnet when it comes to racing. Same goes for college football, rugby, etc. If it isn’t hockey-related, then any big fans of other sports do not get thorough treatment on these two sports networks, plain and simple.
            And really, what is a fringe sport anyway? You do realize that more people in all of North America watch college football than hockey and it’s not even close. So what you are talking about is a fringe sport to Canadians. I get that here in Canada, hockey is king (and queen and prince and princess and basically the entire royal family). And I do enjoy hockey. But not nearly as much as I like college football or football in general. I understand the popularity is not there in this part of the world. As long as I get decent coverage and can purchase a package to watch it, then I’m happy, FS1 or not.
            Oh, and on a final note, the post before mine stated that there would be more value to bring in international sports channels than American ones. So ESPN wouldn’t work here, but Al Jazeera Sport would? Sorry, the argument makes no sense. Yes that is my opinion, but also many others.

            • They brand it as “BeIN” (a silly sounding name IMO, but I suppose better than the alternative) and have been looking to expand to the rest of the world including North America, and have annoyingly bought TV rights to events they don’t/can’t air here yet, just to stop others from getting them.

              EuroSport News is already approved by the CRTC for distribution in Canada. Again, the main point about whether any non-Canadian channel, sports or otherwise, is allowed to be distributed in Canada regards whether or not it would be a direct competitor to a Canadian channel. ESPN or NBC Sports Network could easily be considered direct competition, but EuroSport News or perhaps Motors TV would not. The “value” he alleges, if the Canadian BDUs chose to carry them, would come from being able to see things we don’t already see on other channels.
              Maybe Rogers (and other Canadian BDUs) could place the “new” Fox Sports 1 channel in a higher package of channels similar to the one with the CBS Sports channel, although that wouldn’t address the apparent decrease in customer value of the packages of channels that presently include Speed if they do not replace it.

              • Yeah I guess using the criteria that is given already you could argue that some of these international sports channels could have better value. I wonder about the true value of these channels to the Canadian TV spectrum but that is debatable.

                Don’t get me wrong, I am not an auto racing fan by any stretch of the imagination. And I would like Fox Sports 1 to come to Canada (as long as some of the content I would like to watch, I could watch). However, I understand the need for an auto racing-specific channel. Speed covered that niche. I really do wish more of these channels were available and that a-la-carte bundles could be selected by customers. I know that will never happen but we can always dream.

    • I’d love it if ESPN got approved to broadcast in Canada, just to be able to watch their Sportscenter instead of the TSN version.

      • What I want to see is an ESPNews type channel in Canada. There is just so much time to fill on TSN and SN that it shows poker and other boring content, in addition to reruns of the same damn show for 10 hours in the morning. Live editions of SportsCentre in the early afternoon would allow for some quality sports programming to be shown before the PTI/ATH/Prime Time Sports/SportsCentre air in the late afternoon.

        • I called TSN on their toll free line and made a suggestion that they pick up an hour of ESPNEWS from 5 am until 6 am (eastern time). The person I spoke to told me that the executives liked the idea but they wouldn’t be doing it due to Canadian Content regulations. They air several repeats of Sportscentre during the daytime and That’s Hockey 2 on TSN2 for much of the morning. It doesn’t make much sense to me that they wouldn’t pick up one hour of ESPNEWS each day but I am not an executive at TSN or Bell Media.

          • ESPN should carry an hour of TSN SportsCentre. The need is stronger down in the States, and there is no restriction on Canadian content. Maybe a Canadian outlet can take an hour of Dan and Jay once they start on Fox Sports 1.

          • I would like to see some live SportsCentre’s in the morning like ESPN, whether it be for just a couple of hours or for the whole morning. I’m sick of the same show being repeated all morning. I could very easily see SN do this eventually with Connected, as they continue to expand their brand with the purchasing of new channels, new content and new sets. TSN doesn’t bother to do any of this “modernizing” or “upgrading”. A huge example of this is the fact that they’ve been using the same graphics for about 5 years now and are just starting to implement new ones into their broadcasts. For these reasons I think it is more likely that SN adopts live shows. With all the new talent that they have from the Score, there is plenty of staff and on-air personalities to produce more shows.

        • ESPN news network is actually becoming less of a news channel and morphing into the Score with showing of live events

      • You will never see Tsn and Espn in Canada as Espn does own part of Tsn the only thing you might see is Tsn rebrand to Espn Canada.

        • “TSN rebrand as ESPN Canada”? That makes no sense. Again, not that I think it will be allowed to happen, but the context is the American channels would be allowed to be directly available in Canada as approved “non-Canadian” channels. They wouldn’t need licences, and wouldn’t have to have any Canadian content or any Canadian ownership. ESPN would just get rid of their minority percentage of TSN, and become direct competition, except without having to follow any of the licensing requirements the CRTC enforces on TSN and Sportsnet, and probably run them out of business.

          • The only way Espn would run Sportsnet Or Tsn out of business is if they were willing to spend a massive amount of money would they will willing to really open the wallet maybe they would but this would not be cheap for exzample a bidding war for the Nhl rights between Sportsnet/Tsn and Espn your looking at $400 million plus.Then after that you have the Nfl/Mlb/Nba/Mls/Bpl/Cfl/Auto racing/IIhf events the list goes on this would not be cheap and maybe they would be interested to spend big bucks as for a rebrand it makes sense as they would get there brand even more into Canada do i think it would happen not really but it would be possible.

            • Are under some delusion that ESPN does not have a lot of money?.. or would not be interested in also making money by themselves in Canada if allowed, instead of the present situation of being limited by the CRTC to owning the minority percentage of TSN?

              • They have money no question but would they want to get in a bidding war with Bell and Rogers for Nhl/Nfl/Bpl/MLb etc that i am not sure about.

        • Back in 2001, there was talk that TSN would change it’s name to ESPN Canada. It did not happen because there was a massive outcry from Canadian Sports Fans as the TSN name and brand is very popular from coast to coast. For this reason, a rebrand of TSN will NOT happen.

    • The thing is say Fox Sports or Nbc Sports come in to Canada but can’t air most of there content as Tsn/Sportsnet owns the rights so no i don’t think it would be good or make much sense.

      • Well, Fox Sports One and the NBC Sports Network can air their highlight shows, NFL news & information shows and what not if they are allowed into Canada. Live NHL games or UFC fights for example would be blacked out obviously.

  6. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate
    a lot and never seem to get anything done.

  7. 2 weeks ago today was the last post? Hope this website doesn’t cost too much!

  8. Kudos to Global for staying with the John Deere Classic playoff yesterday after CBS bailed out. I’m sure the fact David Hearn was involved had something to do with their decision to stay with it.

  9. Hey, I just got a response from Bell about Speed TV as of 08/17/13 from their Facebook page and here is what they told me:

    “Bell Canada Hi Frank – just received word that Speed TV will only be re-branding in the States and will remain unchanged in Canada. Thanks for inquiring!”

    Does that mean we will be getting the Australia feed? I don’t think Fox would create a separate feed only for Canada.

    • I think I saw something vaguely pointing to this mentioned several months ago, but it wasn’t explained well enough to get the idea across, as it was from someone who was a third party trying to pretend they had some kind of secret inside information or some silly thing like that, when it probably just an e-mail response from Speed saying what you just heard from Bell. It might have saved us from a few months of pointless confusion and ridiculous speculation if he’d just been more straight forward. But it’s starting to make sense now that more information is clearing it up.

      The whole thing about Speed transforming into Fox Sports 1 was entirely about the USA, and never had anything to do with Canada or the rest of the world, and was kind of B.S. in the US too. It seems highly likely that Fox has made no effort at all to get Fox Sports 1 into Canada, knowing that regulations don’t allow it and probably not caring.

      Fox has a Speed channel in many other countries, not just Australia, but also most of Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, etc.). And it looks like they’re mostly about motorsports events. Speed in the US, which is the one we unfortunately have been getting in Canada, has inexplicably in the last several years greatly decreased the amount of racing they were showing and replaced it with a lot reality and game shows, that did nothing except annoy people who wanted to watch motorsports. Can you imagine the NFL Network or NHL Network changing most of their programming to stuff that had little or nothing to do with football or hockey?

      Fox is starting their new Fox Sports 1 channel to compete against ESPN. Like most new channels, the problem is getting cable and satellite companies to carry it. So Fox saw an opportunity to use the Speed channel they’ve ruined to do that, saying they were transforming it into Fox Sports 1. But really that’s kind of a scam. It turns out that three of the four biggest cable or satellite TV carriers in the US have not signed on to carry Fox Sports 1, and have ongoing contracts to receive Speed (or at least some form of motorsports channel) from Fox. And there’s still all those other countries getting their Speed channel from Fox. And the American carriers that are getting Fox Sports 1 had to sign new deals for more money, not just continue with the existing contracts for Speed.

      Fox probably is thankfully giving up on what has been the largely non-motorsports American version of Speed in recent years, but continuing to provide a Speed channel that’s all or mostly about motorsports to other countries, and probably Canada and even in the US too at least until those existing contracts expire.

      It makes sense that the Rogers, Bell, etc., have said nothing about this and appeared clueless to this point, because for them and viewers in Canada, nothing is changing. Well, nothing except hopefully the programming that’s on the Speed we get will go back to being motorsports, as it used to be, if it’s going to something like what’s listed on the website of the Australian channel.

      Bell likely thought to say something now because Speed is running banner promos every few minutes counting down to Fox Sports 1, confusing and misleading viewers in Canada.

  10. The coverage of the Rugby Sevens World Cup was a complete joke. Two Canadian womens games and two mens games in two hours and that was it for game coverage, They even managed to cuts action out of each of the games and miss the occasional restart due to a poorly timed replay. Surely we could have done with much less verbal diarrhea from Gareth Rees and more action?

  11. I don’t think the estimation rate is perfect. Soccer is the most popular in the recent times than cricket

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