The Dog Days of Summer

Like watching a spaceship getting sucked into a black hole, the world of sports after the MLB All-Star break also seems to stop moving. If you know science or astronomy, then you’ll know that while it looks like the spaceship has stopped moving, it is in fact just moving really slowly. The following is random pieces that we’ve received from the slow-moving spaceship.

— MLB RATINGS

MLB Home Run Derby: 694k; Jays vs. Rays: 660k (July 19); Jays vs. Rays: 603k (July 21); Jays vs. Dodgers: 477k (July 22).

From the Montreal Gazette:

As of July 10, Sportsnet was averaging 544,000 viewers (aged two and over) for Jays’ broadcasts. That’s nine per cent down from the 2012 average of 595,000 at this point of the season but up 10 per cent from 2011’s average of 496,000 at the same time. Breaking it down by month, the 2013 Jays averaged 639,000 in April, 403,000 in May (when the team went 13-15) and 575,000 in June (when the team won 11 straight).

This is definitely well-below the one-million viewers Rogers predicted they could get headed into the latter half of the season and under the 600,000 season average they were looking for.

— MISC RATINGS

Wimbledon Men’s Final did 451k. This is considerably down from last year’s record of 515k viewers who watched Federer beat Murray. The final round of the British Open on Global did 568k.

In the CFL: Edmonton vs. Hamilton — 570k (July 7), Toronto vs. Saskatchewan — 786k (July 11), Hamilton vs. Saskatchewan – 782k (July 21).

— FOX SPORTS ONE

In just a few weeks from now, Fox Sports One will start beaming into the homes of millions of US viewers as it replaces Speed. As for what the millions of Canadians will see, that is still unknown. A loyal-little of this site commented in a previous post that he asked Bell on their Facialbook page about the change, to which they responded “Just received word that Speed TV will only be re-branding in the States and will remain unchanged in Canada. Thanks for inquiring!”.

Complimenting that, we have the following tidbit from the Sports Business Journal:

It’s not clear what Fox will provide distributors that don’t cut FS1 deals but still have contracts to carry Speed. Distributors say they’ve been told that one option is that Fox will provide a watered-down motorsports channel that would run in place of Speed, possibly even keeping the Speed name.

Fox have already announced they will be cancelling a bunch of existing Speed programming once the channel ends, so it’s hard to see exactly how watered-down a new channel would be without live racing and general programming. Australia currently has their own version of Speed TV (which airs plenty of live racing not shown on the US version) which could possibly air here, though a majority of live programming would be blacked out, just as it would be should we get FS1. Motorsports fans would prefer to see a modified version of Speed, while general sports fans would be looking forward to seeing the offering from FS1 despite the many blackouts that come with it.

— NBC GETS NASCAR / INDYCAR RATINGS

NBC Sports is still a young network, relatively speaking, but it has fast acquired numerous sports rights. NHL, Indycar, MLS, Formula One, English Premier League, and now, NASCAR. Beginning in 2015, NBC and NBC Sports Network will shown a portion of the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series. NBC has quickly become the home of motorsport in the US, and one wonders if Sportsnet would consider making a similar move in Canada. They got the Indycar rights beginning this year and have already put more effort into their broadcast than TSN ever did, featuring pre- and post-race coverage as well as being track side for the Indy 500 and the Toronto race a couple weeks ago. I don’t think you could find a single fan of Formula One who is happy with TSN’s coverage, from the minimal coverage before or after the races (especially for the grand prix in this very country) to constant audio problems, so it would certainly be great to see Sportsnet takeover (a Google search could not tell me when the rights are next up for grabs) and — presumably — put the same amount of effort in as they do Indycar.

While on the subject, Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye has a great comparison on his personal site of this years Indycar ratings on Sportsnet versus last year on TSN, headlined by the fact that the terrible Sharknado special got 50,000 more viewers than the Toronto weekend of races. Granted, this is more likely due to the declining popularity of Indycar in general (it hasn’t been the same since Indy merged with CART, of which I was a huge fan) than Sportsnet taking over the broadcast from TSN.

— BROADCAST SCHEDULE RELEASES

The NHL released their schedule last week, which was quickly followed by the CBC putting out their broadcast schedule, which can be viewed in a previous post. Sportsnet and TSN will have theirs in the coming month or so. And speaking of Canada’s two biggest sporting networks, they still are yet to confirm who will be showing what games in the upcoming EPL season, which kicks August 17. Beginning this year the two networks will share the games 50/50. A number of games will also be seen on NBC.

— WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS

The 104th RBC Canadian Open begins tomorrow from Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. TSN will have coverage of the opening two rounds (Thu/Fri at 3pm) and Global will have coverage after the cut from 3pm each day. Global also have their The Morning Show and Global News crews broadcasting live from the course throughout the tournament. French coverage can be found on RDS.

Sportsnet has six hours of UFC coverage for the UFC on Fox 8: Johnson vs. Moraga card this weekend from Seattle. The weigh-in can be seen Friday on Sportsnet 360 at 7pm, early prelim fights on Saturday at 4pm streaming on sportsnet.ca (post-fight pressers will also be live online), and the prelims and main card begin from 5pm Saturday on Sportsnet 360.

Elsewhere: Super 15 Rugby and English Super League finals action can be seen on Sportsnet World; just weeks away from the EPL season, Sportsnet World are showing a bunch of friendlies; the Formula One circus arrives in Hungary, Sunday 8am on TSN/RDS; the UEFA Women’s Euro final goes at 9:45am Sunday morning on TSN2/RDS; and if you wanted even more soccer, the CONCACAF Gold Cup final kicks off 4pm Sunday on Fox and Sportsnet World.

34 thoughts on “The Dog Days of Summer

  1. FOX is also shutting down FOX SOCCER including fox soccer news which I wonder what will happen to our version (soccer central)? FOX Sports 1 will have all the current leagues that are on FOX Soccer, plus they are adding SKY SPORTS NEWS.

    I’m wondering about Sportsnet world for EPL too. Are they going to reduce the price as they lost half of the games or they might just add another league!!! No news for La Liga or Serie A either.

    • Yes! I completely forgot to mention Fox Soccer News. Fox Soccer announced a new daily soccer show that will be based out of LA, as opposed to current one based in Toronto and produced by Rogers. No telling if Sportsnet will continue to produce the Soccer Central version of it or not.

      • Good. Fox Soccer News was practically unwatchable for it’s Pro-American bias. The recent coverage of the Gold Cup was awful. I am hopeful that if Soccer Central is kept by SN the show will be better off without FOX’s influence.

        • Also, ESPN2 will have a daily soccer show called ESPNFC starting in August.

          I think we need one here in Canada, the questions is, will it be worth it for Rogers to make one or just bring one over from UK or even US. Fox sports world Canada (RIP) used to have Sky news every night and we had Soccer Central once a week.

  2. With potential blackouts in mind, they only sport that FS1 would provide expanded coverage for viewers in Canada would be NCAA football and basketball. Every other live sports event would be blacked out, save for perhaps some international soccer, should FS1 choose to broadcast that.

    • It’s sad because, being a huge college football fan, having FS1 would be awesome. But yes, almost all other live programming has their rights with TSN or Sportsnet so we would have at least a few hours of blacked out programming every day. Hardly worth it. Saying that, a watered down SPEED would be pretty crappy in its own right. Can’t win.

      • Yep. After the NFL & NHL, NCAA College Football is my next favorite sport. Our best hope in Canada is that the current broadcasting act is torn up or revised and Direct TV & Dish Network subscriptions become legal here once again. One can dream.

      • The “watered-down” Speed suggestion came from the writer of the Sports Business Journal article who was comparing it to what had previously happened in the US with a Fox Reality channel’s transition into NatGeo Wild. The assumption was that it could be done as an attempt to force the remaining hold-outs in the US to sign on to receiving Fox Sports 1 with its significantly higher monthly fee per subscriber.

        We don’t know for sure yet, but it probably has no relevance to Canada or the rest of the world outside of the US. Providing all the other countries with a lame version of Speed would have no purpose for Fox. All it would do is annoy the viewers, satellite and cable operators until they ultimately drop the channel, with the only result for Fox being that they would pointlessly lose all of the money they had been getting for Speed from all of the subscribers, when they could have easily kept receiving it by continuing to provide the version of Speed they presently provide in all of these other countries outside of the US (and Canada, at least for now).

        BTW, if you look at the list of programming on the Fox-owned Speed channel in Australia, very little of it would have to be blacked out in Canada — just the IndyCar and some Nascar races that are on Sportsnet and TSN.

        • I’ve heard a lot about Speed in Australia and that it’s a fantastic auto racing channel. Would they just bring that to Canada or would they try to create a Canadian version of it?
          Is it almost guaranteed now that Speed will remain as is or will be there some sort of change to the channel come the launch of Fox Sports 1? I have heard various accounts as to what may happen there. I am not really an auto racing fan at all but I understand the need for a niche channel such as Speed (or something along that line).

          • The Speed channel Fox provides in other countries outside of the US and Canada appears to be largely motorsports oriented, without all the other non-racing programming that they inexplicably put on the American version of Speed in recent years. There’s minor variations from one country to another, but it seems to be mostly an international motorsports channel with very little that is distinctive to the individual country receiving it. If, as would seem likely, we keep getting Speed, I would assume it would be much like what the other countries get. But with Fox and the likes of Rogers, Shaw, Cogeco, etc., still not answering their customers questions (except for the one vague response one guy apparently received from Bell) about what we will be seeing in Canada on this channel after August 17, we don’t know for sure yet.

    • Even NCAA may be blacked out because Sportsnet owns rights to all of those NCAA games I think. No clue how many will air on SN360 or SN1 though,

      • If Sportsnet decides not to air any NCAA Football games this fall for whatever reason(s), do you think that they would throw those games from the new Fox Sports One channel onto the Rogers Sports Pak so that there is some value added to buying the package?

        • When SN360 was theScore, they had the ESPN Thursday night college football package. I haven’t heard anything that says they won’t continue that this year but with the change to SN360, they may move to having Fox Sports One’s Thursday night college football package instead. One thing is for sure, they definitely won’t have Saturday afternoon college football on SN360 since OUA football airs most of those weeks (until the end of the season).
          I can’t see either Rogers or Bell adding these games to their college football specialty packs despite the fact it would be awesome for them to do so. As far as anyone knows, it is still used for ESPN overflow (ESPN network games not shown on ABC, TSN, or TSN2).

  3. I’ve been waiting to see the breakdown of how the Premier League games will be done. Figured they would of announced it by now. Oh well, keeep waiting.

  4. Any idea how CFL ratings have been so far this year?

  5. Isn’t Speed already watered down pretty much, at least compared to a few years ago and certainly the old SpeedVision days in the pre-Fox ownership era? There is less variety in the racing series shown and more crap like NASCAR cooking shows, “Are you faster than a redneck”, and “Pinks”.
    Having said that I really hope we still have an outlet here in Canada for stuff like the Grand Am Rolex Series (merging next year I believe with ALMS), Australian V8 Supercars, MotoGP, and I enjoy the Barrett Jackson collector car auctions too. I don’t believe any of that is picked up by a Canadian channel and presumably that stuff will still air either on Fox Sports 1 or another Fox owned channel.
    RDS began a 3 year contract for F1 starting last year (http://www.rds.ca/courses/la-f1-%C3%A0-rds-pour-trois-autres-saisons-1.452583) but I have no idea if TSN negotiates their deal separately or if it’s combined with RDS.

  6. Don CFL numbers are doing great. While baseball is tanking big time. Add in other baseball and that 544k Blue Jay number goes down to around 300k. So much for the BJ’s being “canada’s team” eh?

    • More insanity from Rick.

      How exactly is a 9% drop with a record like this “tanking big time”? Considering that the audience has (surprisingly) held up post-ASB there is still a chance the drop could be erased by the end of the year.

      As for being “Canada’s Team”, they still draw a sizable portion of the audience from outside of Ontario and are the 2nd most valuable sports property behind the NHL.

      • I’d say losing 40+% of its audience from April is tanking. It doesn’t mean the numbers are bad — just clearly less interest now than earlier in the season. Tons of sports wish they had 300k viewers though.

        • That was for just one month though, then the numbers bounced back big time and have stayed in that range.So it was more of a blip than anything.

          • How are the Blue Jays Canada’s 2nd most valuable sports property? The CFL beat them in almost every metric. I would say the Blue Jays battle the NFL for 3rd which is not bad at all in my books.

            • More than double the amount of games easily makes up for the lower per game audience.

              • I don’t know about that. The gap in the ratings between the CFL on TSN and the Toronto Blue Jays on Sportsnet this season are significant. With the Redblacks joining the CFL next season TSN will pick up an additional 9 regular season games which should solidify the CFL as Canada’s second most valuable sports property.

                • The gap isn’t that big. CFL averages around 650k, even with an extra 9 games it won’t make up for it. Plus if you look at most valuable from the perspective of the broadcaster, the facts that Rogers owns the Blue Jays content is a huge plus.

                  • 650K? I think the average ratings are a little higher than that. Also remember that as the season progresses the CFL ratings grow. In my opinion the CFL viewership has a much higher potential ceiling as the Blue Jays compete with the NHL playoffs for a third of their season while the CFL goes up against the beginning of the NHL season. A decent playoff run by the Maple Leafs would really hurt the Blue Jays viewership while it would have no effect on the CFL.

                    • Maybe it’s 675, I’ll have to look it up again.

                      I don’t get what you mean by potential. The CFL had steadied in a good spot the last few seasons while I think we could all agree if the Blue Jays were as good on the field as they were on paper, ratings would be much higher.

                    • By potential I mean the Blue Jays will always be more popular in the Toronto-Hamilton Market than they are in the rest of the country due to geographical reasons. The CFL has “outposts” distributed across this country which allows the CFL on TSN to “hit” a broader potential audience. You also have to remember that the CFL always has the same number of good and bad teams but the Blue Jays can have really good years and really bad years which is a downside of investing in a broadcasting contract with a team as opposed to a league.

                    • Again, I don’t quite get what you are getting at. Yes, the CFL will have good and bad teams but if you are looking at it that way, the potential is limited because the good teams increased interest will be offset by decreased interest for the bad ones. Of course, the boost could come from all the good teams playing in larger population areas than the bad ones but that the opposite could be just as true.

                      If you’re trying to say the CFL is a “safer” content provider with ratings that will be steadier in bad years, then I can see your argument (however don’t forget the ratings dropped 20% from 2010 to 2011 so its by no means immune from downside). But for “potential” from here today, I still see more upside in a 95+ win Blue Jays team.

    • Thanks John. It’s about time!!

    • Strange that never any time there are games on TSN and TSN2 at the same time. I can’t think there is live autoracing or whatever on every Saturday morning to cause a conflict.

  7. I wrote to the CRTC and here is the answer I got regarding SPEED and FS1:

    Q: With the future change of Speed Channel to Fox Sports 1 on August 17th, I was wondering if the TV channel would still be authorized for distribution in Canada.

    A: Fox Cable Networks has confirmed that Speed will continue to be carried within Canada and as well as outside of Canada. The description of its service will be unchanged; Speed is and will remain focussed on motorsports.

    I was hoping to be able to watch FS1 in part for Jay and Dan. Guess now I’ll have to find another way…

    • I’m really interested to see how Fox does this, considering the only other areas Speed is carried in are Latin America and Australia. The Latin American version is in Spanish obviously, while the Australian is a completely separate channel that isn’t approved for carriage in Canada.

      Thanks for the info!

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