March Mid-Month Missive

It’s been awhile, so here is everything you may have missed.

Bell Media, after launching similar services for CTV and CP24, have finally launched their on-demand video streaming service, TSN GO. With it, you will be able to stream many a sporting event on your computer, tablet and smartphone for free. Is there a catch, you ask? Of course there is! This is one of the two evil empires who control a majority of everyday technology in Canada. For now, you must be a Bell or Rogers TV subscriber, and have a package that includes TSN and/or TSN2. Additional TV services (Shaw being the major snub here) are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, so Bell says.

TSN GO can be accessed via or downloading the app from the Android or Apple store. Notably yesterday and today, if you were looking to watch the NCAA March Madness play-in games, while previous years they streamed for free, you will now need to login to TSN GO to access.

I haven’t visited the site in question,  but from what I can tell from the press release, seems to be TSN’s Canadian version of ESPN’s Grantland with a splash of Deadspin. Grantland was named after an old-timey American sportswriter. I have no idea what bar down means, and I don’t really care enough to Google it. From the press release:

“TSN is going BarDown, covering sports far beyond typical hard news, stats, and analysis. Launching today, brings Canadians fun, original, and buzz-worthy sports content with a pop culture twist. BarDown takes the hottest headlines, viral videos, GIFs, and more from the worlds of sports and pop culture and packages it all in one place – from the best of @Biznasty to where Drake and Jermain Defoe have dinner. Helmed by Managing Editor Dave Krikst, BarDown also features original video, news, and features from a team of talented young writers and sports fans.”

During the 10 days of the Sochi Paralympics, one in four Canadians tuned in according to the CBC. Over 8.8 millions Canadians watched some of the broadcast on either CBC, Sportnet or Accessible Media Inc. (AMI). Canadians were able to see more Paralympic action than ever before, with more than 90 hours of TV coverage and 250 hours available online.

Sad: Speed disappeared from Rogers channel lineups at the beginning of March, pissing off a bunch of people. Bell informed their subscribers that Speed may or may not be disappearing in the very near future, potentially pissing off a bunch of people. Shaw haven’t said anything (yet) about removing the channel, keeping their motor sports fans happy (though they have other reasons to be pissed off: see TSN GO above). The chances of TSN or Sportsnet picking up the NASCAR rights that Speed held (Truck series, Sprint and Nationwide practice and qualifying) are slim. The chances of either network picking up any of the other motoring programming being shown? All but zero.

Not Sad: As previously posted on this blog,, beIN Sport is now available on Rogers and Bell for all your glorious Spanish and Italian soccer needs (among other things) after getting nothing for so long. According to Bell, the channel will be on free preview until April 22, when you’ll need to fork over a very steep $15 a month to keep it. From what I have read, the date and price is similar for Rogers customers.

The Formula 1 season began last weekend with the Australian Grand Prix and as usual, TSN has live coverage for all 19 races including practice and qualifying (yet still zero pre- or post-race programming. RIP Speed). Coverage is provided by the BBC with commentary from Ben Edwards and David Coulthard. RDS will also have live coverage for every race, including the Canadian Grand Prix from Montreal. Go here for the full broadcast schedule.

TSN says that Toronto FC’s first game of the season, and first with new members Jermain Defor, Michael Brady and Julio Cesar, had a 15% increase in ratings over their season opener last season. Just shy of 300,000 viewers tuned in to watch TFC defeat Seattle 2–1 in Seattle and more than 1.5 million viewers tuned in at some stage during the match. North American soccer having bigger ratings than the NHL — who woulda thunk it. The game was the third most-watched MLS game ever on TSN (which says something about the viewership of the MLS Cup) and the teams most-watched game since 2011. Everything is coming up MLSE…

…Or not. Despite having their best record in a long time, and an almost certain berth in the playoffs, the ratings for the Raptors haven’t really grown at all since the team got good. This past Friday in their game against Memphis on TSN, they got 189,000 sets of eyeballs watching, while Sunday’s game against the Suns only found the attention of 117,000 people — the second smallest sporting TV audience for the weekend. (Numbers courtesy of Chris Zelkovich)

MLS ON TSN Kicks Off Extensive Coverage of Toronto FC’s Most Anticipated Season Yet
Every Game, All Season Long: MLS ON TSN Kicks Off its Complete Coverage of Vancouver Whitecaps FC
MLS and Impact: A Special in Anticipation of the 2014 Season Kick Off at RDS

6 thoughts on “March Mid-Month Missive

  1. Very good info……thanks……Go TFC!

  2. I haven’t clicked on BarDown yet, mostly because the name is so stupid.

  3. At least RDS airs a pre-race show before all the F1 races and sticks around for the post-qualifying interviews. I do give credit for TSN putting second Friday practice on TSN2 which we’d be unable to (legally) see since the demise of and Speed (Fox) losing the US rights to F1. RDS will also air all three practices for the Grand Prix du Canada weekend, but I’ll be there for it myself anyway :)

    According to the link below NBC will carry four grands prix again this year as well being Monaco, Canada, United States, and Brazil. Leigh Diffey, David Hobbs, and Steve Matchett will commentate and be on site at Monte Carlo, Montreal, and Austin. Looking at their broadcast times it appears they will air a pre-race show ahead of the Monaco and US races.

  4. Grantland Rice (1880-1954) was a prominent sports writer in the first half of the 20th century. He coined the backfield of the 1924 Notre Dame the “Four Horsemen”. Google it.


  5. Bein sport is an amazing channel. I saw the best game of the season on Sunday with an excellent after game coverage. Live interviews with coaches, players and a round table discussion. Sportsnet world got some catching up to do for sure now.

    I really wonder what’s going on with GOLTV, I see their microphone with every TFC interview, they dont even have a HD channel. I hope sportsnet world grabs Bundesliga.

  6. “TSN is going BarDown, covering sports far beyond typical hard news, stats, and analysis.”

    Except that’s exactly what sports media especially in this country is missing. I would love to see a Kirk Goldsberry or a Zach Lowe (two NBA writers for Grantland with great statistical analysis) on BarDown, perhaps with an emphasis on the NHL. Comparing this site to Grantland, and hell even Deadspin, is insulting. If anything it’s 2008-era Oh No They Didn’t! mixed in with some Buzzfeed.

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