The Dog Days of Summer Roundup

It’s been awhile. Here are a bunch of things you may or may not know about.

Baseball Ratings
On July 29th, the Blue Jays got their highest ever ratings for a non-opener. Just over one million people tuned in to watch the Jays take on the Red Sox, a record that has been set and broken numerous times since the beginning of the season as the Jays slowly climbed into first place in the AL East. Since then, the ratings have gone down slightly as the team crashed out of first place and now sit a number of games out of the wild card spot. The All-Star game was the most-watched in Sportsnet history with an average audience of 653,000. Ratings for the Home Run Derby were up 11% from last year. Both no doubt due to some Jays being featured.

Rogers NHL Schedule
ICYMI, here is the press release with the full slate of over 200 games that Rogers will be showing on CBC, Sportsnet, FX Canada and City. There are still 150 games to be added to that schedule of national and regional games. Look for a more detailed post on the new NHL coverage in Canada closer to season start.

NBA Schedule
The NBA released the 2014-15 schedule last night. Not that it matters much to anyone here, but for the first time in a long time, the Raptors have a decent amount of games on national television in the US. Nine in total, with three on ESPN, one on TNT and the remaining on NBA TV. The annual Christmas Day marathon will see Wizards-Knicks, Thunder-Spurs, Cavs-Heat, Lakers-Bulls and Warriors-Clippers. TSN and Sportsnet will release their Raptors and NBA schedules closer to the season opener. It will be interesting to see how fewer NBA will be on Sportsnet and whether TSN picks up the difference.

Tennis Ratings
Tennis has been in the news lately as a number of Canadians perform well in big matches, especially at Wimbledon in June where TSN recording its highest-ever ratings for the men’s and women’s final. Milos Raonic made it to the semi-final where an average of 766,000 viewers on TSN and RDS tuned in, and on the women’s side, rapid-riser Genie Bouchard lost in the final in straight sets but it still drew a combined English-French audience of 1.8 million with a peak of 2.1 million. The men’s final between Djokovic and Federer got 823,000 combined. Even the men’s doubles final with Canadian Vasek Pospisil got just over 300,000.

The Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal didn’t draw close to any of those numbers as the Canadians were all bundled out early. CBC got 178k for the finals on Sunday and 148k and 133k for the Saturday semi-finals. The US Open begins on TSN on Monday.

FIFA World Cup Ratings
The final between Germany and Argentina garnered a new ratings record for soccer in Canada. An average of 4.9 million viewers tuned in (nearly 40% more than the 2010 World Cup) with more than 11 million people at least watching part of the game. The third-place game drew 2.3 million, which wasn’t as high as other playoff games. This was the last World Cup for CBC as TSN takes over from 2018.

Deckchairs on the Titanic
Bruce Arthur from the National Post to the Toronto Star. Cathal Kelly from the Toronto Star to The Globe and Mail. Damien Cox to Sportsnet full time from the Toronto Star. All continue to be garbage clowns. Richard Westhead also leaves The Star and goes to TSN as a “senior correspondent” having covered sports business on and off over the past 20 years.

WWE Network in Canada
Rogers announced recently they signed a 10-year agreement with WWE for broadcast and online distribution. Rogers inherited WWE programming when it took over The Score and will continue to show Raw, Smackdown and it’s other weekly shows, as well as distribute WWE pay-per-view events. Fans will receive see more WWE than ever before with this new deal.

Also included are exclusive rights to the WWE Network. Launched in the US in February, American subscribers pay $10 a month for Netflix-type service that includes thousands of hours of archived programming as well as exclusive online-only shows. Here in Canada however, it is a pale comparison. First, you have to be a Rogers cable customer, and it is currently a video on-demand service through their system. So, instead of watching whatever you choose, you can only watch from a very small selection. How small? According to this Reddit post, 12 PPVs. That’s the list, and one horrible looking graphics package to present it on, all for $12 a month. Classic Rogers.

Sportsnet NOW
While Bell and Rogers customers can access TSN GO, TSN’s online streaming service, Sportsnet’s equivalent that launched back in June is still currently only available to Rogers customers. Sportsnet NOW allows you to stream all seven Sportsnet channels on any device anywhere in Canada, blackout-free. Somewhat unusual there isn’t a two-way street when it comes to Rogers and Bell customers being able to watch the live streams, but of course, being a customer of any other cable company in Canada is far worse in this situation.

beIN Sports Connect
Previously known as beIN Sports Play, the online service of beIN Sports will now be known as beIN Sports Connect and offer more matches and features than the previous incarnation. Users will be able to stream the English and Spanish network as well as matches that are available only online.

Available via beinsportsconnect.ca, it will set you back $20 a month with an option for a discounted yearly subscription. Streaming is available on desktops, tablets and smart phones. beIN Sports are exclusive holders in Canada of soccer leagues including La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Capital One Cup, League Championship, Russian Premier League, as well as the World Superbike Championship, World Rallycross Championship and more.

Fin
Pretty sure that should catch you up on everything that has happened over the past few months. Here’s hoping we can get some posts up here more consistently as the sports world begins to awaken from their summer slumber, including a post next week as TSN adds three more channels and expanding their coverage.

11 thoughts on “The Dog Days of Summer Roundup

  1. I’m definitely curious to see how TSN handles the NBA this year. I half expect them to air all the Christmas Day games and with less NHL on their national schedule, I hope it means more games on TSN1.

    This is the first I’m hearing of new TSN channels, though. How much sports content is there to even air? I can’t imagine there’s enough for five TSNs and six Sportsnets, not to mention all the little specialized channels. I guess there’s going to be a lot of sports talk? Maybe a TSN channel that shows nothing but people talking on TSN Radio 1050? Can pro dodgeball really be that far off?

    • According to other comments I’ve read, the allegedly “new” TSN3, 4 and 5 channels being promoted by Bell are merely the present TSN split into four regional feeds (with TSN2 remaining as it is), in a manner very much resembling Rogers Sportsnet. That explanation would make sense, because there would appear to have been no new licences issued for these channels by the CRTC, and more importantly the splitting into regional feeds now allows TSN to have their version of Sportsnet Ontario that can air their half of the regional Toronto Maple Leafs games while showing something else in the rest of the country. I would expect TSN1, 3, 4, and 5 to be showing the same programming most of the time, with sometimes different live events such as Leafs games being shown on the different regional channels, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing a lot of new programming.

      I hope beIN, and other fringe mainstream sports channels like the CBS Sports Channel, do not pick up any more motorsports. I don’t want to have to pay an extra $20 a month for a channel just to watch maybe one or two races a month. With the lame-duck and mostly useless Fox Speed channel sent to Canada from the US now dropped by most major Canadian carriers, IMSA has now allowed their United Sports Car Championship race and qualifying coverage to be freely streamed live in Canada in the same way it is for most of the world, after previously geo-blocking Canada like it still does in the US where Fox Sports 1 or 2 show their races. I wouldn’t mind if an all-motorsports channel (if it was like Motors TV in Europe, or the independent Speed Channel from Australia) was made available here if it carried almost all of the available motorsports beyond the minimal amount shown on TSN and Sportsnet. But otherwise I would prefer to keep watching on the internet for free or selectively paying for what I want if required, without having to pay $20 a month to subscribe to an entire channel of other stuff I don’t watch.

      I believe IndyCar has also began live-streaming their qualifying on their website. With the future of the Toronto Indy now uncertain (there definitely will not be a Toronto race in July of 2015 because Exhibition Place will be occupied by several temporary Pan Am Games venues), I wonder if Rogers would continue carrying the series if there was no event in Canada?

      • Up until a week ago I would have disagreed with the idea that the “new” TSNs would be regional channels. Then I recently saw something (I can’t remember where) that showed TSN3 being a west coast feed, TSN4 central, etc. I think that is borderline-stupid since the Sportsnet regionals are run terribly when it comes to scheduling. Other than those people in that specific region getting Connected at a reasonable time, Rogers continues to put the same thing on all four channels, and sometimes includes SN1 and SN360 as well. Do we really need the same live event on five or six different channels? If TSN adopts this way of doing things, rather than the ESPN way of showing different things on different channels (somewhat), then there’s no real improvement there.

      • The regional idea makes perfect sense! Thanks for answering my question

  2. Yesterday according to a few articles published online, the CBC let go Steve Armitage and Mark Lee. Sad news indeed that the public broadcaster has to do what it has to do without the resources and programming lineup that it once had 10 or 20 years ago. I wonder if they will be back on contract for the Rio Summer Olympics in 2016?

  3. May I ask what you have against Arthur, Kelly, and Cox?

    • They don’t spout the same opinions as the writer.

    • Arthur is a genius at saying in 800 words what mere mortals say in 25.

    • Arthur dives into whatever major sporting thing is happening on that particular day and does so with little fact or knowledge on the subject.

      I used to follow Kelly until he started spouting off during the World Cup such asinine things as crushing players for needing a water break and that a player should decide whether he is fit to continue playing after a concussion.

      And Cox is Canada’s version of Skip Bayless. Master troll and completely clueless.

      Of course, this is just one man’s opinion, but I’m definitely not alone.

  4. Here guys, check this out. From last Friday:

    http://www.thespec.com/sports-story/4762463-rogers-sportsnet-switches-channels-on-oua-football/

    I have no interest in OUA Football. But the executives at Sportsnet & Rogers COULDN’T think straight enough to throw OUA Football games on Citytv Toronto?

    guelphbossman is 100% right when he says that Sportsnet is terribly run when it comes to scheduling. There are so many examples that can be used from in the last 12 months which come to mind. Various NCAA College Football games from ESPN & Fox Sports 1 on Thursdays & Saturdays were dropped for UFC repeats, or the same Blue Jays, MLB Playoff games airing on both SN360 & SN1. A live NBA game between the Cavaliers @ Spurs scheduled for Saturday November 9th was advertised on Sportsnet during commercial breaks of an NFL Network simulcast two nights before the game only to be dropped for another UFC repeat. On that same night, the Ontario region signal of Sportsnet was airing “Fox Football Daily”. From the night before! Another example of Sportsnet & Rogers incompetence is that an MLB game between Cincinnati @ Atlanta was scheduled to be on all 4 regional channels (if I am not mistaken), then it was dropped in favor of an NBA Playoff game between the Heat @ Bobcats which everyone knew that Miami would win. Also, Sportsnet is either unable or unwilling (most likely the latter) to pick up any MLB games airing on Fox Sports 1.

    We will see what TSN does with their four regional feeds & national feed starting Monday. Here’s hoping that TSN & Bell do a better job than the incompetent bunch over at Rogers. If TSN doesn’t do better than Sportsnet when it comes to scheduling, don’t forget that CRTC hearings this fall are just around the corner. Maybe the Choicebook survey results from earlier this year are actually going to be taken seriously and we will see some real changes here in Canada which will benefit consumers.

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s