— The WWE Network is will soon be available to more viewers in Canada. In addition to Rogers and Eastlink, the following providers will add the WWE Channel and have access to the on-demand feature: Telus Satellite (Feb 25), Videotron (Feb 25), Cogeco (Mar 26), and Telus Optik & Shaw in March sometime. Rogers has a ten-year agreement to broadcast all WWE TV and digital content which is why you can’t sign up for it without a TV provider like you can in the US – unless you have a VPN, create a fake US address, and have a Paypal account.
— In an update to this post about The Fan Toronto changing their lineup, the Globe & Mail reports that the new lineup won’t actually be presented as originally announced. Andrew Walker will join Greg Brady in the afternoon slot and not the horrible Dean Blundell in the morning slot. Ryan Pinder of The Fan Calgary is rumoured to be joining Blundell to provide sports knowledge seeing as Blundell doesn’t actually appear to know anything about local sports.
— The dead corpse that is Speed Channel will be removed from all Shaw cable and satellite systems on April 1, the last major Canadian provider that still carried the channel after the US-based network ceased to exist in its original form in August 2013. While TSN and beIN picked up Speed’s major properties such as Formula 1 qualifying, NASCAR practice/qualifying, and various motorbike championships, there is a passionate motor sports fan base who were upset they couldn’t see the niche European and Australia races (among others) Speed offered – see some of the 126 angry comments on this post about the end of Speed. Allegedly, Fox Sports, owner of Speed in North America, wanted to increase the fees Rogers, Bell, et al. would have to pay for the channel despite the significant decrease in programming, hence the dropping of the channel at the end of each provider’s contact.
That said, Motors TV, Europe’s only dedicated motorsports channel, is expanding into North America and could fill the niche motor sport void left by Speed. Of course, the CRTC would first have to approve the channel for carriage in Canada, and then each provider would have to add the channel to their lineup – something that could take months or years to happen (see: Big Ten Network, MLB Network). With motor racing not as popular here compared to say Australia or Europe, it may be awhile before Speed fans finally get a worthy replacement.
— Hockey Night In Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos was on ESPN’s Olbermann a couple weeks ago and discusses his role as host on HNIC and the unpopularity of the NHL in America among other things. If you take one thing away from the interview, it’s that Keith Olbermann knows much more about hockey that “Strombo” does. Part 1 – Part 2.
— If you’re a Rogers or Shaw cable subscriber, have Sportsnet One in your lineup, and enjoy reading sports-related articles on your smartphone or tablet, good news — you get a free digital subscription to Sportsnet Magazine. Get it here.
— For rugby fans, Sportsnet World continues to hold the rights to the southern hemisphere’s two major competitions – rugby union’s Super Rugby which kicked off another season this week, and the NRL, Australia’s rugby league domestic competition. beIN has same-day replay rights to the northern hemisphere Six Nations competition which began last weekend.
— With no NFL games for the first time in months, Rogers suits must be happy to see NHL programming take the top six sports in the ratings for week ending February 9. The Raptors see their ratings increase as they continue their excellent form, though some games were beaten out by curling, EPL, and the PGA final round. Top 20 below courtesy Chris Zelkovich.
- NHL, Oilers-Leafs/Jackets-Sens/Devils-Habs, Saturday, CBC-Rogers: 2,400,000
- NHL, Penguins at Canucks, Saturday, CBC: 880,000
- NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC-Rogers: 691,000
- NHL, Canadiens at Bruins, Sunday, Sportsnet: 631,000
- NHL, Leafs at Devils, Friday, Sportsnet Ontario: 452,000
- NHL, Hometown Hockey pre-game, Sunday, Sportsnet: 305,000
- Curling, Ontario men’s final, Sunday, Sportsnet: 298,000
- NBA, Spurs at Raptors, Sunday, TSN: 285,000
- PGA, Farmers Open final round, Sunday, Global: 266,000
- Soccer, Man U at West Ham, Sunday, TSNL 261,000
- NBA, Clippers at Raptors, Friday, Sportsnet One: 225,000
- NHL, Penguins at Flames, Friday, Sportsnet West: 200,000
- Curling, Manitoba men’s final, Sunday, Sportsnet East/Ontario: 192,000
- PGA, Farmers Open third round, Saturday, Global: 178,000
- Soccer, Liverpool at Everton, Saturday, Sportsnet: 156,000
- NHL, Blackhawks at Blues, Sunday, Sportsnet360: 151,000
- Ski jumping, men’s championship, Saturday, CBC: 135,000
- Curling, Alberta men’s final, Sunday, Sportsnet West: 127,000
- Soccer, Arsenal at Tottenham, Saturday, TSN: 120,000
- Figure skating, Skate Canada gala, Friday, TSN: 103,000
- A brief article in the New York Times on the Canadian group formerly known as The Basketball Jones
- Alison Gordon of the Toronto Star, MLB’s first female beat reporter, passed away this past week
- The Worst Question in Sports: What We Talk About When We Say ‘Talk About’