99th Grey Cup a huge draw for TSN and RDS

The Grey Cup was a huge draw for TSN on Sunday night, as the BC Lions victory pulled in an average of 4.6 million viewers and a peak of 5.8 million. For those scoring at home, that makes it the most-watched sports program of this broadcast year and the fourth-highest rated Grey Cup ever. However, it’s also a slight drop from last year’s totals.

On other fronts, TSN’s broadcast was an online success, with 118,000 watching TSN.ca’s live streams and 925,000 unique visitors to the website on Sunday. Ratings for TSN radio were not included in the release.

TSN’s full media release follows, after the jump: Continue reading

Sportsnet’s new look is more than just a makeover

Branding is not just a thing, its possibly the thing. It’s what makes something stand out from the crowd. Take McDonalds: they sell burgers and fries, but so does Burger King. The way McDonalds packages, markets and even builds their restaurants is what’s sets them apart. You can look at a lobby and know it belongs to a McDonalds without even seeing the logo. That’s brand implementation at work.

Sportsnet already had a distinctive look. They were the regional sports network in Canada, with networks for Ontario, the East Coast, the West coast and Western Canada plus a national channel. This was reflected in their Connected intro, which showed clips of Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and so forth. Along with a group of radio stations, they formed a big wing of Rogers media.

On Monday, Sportsnet debuted a new look. They didn’t change anything major: there’s still five networks, they’re still called Sportsnet and their flagship show is still called Connected. But their look is different. It’s still dominated by blues, but now it’s more flashy and high-tech. Their Connected graphics look like the workings of some giant machine with blue accent lighting. I think it looks a lot like TSN, actually.

Don’t get me wrong: their overhaul looks nice. Their ticker is cleaner looking and easier to read. Their new graphics are nice. I especially how the top of all their promos highlights which network is showing what. Their new logo looks good too. And the RS fits into the middle of their flagship show’s logo, kind of like how the SC logo fits right into the middle of Sportscentre. I don’t think that was an accident.

The most successful part of the rebrand is also the most obvious one: it ties everything together. Sportsnet the station now looks like the newly-launched Sportsnet the magazine, which also looks like the logo for Sportsnet Radio. It makes perfect sense that Sportsnet would tie all their assets together, especially as TSN ramps up its TSN Radio brand. And it has the added benefit of having the brands name as a prominent part of the station name: it’s not The Fan anymore, it’s Sportsnet Radio The Fan. Their TV side is similarly SN now, more recognizable than their previous logo (what was it supposed to be, anyway?).

All in all, it’s good stuff: in a short period of time, they’ve taken their assets and combined them into a solid front. If there actually is any conflict between Rogers and TSN, this is certainly the best way Rogers could present itself.

Mark Milner is a contributing writer for The Good Point. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Is something brewing at TSN Radio?

Editors note: This is the beginning of a possible series of guest columns on Canadian Sports Media Blog. Mark Milner is the writer of the blog North of the 400, where he writes a variety of things sports related, including sports media. One of his main points of interest is radio. You can visit his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.

I spend a lot of my down time reading about sports media and looking at job boards, hoping that some great publication will post a listing I qualify for. This never happens.

But sometimes I stumble upon neat little nuggets. Take this listing for a TSN Radio on TSN position. Bell Media is looking for a producer and/or director for something called TSN Radio on TSN or TSN2.

I don’t watch much ESPN, but I’m familiar enough with them to know that ESPN2 has a live simulcast of Mike and Mike in the Morning, their flagship AM show. And I know that Rogers Sportsnet also puts it’s radio shows on the air. Could TSN be following suit?

Right now, TSN2 airs Sportscentre Morning Rush, a 15-minute version of their hour-long sports hyperbole highlight show from 5am to 1pm. Right now, TSN Radio has Mike Richards’ show running from 5:30am to 9am, followed by Dan Patrick until noon and Brian Hayes after. What would make sense to me would be a live simulcast of Richards’ show in the early mornings, followed by Morning Rush.

Here’s where things get tricky: TSN Radio recently changed their lineup. If you remember the launch schedule, TSN Radio originally had Patrick’s show in the afternoon, then Hayes and a one-hour hockey show at noon. Hockey 2Day is not currently the air. I can’t find an official statement on it’s status, but Wikipedia says it’s off for the summer.

Regardless, I find it hard to imagine that TSN, who prides itself on it’s hockey reportage, would let Sportsnet have the only NHL-centric radio noon-hour show in the GTA market. And if they do put together a new hockey show, could it have something to do with TSN Radio on TSN? Remember, TSN airs Sportscentre at noon, and TSN2 airs Morning Rush. Losing either of those for a live-to-air hockey show isn’t a big loss.

Another clue: look closely at the job posting: it “Requires a deep knowledge of Hockey.” Hmm…