Canada’s Best Figure Skaters are in Moncton This Weekend

I’m not a big figure skating fan, but anytime that New Brunswick hosts a sports event as big as the Canadian Figure Skating Championship, it is great for the province. This is just the latest major event Moncton has hosted in the past few years. Moncton was also the host city for the 2009 World Men’s Figure Skating Championships and 2010 World Junior Athletics Championships.

CTV and TSN will broadcast the Canadian Nationals on TV. Here is their press release with full details.

Canada’s top figure skaters are set to go toe-pick to toe-pick this week in Moncton, NB when they compete for national honours at the 2012 CANADIAN FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS, Jan. 20-22, live on CTV and TSN.

Coverage begins with the Women’s and Pair Event Short Programs on Friday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. ET, followed by the Ice Dance Short Dance at 7 p.m. ET on TSN (see complete broadcast schedule below).

Brian Williams hosts CTV and TSN’s exclusive coverage of the 2012 CANADIAN FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS from the Moncton Coliseum Complex. Williams is joined on-site by commentator Rod Black, analyst Tracy Wilson, and rinkside reporter Sara Orlesky, who will also be backstage as the skaters leave the ice.

The marquee national championship event boasts the biggest and brightest stars in Canadian figure skating as they look to secure a spot on the Skate Canada National Team and the Canadian teams competing at the 2012 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2012, and the 2012 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

The field of skaters at the 2012 CANADIAN FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS includes:

  • Patrick Chan (Toronto) – reigning World Champion and ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final gold medallist; the Lou Marsh Award winner looks to defend his Canadian title for the fifth straight year
  • Tessa Virtue (London, ON) and Scott Moir (Ilderton, ON) – ice dance gold medallists at the 2011 SKATE CANADA INTERNATIONAL event; they are seeking their fourth Canadian title after missing last year’s CANADIAN FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS due to injury
  • Cynthia Phaneuf (Contrecoeur, QC) – she returns to this year’s event as the defending women’s champion
  • Kirsten Moore-Towers (St. Catharines, ON) and Dylan Moscovitch (Waterloo, ON) – the pair team looks to defend their Canadian title in Moncton
  • Andrei Rogozine (Richmond Hill, ON) – the 2011 Junior World Champion moves up to the senior ranks at this year’s CANADIAN FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Continue after the break for the complete broadcast schedule.

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2011 ISU Grand Prix Canadian TV Schedule

The 2011 season of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating begins this weekend in Ontario, California. The ISU Grand Prix is one of the biggest winter sports series, with events in 6 countries (including two events in Canada this year). CBC, CTV, TSN and TSN2 will provide complete coverage of the 2011 ISU Grand Prix. For an in-depth preview, please see this article by the CBC’s Malcolm Kelly.

CTV and TSN will broadcast Skate Canada next weekend from Mississauga, while CBC Sports will broadcast the other 6 stops, including the Grand Prix Final from Quebec City in December.

The dean of amateur sports broadcasting in Canada, Brian Williams, will host CTV and TSN’s coverage of Skate Canada. The voice of figure skating in Canada, Rod Black, will call the action alongside Tracy Wilson. Sara Orlesky will report rinkside and backstage. Black, Wilson and Orlesky were all a part of CTV’s 2010 Olympics figure skating broadcast team.

Scott Russell will host CBC’s coverage. Brenda Irving, Kurt Browning and Tracy Wilson will handle play-by-play and analysis. Lori Nichol will also occasionally join CBC’s coverage to provide expert analysis.

The seven ISU Grand Prix events for 2011 are
Skate America in Ontario, California (October 21-23)
Skate Canada in Mississauga (October 28-30)
Cup of China in Shanghai (November 4-6)
NHK Trophy in Sapporo (November 11-13)
Trophée de France in Paris (November 18-20)
Cup of Russia in Moscow (November 25-27)
Grand Prix Final in Quebec City (December 8-11)

And here is the broadcast schedule for CBC, CTV and TSN.
Saturday 10/22, 2:00pm – Skate America: Dance Short & Men’s Free Skate – CBC
Sunday 10/23, 2:00pm – Skate America: Ladies Short, Pairs Short & Free Dance – CBC
Monday 10/24, 12:30am – Skate America: Pairs Free Skate & Ladies Free Skate – CBC
Friday 10/28, 2:00pm – Skate Canada: Ladies Short & Pairs Short – TSN
Friday 10/28, 7:30pm – Skate Canada: Men’s Short & Short Dance – TSN
Saturday 10/29, 2:00pm – Skate Canada: Ladies Free Skate – TSN2
Saturday 10/29, 4:00pm – Skate Canada: Pairs Free Skate – CTV
Saturday 10/29, 7:00pm – Skate Canada: Men’s Free Skate – CTV
Sunday 10/30, 4:00pm – Skate Canada: Free Dance – CTV
Saturday 11/5, 3:00pm – Cup of China: Dance, Ladies, Pairs & Men’s Free Skates – CBC
Saturday 11/12, 2:00pm – NHK Trophy: Dance, Pairs & Ladies Free Skates – CBC
Monday 11/14, 12:30am – NHK Trophy: Men’s Free Skate – CBC
Saturday 11/19, 1:00pm – Trophée de France: Men’s & Pairs Free Skates – CBC
Sunday 11/20, 2:00pm – Trophée de France: Ladies & Dance Free Skates – CBC
Saturday 11/26, 3:00pm – Cup of Russia: Ladies & Pairs Free Skates – CBC
Sunday 11/27, 2:00pm – Cup of Russia: Men’s & Dance Free Skates – CBC
Friday 12/9, 2:00pm – Grand Prix Final: Ladies Short & Dance Short – CBC
Saturday 12/10, 4:00pm – Grand Prix Final: Ladies & Men’s Free Skates – CBC
Sunday 12/11, 2:00pm – Grand Prix Final: Pairs & Dance Free Skates – CBC

Later in the season CTV will broadcast the Canadian Championships (in January), while CBC will broadcast the Four Continents (in February) and the World Championships (in March). I’ll publish those schedules after Christmas.

CBC Signs New Deal With ISU

Just a couple weeks after Skate Canada announced that its events were returning to CTV this fall, the International Skating Union has announced that its events (except Skate Canada International) will be airing on CBC for the next five years. While CTV’s contract covers the two main events that take place in Canada annually, Skate Canada International and the Canadian Championships, CBC’s contract includes this year’s Grand Prix Final in Quebec City and the 2013 World Championships in London, Ontario.

CBC’s deal, which runs through the 2015-2016 season, includes rights to all the Grand Prix events (except Skate Canada International), the Grand Prix Final, the Four Continents Championship, the World Junior Championship and the Synchronized Skating Championships. Also included is both short and long track speed skating events such as the World Championships (in both sports) the Short Track World Cup stop in Quebec City and the Long Track World Cup stop in Calgary.

CBC promises to air 120 hours of figure skating coverage between the main network, Bold and CBCSports.ca. They also say that they have signed a deal with VisionTV, which will see some coverage on that channel as well.

Here is a quote from Jeffrey Orridge, Executive Director of CBC Sports

This deal solidifies CBC’s long-term commitment to acquiring marquee, signature sports events that entertain and engage Canadians. Viewers have come to expect nothing but the best from our skating coverage, and this ensures fans will see Canadian champions competing on the world stage in the most important international figure skating and speedskating competitions. CBC Sports is thrilled to partner with the ISU and continue a relationship that has been built over decades of world-class programming.

Figure Skating Returns to CTV

For many figure skating fans in Canada, the sport is returning home this fall. CTV and TSN have signed on with Skate Canada to be the sport’s primary carrier in Canada. Beginning this fall, for the next ten years CTV and TSN will broadcast Skate Canada International (usually in September or October) and the Canadian Figure Skating Championships (in January). The 2014 and 2018 Canadian Figure Skating Championships are included in the deal. Those two events serve as the Olympic Trials for the 2014 and 2018 Olympics respectively. CTV, TSN and TSN2 will all air coverage. Fans can expect Thursday/Friday coverage to air on TSN and TSN2, with coverage Saturday night and Sunday afternoon/evening on CTV.

While it hasn’t been confirmed who TSN will use as commentators, it is a solid guess to assume that Dave Randorf will be back to host and Rod Black will resume his long time CTV duties as figure skating play-by-play. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, who worked both the last time CTV had figure skating in 2007, and on CTV’s 2010 Olympic coverage are likely to be involved as analysts. I think CTV will bring in Tracy Wilson (unless CBC retains ISU events) as their dance analyst. Liz Manley or Jennifer Robinson could be involved as well.

It is unclear whether this contract will allow for TSN to gain ISU events, such as Grand Prixs and the World Championships. If CBC wants those events back then they will have to bid on them though. In the past they were part of their Skate Canada deal. Figure skating tends to be one of the highest rated winter sports on Canadian TV, usually only behind hockey and curling, so it would probably be smart of TSN to get the Grand Prixs and World Championships, even if they just plan on using NBC’s coverage and sticking it on TSN2.

This is just the latest blow to CBC Sports. Their benchmark events 5 years ago included curling’s Seasons of Champions, the CFL, Hockey Night in Canada, the Olympics and Figure Skating. They are now only left with Hockey Night and many wonder if they will still have that in five years.

Here is a quote from Phil King, President, CTV Programming and Sports

As we saw at Vancouver 2010, figure skating has a special place in the hearts of Canadians. We all take pride in the incredible performances of stars like Patrick Chan, Joannie Rochette, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Bell Media is thrilled to bring figure skating back to CTV and give fans all of the excitement, style and drama across multiple platforms and programs.

And a quote from William Thompson, CEO, Skate Canada

Following a competitive process to determine our broadcast partner, we are obviously very excited about reaching this 10-year agreement with Bell Media because of the myriad of new opportunities it offers. With such a dedicated, professional team providing full network coverage through CTV, TSN and RDS, figure skating fans will have many opportunities to see our athletes competing. We’re also energized about the business initiatives that will be a natural outcome of this relationship, and the possibilities for sponsorship, advertising and branding across such a wide range of television and digital platforms.