Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix This Weekend

Below is a chunk of the press release outlining the details for this weekends coverage of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix from TSN and RDS.

One of the final paragraphs in the press release state that TSN is the “home of auto racing in Canada.” They say this, yet they are too cheap/moronic to produce any sort of pre- or post-race coverage for this race. For anyone who has seen Sportsnet’s coverage since they took over the Indycar rights this year, and the amount of production they put into “Canadian” coverage of all races, we should all hope they can also steal away F1 rights next time they become available.

 TSN and RDS deliver all the action from the 2013 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX as the biggest auto race on Canadian soil hits the famous Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal from June 7-9.

The networks prime fans for the 2013 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX with live practice coverage on Friday, June 7(1:55 p.m. ET on TSN2;2 p.m. ET on RDS) followed by live qualifying coverage on Saturday, June 8 (12:55 p.m. ET on TSN; 12:30 p.m. ET on RDS). Live coverage of the race itself airs Sunday, June 9 (1:55 p.m. ET on TSN; 1 p.m. ET on RDS).

In addition to broadcasting live practice, qualifying, and race coverage, TSN and RDS also feature the below highlights.

On TSN:

  • SPORTSCENTRE’s Matthew Scianitti is on Montreal’s île Notre-Dame filing reports and capturing post-race reaction
  • TSN Radio 690 Montreal covers all of the excitement from the streets of Montreal
  • TSN Digital platforms – including TSN.ca and the TSN app for iPhone and iPad – deliver al the latest highlights, results, standings, and news

On RDS:

  • Expanded practice coverage on Friday and Saturday
  • Special editions of SPORTS 30 air on Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET following RDS’ qualifying and race coverage
  • Pierre Houde, Bertrand Houle, and Christian Tortora provide in-depth analysis of the 2013 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX
  • Fan photos capturing 2013 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX excitement and posted on Instagram with the hashtag #F1MTL will be showcased across RDS platforms

2013 Formula One TV Schedule

The new Formula One season begins Sunday in Melbourne. There are a few changes to Formula One broadcasting this year. TSN’s coverage remains relatively unchanged. However, NBC is replacing Speed as the American broadcaster of the series. NBC will broadcast four races live on over-the-air television, including the Monaco Grand Prix. Their commentary team if full of familiar names with Leigh Diffey calling the races along with Steve Matchett and David Hobbs. Will Buxton will report on-site. The entire crew will join Buxton in Monaco, Montreal and Austin. And maybe best of all, for Canadian fans, NBC will show a pre-race show before the races in Monaco (30 minutes) and Austin (60 minutes). NBC will also broadcast 30-minute post-race shows following the races in Montreal, Austin and Brazil.

TSN will once again simulcast BBC’s commentary, featuring Ben Edwards and David Coulthard. Reporter Lee McKenzie (who is one of the most underused reporters in sports broadcasting) and technical analyst Gary Williams also return. The new addition to BBC’s broadcast is reporter Tom Clarkson, who filled-in for McKenzie on some BBC broadcasts last season. Clarkson has previously also worked for Ten in Australia. RDS will show every race in French with commentators Pierre Houde and Bertrand Houle. RDS will show a 30-minute pre-race show before every race.

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Canadian Grand Prix Returns to Over-the-Air on CTV in 2012

The Canadian Grand Prix, which has exclusively aired on cable for the past decade. The last time the Canadian GP (or any Formula 1 race) was on free TV in Canada was 2003 on CTV. Of course it is worth noting one of the main reasons the race is on CTV this year is because Euro 2012 is on TSN Sunday afternoon. I am quite interested to see how many viewers Formula 1 racing can pull in though.

Here is the press release detailing TSN and CTV’s coverage.

Start your engines. Formula 1 lands on Canadian soil and Bell Media’s CTV, RDS and TSN are in Montreal to bring fans extensive coverage of the 2012 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX. CTV delivers live coverage of the race from the famous Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Sunday, June 10 at 1:55 p.m. ET and on RDS at 1 p.m. ET.

Auto racing fans can get set for the race with live coverage of the qualifying for the 2012 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX on Saturday, June 9 at 12:55 p.m. ET on TSN and at 12:30 p.m. ET on RDS.

TSN’s John Lu is on Montreal’s île Notre-Dame filing reports for SPORTSCENTRE and keeping race fans updated with highlights and post-race reaction.

CTV Montreal has extensive CANADIAN GRAND PRIX coverage, with sports reporter André Corbeil live at the track and Camille Ross providing updates on the weekend’s festivities. Racecar fans can also test their broadcast abilities at the CTV Montreal “So You Think You Can Be A Sportscaster” tent.

RDS delivers exclusive French language coverage with four special editions of SPORTS 30 starting tomorrow, followed by live coverage of practice and qualifying sessions. In addition, Pierre Houde, Bertrand Houle and Christian Tortora will provide Canadian racecar fans updated with insight and analysis of the world-class race over the weekend.

TSN Radio 990 in Montreal is covering all of the F1 excitement in the city throughout the week.

The 2012 CANADIAN GRAND PRIX has 24 world-class drivers competing for the title over 70 laps. This year’s lineup includes reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing-Renault), and Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) who is leading the championship. Other top competitors include Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes), and defending CANADIAN GRAND PRIX Champion, Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes), who won last year’s race on an exciting last lap pass.

I am still  that, even with the race on CTV, Bell isn’t bothered to produce a pre or post race show. Even something from CTV Montreal would be better than nothing. Surely it isn’t that hard to throw something together with a host (Vic Rauter) and an analyst (maybe Jacques Villenueve). Add in a quick grid walk from John Lu and I’m sure it would draw some new fans in. And please those  longtime fans (like myself) who unsatisfied with TSN’s (lack of) coverage of Formula 1 in recent seasons.

2012 Formula One on TSN Schedule

TSN has released their 2012 Formula One schedule. The scheduling conflict with the Canadian Grand Prix, EURO 2012 and NASCAR on June 11 has been solved. TSN will show the Canadian Grand Prix. This means TSN2 will likely show the EURO 2012 games featuring Italy vs. Spain and Croatia vs. Ireland that afternoon.

TSN will continue to use BBC’s race coverage. Ben Edwards takes over from Martin Brundle as the main commentator this year, while David Clouthard returns as the co-commentator. Lee McKenzie returns to report from the pits.

Here is TSN’s press release with more information

Canada’s Sports Leader has flag-to-flag coverage of all 20 races from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. The Formula 1 season opens this weekend on TSN with qualifying for the AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX on Saturday at 1:55 a.m. ET (encore at 11 a.m. ET on TSN2) and the race itself on Sunday at 1:55 a.m. ET (encore at 10 a.m. ET on TSN2). See complete broadcast schedule below.

In addition to TSN’s television broadcasts, all races can be seen on TSN Mobile TV. TSN’s coverage features respected BBC commentary and analysis from former Formula 1 drivers Ben Edwards and David Coulthard, the legendary 13-time Grand Prix winner.

TSN brings fans live coverage of the only Canadian race on the Formula 1 calendar, with qualifying for the CANADIAN GRAND PRIX on Saturday, June 9 and the race from Montreal’s famous circuit Gilles-Villeneuve on Sunday, June 10.

RDS has French-language coverage of every Formula 1 race, including extensive coverage of the CANADIAN GRAND PRIX. The network kick starts the Formula 1 season with a special pre-race show this Sunday at 1 a.m. ET.

The 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP features reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel as he chases his third consecutive title. Vettel reunites with teammate Mark Webber on last year’s champion team Red Bull Racing. Also featured on this year’s grid are Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton for McLaren-Mercedes, along with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa for Ferrari. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher continues his comeback, racing with Nico Rosberg for Mercedes GP.

Continue after the break for the complete broadcast schedule.

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A Busy Weekend of Sports: In Need of Review

It has been a very busy first 12 days of June in the world of sports. The start of the month has been chalk full of major sports events and new sports broadcasts. Here is my rundown of the month so far, in particular the past few days.

  • IndyCar had a very good idea in having back-to-back half distance races at Texas last night. The only problem was the execution. After the first race, there was a draw for starting positions for the second race. This process took over a half an hour. Even though I’m a huge IndyCar fan, I simply lost interest and went to bed between races. Had there been one race, I wouldn’t have even considered it. A suggestion for next year, have the draw during the pre-race show and make it a bit quicker.
  • Also on Saturday, 2011 Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon made his commentary debut on Versus. He was filling in for Wally Dallenbach who was busy with NASCAR on TNT duties in Pocono. I thought Wheldon did spectacular considering it was his first crack at commentary. Wheldon also brought in a sense of humour when Wade Cunningham crashed his Indy 500 winning car during the first race. He seemed to stay unbiased and had a good inside view of what the drivers thought on issues.
  • The Formula 1 Grand Prix du Montreal took place earlier today. I was fairly vocal of what I thought of TSN’s coverage (or lack-there-of) last week. However, based on the coverage they did air, they did a good job. For the most part commercial breaks were kept to a minimum and were inserted at good times. Of course this was easy since more than half of the four hour broadcast was spent under red flag conditions or behind the safety car. Fox also deserves credit for sticking with the broadcast past 3pm ET, instead of moving it to Speed.
  • BBC’s Martin Brundle and David Coulthard had the impossible job of keeping viewers entertained for 2, commercial free, hours of the rain delay in Montreal. For the most part they did a good job. The broadcast did hit a low when David asked Martin if he knew that “racecar” is spelled the same way frontwards and backwards.
  • TSN was also stuck with the impossible situation of having its coverage of the big England-Spain game at the 2011 UEFA Under-21 Championship delayed due to the Formula 1 race running over two hours long. I don’t think they made the right decision by delaying such a big game to midnight ET, while only showing the 2nd half this afternoon. I would have replaced the Ukraine-Czech Republic match at 6pm ET on TSN2 with the England-Spain affair. Then they should have aired Ukraine-Czech Republic at midnight on TSN.
  • And that leads to my next point. TSN has almost grown to the point again where they have too many broadcast properties. This was first an issue a few years back when NASCAR fans constantly bickered with IndyCar fans, while soccer fans bickered with tennis fans about what sports should be shown live, and which ones should be forced into late night oblivion. The creation of TSN2 alleviated these concerns from all sides and fans of all sports have co-existed in peace for the past few years. However, now TSN is slowly starting to run out of space again. Fans might benefit from an online version of TSN, much like ESPN3.com in the States.
  • TSN has tapped Nigel Reed to cover the UEFA Under-21 Championship. Reed, a regular in the past on CBC’s MLS coverage, has now appeared on CBC, Sportsnet and TSN this year, along with a weekly radio show on The Fan 590. He may no longer have full time employment, but he is certainly keeping busy.
  • While Reed may not be the best football commentator in the world, he much better than the alternative: the UEFA provided commentary feed. Anyone who has heard Tim White or John Bradley (who called the games on Saturday for the international feed), knows what I’m talking about.
  • TSN will produce a pair of MLS doubleheaders in July. The first on July 6 and the second on July 20. Luke Wileman and Jason de Vos will obviously be one of the commentary crews. At least half of the secondary crew is now known; former Canadian National Team coach Dale Mitchell should be the analyst. Either Nigel Reed or Vic Rauter could join him in the booth.
  • The newest edition to Sportsnet’s Blue Jays broadcast crew has brought some good and bad. Alan Ashby is a very good analyst and I thought he worked well with Buck Martinez during the Blue Jays-Royals series. On the other hand, he is a terrible play-by-play. Watching the Red Sox-Blue Jays game yesterday was grating. He asks unclear questions of his analyst – there were multiple times where Tabler had to ask him to clarify what he was talking about – and he talks too much in general. Baseball is a game that can tell its own story. There is no need to fill every second with chatter.
  • Amazingly, I have been turned back to CBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals. I can’t really pinpoint whether their coverage has been better this year than in the past, or if NBC’s has been worse. I think it is probably a combination of the two. Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson have been superb. Glenn Healy has been better than usual (maybe the right word would be, not as grumpy) and Don Cherry has (surprisingly) made some good points. And, of course, nobody can beat the pre-game atmosphere that CBC creates. They let the game tell the story. Meanwhile, NBC has tried to create storylines that aren’t there (ex. USA vs. Canada) and Mike Milbury has referred to the Bruins as “we”.
  • ABC’s ESPN’s coverage of the NBA Finals has been okay. Mike Breen and Magic Johnson continue to be bright spots. It is also nice to see Stuart Scott, who is battling cancer, working these broadcasts. Otherwise, ABC’s coverage continues to lack behind NBC’s coverage from 10 years ago and TNT’s current coverage.
  • Also over at ESPN, #1 analyst Mark Jackson has been hired by the Golden State Warriors to be their head coach next season. ESPN will have a couple of choices of what to do with the top team. One choice would be to leave it as a two-man booth with Breen and Jeff van Gundy. Another would be to throw Hubie Brown on the Breen/van Gundy team. Personally, I’d take van Gundy off the top team and have Breen/Hubie work the big games, with Mike Tirico and van Gundy working as the secondary crew.

Formula 1 Hits The Streets of Montreal This Weekend

The FIA Formula One World Championship makes its lone North American stop in Canada this weekend. The famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre Dame in Montreal. TSN will have coverage on Saturday from 12:55pm ET with qualifying and Sunday from 12:55pm ET with the race. Speed will also present coverage of Friday practice on Friday afternoon from 2pm ET. TSN will use the BBC commentary feed again for their coverage. Martin Brundle and David Coulthard will be live in Montreal to call the race, with Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie reporting from the pits.

I usually don’t bother promoting French-language coverage of an event here, but if you want really good coverage of the Grand Prix of Canada, then RDS is the place to turn. They will have live coverage of all 3 practice sessions, Friday at 9:30am ET and 2pm ET, as well as Saturday at 9:30am ET. They will also have qualifying Saturday at 12:30pm ET and the race Sunday at 12:30pm ET (a 30 minute pre-show is included in both broadcasts). Pierre Houde, Bertrand Houle and Christian Tortora will have the call of everything live from Montreal.

I think this weekend would be a great weekend for TSN to attempt to show BBC’s pre-race coverage. They would have to insert their commercials, but I imagine it is possible to do. BBC has a pre-race show at 12:15pm ET on Saturday and at 12:00pm ET on Sunday.

Week in Review

I probably won’t have a lot of time to write this week, so I instead of writing a few different pieces, I will probably only have this one. That is unless something big comes up.

  • I received my fair share of criticism for saying I liked the way TSN covers NCAA March Madness. Let me be clear, their coverage wasn’t perfect. Some major gaffes I noticed including TSN2 cutting coverage short for tape delayed curling last Saturday and Sunday even though there were still two games going on. Thank goodness, they fixed this on Thursday when TSN2 stayed on until the completion of their game. Also on Thursday TSN made the choice to show UConn-San Diego State (which was available on CBS) over  a better matchup between Florida and BYU.  This was quite simply the wrong decision, especially considering Florida-BYU was the better matchup. They did make the switch at halftime though. On Friday TSN actually made the right choices showing both TBS games. TSN2 also stayed on the air a full 35 minutes longer than they were supposed to until the NHL on TSN broadcast concluded. I think they might actually get how to broadcast the tournament now. I say give them another chance next year and the coverage will improve significantly. Unless you like Court Surfing that is, because they probably won’t bring that back.
  • Another problem with TSN’s coverage was the studio show. I thought the analysts were good, but they all seemed to lack a little. The addition of Dan Shulman on Thursday night helped a lot. James Cybulski is quite simply a terrible host. This confuses me because he is an excellent reporter. While I like all of Sherman Hamilton, Leo Rautins and Jack Armstrong, they just don’t have enough time to follow college basketball because they work NBA games the rest of the year. For next year I’d like to see TSN bring in Rod Black to host, as well as a coach of a US college team as a guest analyst. Of course it would make sense if this person was Canadian. Another option would be to bring in an ESPN analyst. I’d like to see Hamilton, Rautins and Armstrong remain involved though. By the way, Dan Shulman will be back on TSN2’s coverage of the National Championship game next Monday night.
  • I think that the CBS/Turner combination has worked out great. Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith add a lot to CBS’s studio show. It is also great to hear Marv Albert calling college basketball, especially for someone like me who doesn’t really watch the NBA. There were people in the US who complained about some games being on cable, but now every game is available nationally. That isn’t as big of an issue as half the games being online only, like happened in the first and second round during the CBS regional days.
  • I was pleasantly surprised about how good TSN’s MLS coverage is. It didn’t surprise me at all that Luke Wileman and Jason deVos are one of the best broadcast teams in MLS, but the presentation of the games was better than I expected. Usually Canada is only better than the US at broadcasting hockey, but TSN’s MLS broadcast team is better than ESPN’s crew of the dreadfully boring Adrian Healey and John Harkes, who talks too much without really saying a lot.
  • Formula One make its high definition debut this morning on TSN. I won’t go on an annual spiel about TSN’s coverage, but I think we all agree it has gone downhill since they began forcing blackouts on Speed’s coverage a few years back. There was a point where I loved TSN’s coverage, now I almost long for Speed. BBC’s new commentary team of Martin Brundle and David Clouthard didn’t really impress me. Brundle is far better than Jonathan Legard was, but I still prefer ITV’s James Allen. As I did last year, I listened to BBC Radio 5 Live’s commentary with David Croft this morning. Amazingly, it syncs up perfectly with the TSN video feed. I still think Croft should have been promoted to the BBC TV job this year.

2011 Formula One World Championship: Starts Saturday on TSN

There couldn’t be a better day than this Sunday to be a fan of open wheel racing. As I mentioned earlier today, the 2011 IndyCar Series kicks off Sunday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Florida. Meanwhile, the top Formula One drivers are in Melbourne, Australia for the start of the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship season. Coverage of the Australian Grand Prix will begin late Friday night at 1:55am ET/10:55pm PT with live qualifying (an encore will air at 8am ET on TSN2). Then the 55-lap race will air live late Saturday night at 1:55am ET/10:55pm PT (once again, an encore will air at 8am ET on TSN2). The 2011 Australian Grand Prix will be special because it will be the first ever high definition broadcast of a Formula One race for a worldwide audience. Every Formula One race in 2011 will be available in HD on TSN HD.

Once again Speed will air coverage in the United States. In Canada most of their live broadcasts will be blacked out due to TSN’s exclusive rights; however, Friday practice and encore broadcasts of qualifying and the races will be available. Four races this summer will air on Fox. Those will be available in Canada.

TSN will be picking up the BBC’s coverage again for the 2011 season. This year BBC will debut a new commentary team consisting of former drivers Martin Brundle and David Clouthard. It will be interesting to see how Brundle, a long time analyst, will handle his first season doing play-by-play. Ted Kravitz and Lee McKenzie will return as pit reporters for BBC. The tried and true team of Bob Varsha, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett will be calling coverage on Speed and Fox again. Will Buxton will return to report from the pits.

You can see the full 2011 Formula One on TSN broadcast schedule here. Highlights incude the Monaco Grand Prix (May 29), Canadian Grand Prix (June 12) and the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix (November 27).