News & Notes Thanksgiving Edition: First Week of Rogers Hockey, TSN Radio Hockey Stats Show

Rogers seems to have gotten through their first week of 12 years of full-time NHL broadcasting without any major disasters. Personally, I haven’t seen a second of their national Wednesday night or Saturday night broadcasts due to work commitments, so I can’t comment of the television product. I have however been using GameCentre Live, so I hope to get up a post reviewing that sometime this week. Plenty of others have commented on the broadcast coverage after the weekend though:

With less work now at TSN, two of their biggest names will be making frequent trips south of the border in a major pickup for NBC. Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger have joined NBC Sports as contributors for this season according to Sports Illustrated. McKenzie will be a full-time contributor, flying down to NBC’s Connecticut studios each week for their Wednesday Night Rivalry broadcasts, as well as travelling on-site for NBC’s All-Star, Stanley Cup and Draft shows. Dreger will also appear, but the details of when and how often weren’t elaborated on. Both will continue to appear on TSN.

TSN Radio will debut a new nationwide hockey analytics shows entitled TSN Hockey Analytics. Catchy, I know. The weekly show will explore the latest on advanced statistics in hockey, which is all the rage these days, in case you haven’t heard. The show will air Saturday afternoons on TSN Radio stations across the country, as well as live streamed online at, via the TSN GO app and available as a podcast download. Hosted by Andy McNamara, it will feature regular appearances by the TSN Hockey team as well as Globe and Mail hockey writer James Mirtle, stats writer Travis Yost, analysts Jamie McLennan and TSN’s statman Scott Cullen.

Telus Optik TV customers are now the latest Canadians to have access to TSN GO website and mobile streaming service. The list of providers that can now use the service include: Bell TV, FibreOp TV (Bell Aliant), NorthernTel, Rogers, Shaw Cable, Shaw Direct, and Source Cable.

ICYMI: FX Canada Now Available On Bell Just In Time For Hockey
ICYMI: Sportsnet Boasts Huge Numbers For NHL Opener, Though Down From CBC Last Year
ICYMI: 2014 MLB Postseason: ALCS and NLCS on Sportsnet and Fox

Dan — @SportsOnCdnTV


News & Notes: TSN Radio Vancouver, No OUA on Sportsnet

tsnvancouverTSN Radio Vancouver: The Team radio stations in Vancouver of Team 1040 and Team 1410 will fall under the TSN Radio brand beginning today. They join already rebranded stations in Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg and Ottawa. Longtime west coast Connected anchor Don Taylor, who left Sportsnet earlier in the month, will now be with TSN 1040 full-time in their afternoon drive slot and contribute to other TSN Radio stations across the country.

OUA on Sportsnet: When The Score was purchased and rebranded by Rogers as Sportsnet 360, they continued showing Ontario University Athletics (OUA) football and basketball, which has been on Canadian television for decades. No more. Sportsnet announced their agreement with OUA has expired and they would not be renewing, but they wouldn’t be abandoning amateur athletics and they are “focused on building a national CIS presence and supporting CIS athletes across the country through our partnership with the CIS.” OUA officials quickly blamed the 12-year, $5.2-billion deal Rogers signed with the NHL and the fact games are on Saturday afternoons, right before Rogers’ massive night of hockey would begin. Sportsnet President Scott Moore came out and trashed that theory stating the low numbers of viewers (average 28,000 per game last year) didn’t justify the cost of producing ten regular season games. Sportsnet will continue to show playoff games. The OUA tried to find another broadcaster but had no luck and will try and stream every game online each week.

Layoffs at The Score: Speaking of The Score (the digital property, that is), six feature editors were let go from the company at the end of July with the official statement being it was a “strategic decision to consolidate our mobile news team into a single group in order to fully focus on producing the kind of mobile-first content our users have come to enjoy.” In other words, they are no longer interested in feature pieces or long-form writing and solely want bite-sized articles that people can read on their ever-popular app. Personally, Richard Whittle, Drew Fairservice and Dustin Parkes are all fantastic writers and deserve a permanent gig over hacks such as Damien Cox and Steve Simmons.

CBC Sports Twins: For those of you always confused CBC Sports’ twin reporters Carly and Charlise Agro,  you can now sleep well at night. Carly tweeted out on August 29 she was leaving CBC. A few days later, Carly has announced she has joined Sportsnet as part of their NHL coverage.

NHL Centre Ice: According to a tweet from Rogers, NHL Centre Ice will be $209 until October 31 and $219 from November onwards, and unlike other packages like NFL Sunday Ticket, there will be no payment by installment option. In a followup tweet, Rogers stated all digital TV subscribers should get a free preview of CI between October 8 and 14.

The Week Ahead

Monday: If your a Jays fan and are still watching their crumbling season (not judging you at all), you can see the game tonight against the Cubs at 7pm on WGN so you can rightly avoid the crappy Sportsnet broadcast with the always-terrible Buck and Pat in the booth. Of course, most people will be watching the NFL Monday Night Football double-header on TSN.

Tuesday: No WGN broadcast tonight unfortunately, but alternately you can enjoy the Royals-Tigers game on MLB Network (of course, only if you are on Rogers). UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying matches continue with five games during the day across the Sportsnet family.

Wednesday: Five games of MLB, a couple MLS games, some cycling and basketball World Cup action. Average hump day viewing.

Thursday: Jays has the night off, so enjoy Yankees-Rays which will no doubt include something relating to the September 11 anniversary. Enjoy watching three different types of football: NFL Thursday Night Football on City and simsubbed on CBS, college football on a bunch of TSN’s, and padding-free football – the English Super League.

And don’t forget, you can find daily listings of all the sports on all of the channels over at Sports on Canadian TV.

In Case You Missed It: December 6, 2013

• ICYMI: We posted earlier this week that Toronto Sports Media reported that TSN re-signed their main hockey guys in James Duthie, Bob McKenzie and Darren Dreger to long-term contracts. Rogers apparently wanted Duthie badly to host their extensive hockey coverage — which presumably means Rogers thinks Duthie is fantastic at his job (which he is), or they really didn’t want/like any of their current guys (Millard, Maclean) enough to pull it off, something every hockey forum in Canada seems to agree with. While TSN may not have the games anymore, they certainly have the best insiders in “the biz”. TSM also states that Duthie’s deal is more than just hockey and “now involves pigskin”, meaning CFL hosting or…

NFL on TSN: Toronto Sports Media (again) and Awful Announcing both reported today that CTV/TSN has allegedly acquired all rights to the NFL. This raises the following interesting questions: How does Bell expect to continue showing a decent numbers of games each week? Each week there would be constant overlap between 1pm and 4pm games, even more if you factor in overtime; TSN and TSN2 had many weeks this season where they showed no Sunday afternoon game due to clashes with CFL, NASCAR, etc. Would TSN blackout the games they show on Sunday afternoons? Is using CTV2 an option for the majority of Canada? Does CTV alienate the greater viewership by scratching their highly-rated local 6pm ET broadcast?

• During the 2014 FIFA World Cup final draw telecast earlier today, CBC and Sportsnet announced the broadcast breakdown for next year. CBC will show 56 matches live and 8 will be on Sportsnet. Sportsnet will also show all encore screenings. Kickoff times will be ideal for Canadian viewers (more so the east coast than the west coast) with the majority of games kicking off at 12pm, 3pm and 6pm ET. If you want to see the schedule for each group (unless you’re English, American, or a very devastated Aussie — such as yours truly), The Score has got you covered. Continue reading

In Case You Missed It: March 1, 2013

March has began, and with it have came programming plans for many of the big events this month. Here is a quick roundup of what’s happened in sports media this week.

The World Baseball Classic begins later tonight in Taichung and Fukouka. Sportsnet will broadcast all 39 games, beginning with Australia vs. Taiwan tonight at 11:30pm ET. 25 games will air exclusively on Sportsnet ONE. Canada’s three games will air on all four regional channels. The other 10 games will air on a mix of the two, due to scheduling conflicts with regional hockey. I may be wrong on this, but as I understand there is only one broadcast feed for the World Baseball Classic. MLB Network will produce games in the United States. MLB International will everywhere else. That means we will get two Americans calling the Canada-US game. For the first round Rich Waltz and Buck Martinez will call Group A games in Fukouka, JB Long and Joe Magrane will call Group B games in Taichung, and Gary Thorne and Jose Mota (my favourite team) will call Group C in San Juan. Matt Yallof and Jeff Nelson, and Matt Vasgersian and Jim Kaat will split Group D games in Arizona. Bob Costas will come in to call the final. Sportsnet will show all games in their entirety, except for two that are joined in progress this weekend. That’s better than in 2009 when the start of almost every game was cut off by Connected.

The 2013 Tim Hortons Brier begins tomorrow afternoon in Edmonton. TSN has more than 65 hours of live coverage of the most prestigous curling event in the world. Favourites include defending champ Glenn Howard, Jeff Stoughton, Kevin Martin, Brad Gushue and Brad Jacobs. Also take this as a sign of things to come, graphics-wise.

Sportsnet will broadcast the CIS Men’s Hockey Championship for a sixth straight year. The regional channels will show the final two pool play games on March 16, with the final on Sportsnet ONE on March 17. Alberta and Saskatchewan from Canada West, as well as UNB and St. Mary’s from the AUS have already qualified. The OUA also has two spots.

Sportsnet has officially announced their 2013 IndyCar Series coverage, as they enter their first year as the Canadian broadcaster. Sportsnet will show every race live, which I don’t think TSN ever did in all of their years covering the series. Sportsnet will have six races, including the two races in Toronto and the Indianapolis 500; Sportsnet ONE has nine; and Citytv has the two races in Detroit. Sportsnet will even have a studio crew anchored by Rob Faulds with analysts Paul Tracy and Bill Adam for four of the races. Todd Lewis will work as a pit reporter for those four races.

For those wondering about the Jays games airing on FX, there is a  reason for why those broadcasts are airing there. The decision to show them came well too late to make them Sportsnet productions. Plans are often made months in advance for any sports production. Rogers doesn’t want to show Jays games on Sportsnet that use the other teams’ feed, so they are marketing them as bonus games on FX. Of course it also can’t hurt as a promo tool for FX either.

Lastly, how about ratings this week? Sportsnet set a record for a Jays spring training game, while TSN had its highest NHL audience since the first game after the lockout in 2005.

In Case You Missed It

This feature, posting press release links with a bit of commentary at the end of the week, seemed to work quite well last week. So, I’m thinking about making it a regular feature. Gives you guys a chance to catch up on any news you may have missed this week, and saves me a bunch of time.

TSN has the Scotties Tournament of Hearts beginning this weekend. Coverage begins tomorrow at 2:00pm ET with the opening draw, featuring defending champion Heather Nedohin against New Brunswick’s Andrea Crawford. TSN will have every draw, except draw 5 tomorrow night, which airs on TSN2. There is a slight change to the schedule this year as there is no action on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Instead Friday will feature the final 3 draws, with tiebreakers and page playoffs on Saturday, and the semifinal, 3rd place game and championship final on Sunday. I think this works a lot better for fans and should help attendance. It should help maintain momentum torwards the end of the week as well.

Sportsnet has announced that Vancouver Canucks games will air on Sportsnet Pacific until 2022-23 with a new ten year extension set to kick-in next season. Sportsnet Pacific will show up to sixty games per season, although the average number is probably a bit less than that. Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean will likely still work for Sportsnet towards the end of the new Canucks deal as both have signed new multiyear deals with the network. Bob McCown joked that Kyper signed a lifetime contract, but in reality he is locked in for around ten years.

In a slightly shorter-term deal Global has re-newed its contract with the PGA Tour through 2018. Global will show 26 tournaments a year (not sure if that includes The Masters, which is a seperate contract). Along with The Masters, Global will continue to show the Players Championship, Canadian Open, two World Golf Championships events, and all four PGA playoff tournaments. Also included are the 2015 and 2017 Presidents Cups. The new contract, as with the current one, does not include all events, which leaves another small package open for another networks to pick up.

The NASCAR season begins this weekend. Coverage of the season’s non-points opener, the Spint Unlimited at Daytona, airs on CTV Two (yes you read that right) and FOX Saturday night at (8pm ET). FOX also has Daytona 500 pole qualifying on Sunday afternoon. TSN and TSN2 will show every NASCAR race after the opener. And the reason NASCAR is on CTV Two on Saturday is because TSN has the Scotties and TSN2 has NBA All Star Saturday (8pm ET). TSN also has the Rising Stars game tonight (9pm ET) and the All Star Game on Sunday night (7pm ET).

NBC’s third annual Hockey Day in America is this Sunday. NBC has a doubleheader Sunday afternoon featuring Pittsburgh @ Buffalo (12:30pm ET) and Los Angeles @ Chicago (3:30pm ET). The press release details some of the stories that are featured. There is a bit of Canadian content too as Gord Miller will call the game in Buffalo.

And, lastly, Fox has announced its 2013 MLB broadcast schedule. Included are eight primetime games beginning in late May.