Please Let This Be The End Of Tweets On Sports Broadcasts

The only exciting news to come out of another long NHL Trade Deadline Day on Monday was TSN airing a wildly inappropriate joke tweet that somehow got past whatever social media intern was supposed to be manning the system.

Screenshots of the broadcast quickly spread around the interweb and even earned a reply from one of the players in question. By 1pm, the TSN PR account tweeted out a general apology.

However, TSN didn’t issue a formal online or onscreen apology until last night during their Leafs broadcast, and that was only after the parties involved in the tweet, Maple Leafs players Joffrey Lupul and Dion Phaneuf, and Phaneuf’s wife Elisha Cuthbert issued a lawsuit threat to the network as well as the original author of the tweet in question. Below is the statement:

The following is a statement by Peter A. Gall, Q.C. of Gall Legge Grant & Munroe LLP on behalf of their clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul.

“On behalf of our clients Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and Joffrey Lupul, we have sent a letter to TSN demanding that TSN issue a formal apology and pay a significant amount of damages to each of our clients for broadcasting a false and defamatory tweet during their trade deadline show yesterday. We are sending a similar letter to the author of the tweet, Mr. Anthony Adragna.

“It is bad enough that there are people who spend their time using social media to publish such false and malicious stories, but it is made much worse when a reputable media outlet like TSN gives broad circulation and credibility to these false stories by republishing them as TSN did.

“If TSN and Mr. Adragna do not immediately comply with the demands set out in our letters, we have instructions from our clients to immediately commence a lawsuit against them.

And TSN’s apology:

On Monday when TSN was reporting on the NHL trade deadline it displayed a scrolling ticker of tweets from the public.

In spite of TSN’s protocols to prevent unfounded and inappropriate tweets from making it to air, a false, and inappropriate tweet was allowed to run.

There was no basis for the false allegation made in this tweet.

TSN unreservedly apologizes to Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert and regrets any embarrassment this unfortunate incident has caused to them.

It seems unlikely that this will go to court and no doubt TSN will pay damages to the trio in an undisclosed settlement.

We can only hope that this leads to the end of sports broadcasts being filled with boring and uninteresting tweets and hashtags. Does anyone other than the author actually read the endless stream that adds nothing of value to the broadcast? In the end, the TSN’s of the world will most likely continue to show viewer tweets, albeit with much more moderation, as they want to social media for further #engagement and improving their #brand.

— Dan | @SportsOnCdnTV

Trade Deadline Day 2015 on Sportsnet and TSN

Trade Deadline Day 2015 will the the first since Sportsnet took over all national NHL rights. Whether this makes a difference for viewers or not remains to be seen later in the week when the ratings come out. Last year’s TSN broadcast on deadline day had four times as many viewers  as Sportsnet, TSN averaged 243,000 vs. 63,000 on Sportsnet — all poor souls who apparently haven’t harnessed the ability of getting push alerts on their phones instead of watching television for ten hours.


Begins at 8am ET for ten hours on all four Sportsnet regional channels, and Sportsnet Now.

  • Main Desk – Host Daren Millard is joined by Mike Johnson, Nick Kypreos and Kelly Hrudey to navigate a day’s worth of news
  • Breaking News Desk – Christine Simpson is joined by Elliotte Friedman, Chris Johnston and John Shannon to deliver the latest trades and rumours
  • Reaction Panel – Jeff Marek referees the expert panel of Glenn Healy, Doug MacLean, Darren Pang and Craig Simpson as they debate and discuss the big moves
  • Analytics – Damien Cox dissects the trades of the day, using analytics to explain why a player was traded and what the teams were looking for
  • In the Hot Seat – George Stroumboulopoulos provides insightful interviews and discussions throughout the day
  • Digital Zone – Sophia Jurksztowicz keeps a pulse on the fan reaction on social media
  • Around the League – Sportsnet’s comprehensive network of reporters check in from across the league to share reactions in real-time


Begins at 8am ET for ten hours on the four regional TSN feeds TSN1/3/4/5, and TSN GO.

  • Host: James Duthie
  • Trade Breaker Desk: Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, Pierre LeBrun, and Gord Miller
  • Instant Analysis Panel: Aaron Ward, Ray Ferraro, Jeff O’Neill, Pierre McGuire
  • Deadline Panel: Darren Dutchyshen, Martin Biron, and Ron Wilson
  • Trade Bait: Craig Button
  • Post2Post: Jamie McLennan
  • TSN The Reporters Panel: Dave Hodge with Michael Farber, Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons, and Toronto Star’s Bruce Arthur
  • Satellite Contributors: Gary Lawless, Francois Gagnon, and Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch
  • Social Contributor: Cabral “Cabbie” Richards
  • SPORTSCENTRE Updates: Jennifer Hedger
  • SPORTSCENTRE Bureau Reporters: Cory Woron, Mark Masters, Jermain Franklin, Sara Orlesky, Farhan Lalji, Brent Wallace, John Lu, Ryan Rishaug, Sheri Forde, and Matthew Scianitti

Free agent Dustin Penner was scheduled to be apart of TSN’s coverage as a “social contributor” alongside Cabral Richards, however Penner has been cut after making a couple of rape “jokes” on Twitter last night (Saturday). Unfortunately, Cabbie will still be on screen.

15th Annual Hockey Day In Canada This Saturday On CBC, City, Sportsnet

With over 13 hours of coverage, the 15th annual Hockey Day In Canada takes place this Saturday from Halifax, Nova Scotia. It will feature an NHL triple-header included in the five national games taking place featuring all seven Canadian teams. Also included is a CHL double-header on Friday and Saturday night from Halifax.

George Stroumboulopoulos will be front-and-centre hosting from the Hockey Central studio in Toronto, while Ron MacLean will be on-location at the Outdoor Oval in Halifax. Kelly Hrudey, Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos join Stroumboulopoulos in Toronto, with Don Cherry, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Jennifer Botterill, and NHL alumni including Wendel Clark, Lanny McDonald and Guy Carbonneau joining MacLean in Halifax.

The broadcast will also visit the following communities throughout the day:

  • South Delta, BC (Ladner Leisure Centre) – Sportsnet’s James Cybulski will be joined by former Canucks goalie Kirk McLean
  • Downsview, ON (Scotiabank Pond) – Sportsnet’s Carly Agro will be joined by former Leafs forward Shayne Corson
  • Chambly, QC (Isatis Sport Chambly) – Sportsnet’s Chantal Desjardins will be joined by former Habs goalie Jose Theodore

Back-to-back Halifax Moosehead games from Scotiabank Centre will highlight the CHL part of the broadcast with games on Friday night (7pm ET on Sportsnet) and on Saturday night (7pm ET on Sportsnet). Host Rob Faulds will be joined by analysts John Shannon and Todd Warriner, while RJ Broadhead calls play-by-play alongside analyst Sam Cosentino. Saturday’s game features a special ceremonial puck drop with MacLean and Cherry.

The full schedule is below. All times are Eastern. Continue reading

NHL On Rogers: Ratings Are Down, Rating Are Flawed

David Shoalts over at The Globe & Mail has published two fantastic pieces in the past two months on the slow start and low ratings Rogers has been getting in the first six months of their $5.2-billion, 12-year television and online deal with the NHL. Rogers promised advertisers before the season began of a 20% increase in viewers in their first season of the new deal and jacked up advertising rates to match that. That number currently sits at only 11%. Either Rogers underestimated just how much NHL Canadians want to watch, or the more likely scenario (especially if you frequent hockey discussions online) is that Rogers has ruined what was a perfectly good product in Hockey Night In Canada with flashy sets and terrible personalities.

Shoalts’ first article from December focused on the ratings numbers. The Saturday night early game was up just 9% — this is a combined rating of all 7pm games across the Rogers’ networks. The late west coast Saturday game though is down 17%, despite two games generally being shown this season compared to mostly a single CBC game last year. The Wednesday night national slot is doing better than last year with a 26% increase. Sunday night’s Hometown Hockey though.. oh, boy! Rogers say the ratings on City are better than whatever trash City was showing on a Sunday night last season, but some games have been getting well under half a million viewers, something that has rarely happened in past years when a Canadian team plays on national television.

Shoalts’ second article on the subject published last week sent everybody into pained laughter with Sportsnet president Scott Moore blaming Numeris, the company in charge of collecting television and radio ratings in Canada, on Rogers’ low NHL ratings halfway into the season. The quote came on the heels of ratings for the All-Star game drawing one-million less viewers than the last All-Star game in 2012 (1.479 millions versus 2.454 million). The Skills competition (800k less) and Fantasy Draft (600k less) were also down on 2012 numbers. The Winter Classic number was also down (1 million versus 3.6 million last year) though that can somewhat be explained by last year’s game featuring Toronto and this year’s being an all-U.S. matchup. Continue reading

Denver Post Writer Adrian Dater’s Creepy/Sexist Twitter Direct Messages

Yesterday news broke that sports media blogger Steve Lepore had been accused (with proof) of asking random women on Twitter if he could take (potentially) nude photographs of them. It was creepy and weird, but let’s be honest, as much as Lepore is well-known in sports media circles and maybe amongst other hockey fans, he’s just one of many bloggers who write for sites such as Awful Announcing (where he was subsequently fired). As is usual when someone finally steps forward with an accusation, the floodgates open and many more victims come forward. In fact around twenty more women accused Lepore of similar conduct yesterday.

Which then lead to the accusation (again, with proof) of similar misconduct by Denver Post writer Adrian Dater. Unlike Lepore, Dater is very well known. He is the Colorado Avalanche beat writer for a newspaper that is over 100 years old. He is credited with breaking the news that the NHL lockout had ended in the early morning hours of January 6, 2013. Yes, he broke the biggest NHL story of 2013 ahead of the likes of McKenzie, Lebrun and Kypreos. Oh, and he was also suspended by the Denver Post for two weeks in October for calling a hockey player a “pussy” on Twitter. A stance which he proceeded to defend.

Then today a woman, who is seemingly just a random Red Wings fan from Calgary named Maria Camacho, on Twitter accused him of similar misogyny he had been caught for in the past, as well as harassment. Ms. Camacho began with a Tweet stating, “I’m gonna to speak out about someone. I’m not gonna accuse them, I’m just going to post the screenshots and you can make your own judgement.” She followed up with screenshots of Dater complimenting her on a new profile pic, and then asking, “well, if you feel like showing more before that crop:” She also posted a screenshot of Dater telling her he is “not going to argue with a woman.

Interesting to see if the Denver Post reprimands him for this. Surely they have to. Thought I’d give this a little more attention since it may fly under the radar. He boasts in his Twitter bio that he is a husband and father, bet this will go down great at home.

More to come… assuming the Denver Post responds.

Bell files complaint with CRTC over Rogers GamePlus Feature

gamecentreBell Media, recent losers in the battle for the NHL national rights contract, has filed a complaint with the CRTC over their GamePlus feature that is available as a Rogers-exclusive on the NHL GameCentre Live app. Bell argues that the feature violates a CRTC rule that requires that content created for television must be offered to competitors. GamePlus allows viewers to choose alternate angles including RefCam and SkyCam.

The Globe and Mail elaborates on the CRTC rule:

The CRTC’s rules for vertically integrated players – companies that both create and distribute media content – bar media owners from withholding content from their rivals on the distribution front. The commission exempts online video services from its broadcast regulations, but specifies that television programming cannot be offered on mobile or Internet streaming platforms on an exclusive basis.

In an email to the Globe and Mail, a Rogers spokesperson stated, ““Clearly this programming is not designed for conventional TV. Conventional TV broadcasts the exact same program to a mass audience who all see the same content, presented the same way. With GamePlus, each fan has a unique experience. We wouldn’t have developed [the features] solely for broadcast use.”

The spokesperson then throws some massive shade, “It’s a shame that Bell is trying to stop innovation in hockey. This may be one of the reasons they failed to secure the rights in the first place. We’ve invested in significant new innovations to bring Canadians an enhanced experience.”

Bell is asking the CRTC to allow all subscribers to view GamePlus, regardless of their internet or wireless provider:

In an e-mail, BCE spokesman Mark Langton said: “We don’t see it as especially innovative that Rogers denies GameCentre consumers access to these stats and other features if they aren’t also Rogers internet or wireless customers. These consumers pay for GameCentre just like Rogers customers so why are they denied access to features available on regular broadcast TV anyway? It breaks the CRTC’s digital media rules, and it impacts all GameCentre consumers across Canada who love hockey but aren’t Rogers customers.”

Rogers has a month to respond to the complaint. The general public can also comment on the complaint via the CRTC site.

Dan — @SportsOnCdnTV

FX Canada Now Available On Bell Just In Time For Hockey

FX_CanadaBell Fibe and Bell Satellite TV customers finally had FX Canada and FXX Canada added to their programming lineup yesterday morning after hearing and seeing “NOT AVAILABLE ON BELL” since the channel launched in October 2011. The addition came on the eve of FX Canada’s first Saturday night showing NHL as part of the 12-year contract Rogers signed earlier this year. FX and FXX Canada are owned by Rogers.

FX Canada will show a US-vs-US matchup each Saturday night during the regular season. Tonight is Washington at Boston, followed by Boston at Buffalo, Chicago at St. Louis, and Washington at Tampa Bay over the coming weeks.

It could be coincidence or maybe Bell finally caved and realized they could potentially be fielding hundreds if not thousands of complaints every weekend for the next six months from upset hockey fans. There is no confirmed information on why Bell had held out for the past two years, but the speculation is that Rogers wanted the channels in a package and Bell wanted to offer it a la carte. I guess hockey trumps all.

FX Canada can be found on channel 1331 on Bell Fibe and 1290 on Bell Satellite. It is on free preview until November 13 with no details on pricing after that date available yet.