Busy Weekend in Sports

This weekend is probably one of the busiest of the year in sports. There is plenty going on, so here is a quick rundown by sport.

Formula One… The first race of the season, the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, is early Sunday morning/late Saturday night at 1:55am ET/10:55pm Pacific. Formula One will race a 19-race calendar this season after the New Jersey race was postponed until 2014 and wasn’t replaced. Otherwise, the 2013 calendar is more of the same. In fact it’s the exact same aside from the dropping of the European Grand Prix in Valencia (the Spanish Grand Prix will now alternate between Valencia and Barcelona). Driver changes this year include Sergio Perez moving to McLaren replacing Lewis Hamilton, who is now at Mercedes. For more on TSN and NBC’s Formula One broadcast plans, see my article from earlier in the week.

World Women’s Curling… The 2013 event begins Saturday in Riga, Latvia. The field is stacked, perhaps even deeper than the Scotties field, I’d argue. Canada’s Rachel Homan opens against Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (Saturday 1pm ET, TSN). The top contenders for playoff sports include (World Curling Tour rankings): Homan (5th), Muirhead (6th), European Champions Anna Siderova of Russia (7th), Sweden’s Margaretha Sigfridsson (9th), Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni (11th), Erika Brown of the US (21st), China’s Bingyu Wang (23rd) and Denmark’s Lene Nielsen (24th). That’s 8 of the 12 teams in the field ranked inside the top 25 in the world. The Scotties, by comparison, had half that number. The host Latvian team is in tough; their last appearance at the Worlds was 2010, where they went 1-10.

CIS Hockey… The CIS Men’s Hockey University Cup is in Saskatoon this weekend. Sportsnet will have live coverage of two round robin games on Saturday, as well as the final on Sunday. In the first game St. Mary’s [0-1] is in desperate need of a win against Waterloo [1-0] (Saturday 3:30pm ET, Sportsnet). The second semifinal pits UNB and UQTR in a game where the winner automatically goes to Sunday’s final (Saturday 10pm ET, Sportsnet). The final is Sunday at 7:30pm ET on Sportsnet ONE. Of note, in +/- rating, UNB has 8 of the top 9 players in Atlantic Canada. Impressive.

College Hoops… March Madness officially kicks-off next Thursday; however, its easy to argue the madness has already begun with conference championships this weekend. Just ask anyone who say Illinois beat Minnesota on a buzzer beater Thursday afternoon (a game called by Gus Johnson, no less). TSN is showing the final Big East Tournament final from MSG as (19) Syracuse takes on (4) Louisville Saturday night at 8:30pm ET. Also tomorrow (8) Michigan State plays (10) Ohio State in a Big Ten semifinal (4pm ET, CBS). The winner will possibly face (3) Indiana in the Big Ten final Sunday afternoon (3:30pm ET, CBS). Other conference finals include Conference-USA (Saturday 11:30am ET, CBS), the Mountain West (Saturday 6pm ET, CBS), Atlantic-10 (Sunday 1pm ET, CBS), ACC (Sunday 1pm ET, TV38), and SEC (Sunday 1pm ET, ABC). I’ll have more on CBS and TSN’s coverage of March Madness next week.

World Baseball Classic… Now that the U.S. is out, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico will play each other for the third time in a week Saturday afternoon in a pointless seeding game (1pm ET, SN1). Despite that the DR has already beat PR twice in a week, they will play again. The winner gets a day off and will play Holland Monday night. The loser has a quick turnaround and will play Japan Sunday night. Japan outscored their opponents 30-11 in three games in the second round. And any of their pitchers can pitch on regular rest.

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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.

Friday Press Release Links

Lots of news in Canadian sports media today. I don’t have time to write about it, so here are the press releases anyway. I hope to write about CBC’s Olympic coverage and some of these bits of news sometime soon.

Sportsnet has revealed coverage for their Men’s Provincial Curling Championships as the Brier field is set today. Sportsnet had Alberta’s Boston Pizza Cup, Ontario’s The Dominion Tankard and Manitoba’s Safeway Championship. See what I wrote on Sportsnet’s coverage earlier this week here. The big news from Sportsnet today is that curling broadcast legend Ray Turnbull will return as an analyst for the Safeway Championship alongside Roger Millions. Turnbull retired from his job at TSN, where he had covered curling since 1986, in 2010. Sportsnet’s other commentators are Don Landry and Richard Hart in Alberta, and Rob Faulds and Mike Harris in Ontario. Here is the press release.

The James Cybulski project at TSN Radio is coming to an end. TSN wanted Cybulski’s show to win viewers away from Primetime Sports on The Fan 590. It obviously didn’t work as well as TSN hoped because Dave Naylor will replace him beginning February 18. TSN2 will also simulcast Naylor’s show and Mike Richards’ morning show that week. I still think shows that compete with those on The Fan are probably better. I’ll give Naylor’s show a shot though. He knows his sports. Here is TSN’s press release.

As a Moncton Wildcats fan, I’m extremely happy with Sportsnet’s announcement of upcoming CHL Friday Night Hockey games. The Wildcats are featured tonight (vs. Halifax) and on March 1 (@ Rimouski). The Sarnia Sting are also featured twice. Here is Sportsnet’s press release.

Jack Morris is joining The Fan 590 and Sportsnet as a Blue Jays analyst. He will primarly work on the radio, but will appear on TV as well. He is replacing Alan Ashby. Sportsnet also released their Jays spring training schedule, with six games on TV. That might be the most ever. And the coverage starts in just two weeks with a Saturday afternoon game on February 23.

Here is the press release on a very interesting documentary coming to TSN as part of Bell Let’s Talk week.

MLS TV schedule came out earlier this week. Here are the MLS on TSN, Toronto FC on Sportsnet, and Whitecaps on Sportsnet.

Sports Ratings Update: January 27, 2013

Lots of ratings have come out over the past few week, so here they are all in one place. Sources listed at the bottom. Any not sourced means they came directly from the network.

NHL
Season Preview, Jan 17, TSN: 235, 000
Season Preview, Jan 17, SN: 105, 000
OTT-WPG, Jan 19, CBC: 1.493 million
TOR-MTL, Jan 19, CBC: 3.317 million (+ 1.286 on RDS)
ANA-VAN, Jan 19, CBC: 1.471 million
CGY-SJ, Jan 20, SNW: 296, 000
VAN-EDM, Jan 20, SN W/P: 1.008 million
CHI-PHX, Jan 20, TSN: 219, 000
BUF-TOR, Jan 21, SNO: 1.069 million
FLA-OTT, Jan 21, SNE: 308, 000
DET-CLB, Jan 21, TSN: 286, 000
CGY-ANA, Jan 21, SNW: 206, 000
FLA-MTL, Jan 22, RDS: 809, 000
WPG-WSH, Jan 22, TSN: 585, 000
SJ-EDM, Jan 22, TSN: 610, 000
TOR-PIT, Jan 23, TSN: 1.4 million

NFL
BAL-DEN, Jan 12, CTV: 1.475 million (+ 184, 000 on RDS)
GB-SF, Jan 12, CTV: 1.443 million (+ 158, 000 on RDS)
SEA-ATL, Jan 13, CTV: 1.531 million (+ 221, 000 on RDS)
HOU-NE, Jan 13, TSN: 826, 000 (+ 214, 000 on RDS)
SF-ATL, Jan 20, CTV: 1.838 million (+ 296, 000 on RDS)
BAL-NE, Jan 20, CTV: 1.985 million (+ 214, 000 on RDS)

Canadian Figure Skating Championships
Fri Jan 18, Women’s & Pairs Short (3-5pm), TSN: 99,000
Fri Jan 18, Men’s Short (8-10pm), TSN: 306,000
Sat Jan 19 (2-4pm), CTV: 362,000
Sat Jan 19, Men’s & Pairs Free (5-7m), TSN: 196,000
Sat Jan 19 (7-10pm), CTV: 686,000
Sun Jan 20, Women’s & Dance Free (2-4pm), TSN: 363,000

Curling Continental Cup
Mixed Doubles, Jan 12, TSN: 325, 000
Women’s Team, Jan 12, TSN: 421, 000
Men’s Team, Jan 12, TSN: 415, 000
Mixed Skins, Jan 13, TSN2: 222, 000
Mixed Skins, Jan 13, TSN: 495, 000

 

 

 

 

Curling Skins Game
Semi Final #1, Jan 19, TSN: 330, 000
Semi Final #2, Jan 19, TSN: 308, 000
Championship, Jan 20, TSN: 403, 000

 

NBA
CHA-TOR, Jan 11, TSN: 251, 000
OKC-POR, Jan 13, SN: 28, 000
MIA-UTA, Jan 14, SN: 51, 000
TOR-BRK, Jan 15, SN: 137, 000

All data is AMA 2+ from BBM Canada.

*The English-language CTV ratings for these games is not available.

Thanks to: Bill Brioux, Whitey Fisk, Bob Weeks