Fox Sports World Canada Will Shutdown April 30

As I mentioned last week, Fox Sports World Canada will shutdown before the current soccer season ends. The channel, which was one of Canada’s first digital channels, will cease broadcasting on April 30. Rogers will drop it at the beginning of April. Here is the statement Shaw Media released.

As we continue to strategically strengthen our portfolio of specialty channels, we’d like to share with you that we will be closing Fox Sports World, effective April 30, 2012. With our decision last summer not to pursue a robust sports offering, maintaining Fox Sports World no longer makes strategic and economic sense for Shaw Media going forward. We are currently in discussions with Fox Soccer Channel in the US, however, about the possibility of continuing to license the Fox Soccer Report, a one-hour program which is produced by our team in Winnipeg and licensed internationally.

This seems to cement that Shaw has absolutely no interest in competing with TSN or Sportsnet at anytime. Fox Sports World was their only grab at any sports rights. This probably means Shaw has no interest in buying theScore either.

All of Fox Sports World’s broadcast rights were acquired through TLN (itself owned 50% by Corus, which is was founded by Shaw) and theScore. The Serie A and Europa League contracts are up at the end of season. As are GolTV’s La Liga and Bundesliga contracts. Shaw had no interest in any of these properties. This leaves GolTV, TLN/Euroworld Sports and Sportsnet as the only serious bidders for those contracts.

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Friday Rumours

A few things on my mind this Friday. None of this is concrete; however, I’ve made a few observations this week that interest me.

CBC and Sportsnet… It seems that CBC and Sportsnet have shared their hockey personalities more than usual lately. Glenn Healy and Elliotte Friedman are regulars on Primetime Sports, but it seems they’ve been on more than usual the past few months. On Monday Nick Kypreos appeared on CBC’s late night show The Hour, an appearance that was highly publicized by both the public broadcaster and Sportsnet. Then this morning Don Cherry was on Brady & Lang on The Fan 590 and Sportsnet One. Sportsnet even took the time to write what Grapes should Tweet now that he has joined Twitter. This could all mean nothing. Or it could mean that CBC and Sportsnet executives are trying cross-promotion with their on-air personalities before they bid on national NHL rights together. A CBC/Sportsnet combo is the only thing that could rival Bell Media acquiring exclusive NHL national broadcast rights, in English and French, over-the-air and on cable.

CTV Olympics… Many of CTV’s Olympic commentators have spent some of the past few weeks rehearsing. This past Monday marked five months to go until the Opening Ceremony. 1996 Olympic gold medallist in athletics Donovan Bailey has revealed he will work for CTV during the Games. When reached for comment he told me, “You’ll have to wait and see.” My best guess is he will have a studio role, similar to that he had with CBC in Beijing four years ago.

Fox Sports World… There are rumours that Fox Sports World Canada is shutting down on April 1st. Rogers will drop the struggling channel on that date. Bell TV has already dropped it. Shaw Direct’s public relations team tell me they don’t know of any plans for Shaw to drop it. Shaw owns Fox Sports World.

Leafs Numbers Dropping?… An average of 1.06 million Canadians watched Wednesday’s Leafs @ Blackhawks game on TSN. That raises the question, are some Leafs fans giving up on their team? Leafs games on Wednesday Night Hockey have almost always hit 1.2 to 1.5 million this season. I would expect, with the Leafs battling for their playoff lives, that the ratings would go up in late February. I’m interested to see what kind of ratings the Maple Leafs @ Canadiens game gets tomorrow night on CBC.