Tagged: TSN

Sports radio wars come to Vancouver Monday! Sportsnet 650 vs. TSN 1040/1410!

Just a reminder to our considerable audience in the Pacific time zone that Sportsnet 650 launches on Monday, taking on TSN 1040 and 1410 in the Vancouver market.

Too bad the 650 signal is so terrible, though; you can barely hear it in the Okanagan, where you’re just as likely to hear CKOM Saskatoon on most nights. I guess there is always the Internet.

I notice much of the media commentary on this format change is about “how will TSN radio survive without the rights to the Vancouver Canucks,” who are moving to 650 AM. The tone of this talk is to imply TSN Radio has been decimated, as if hockey is the only sport in Canada

Personally, I think TSN will be fine. Heck, they’re still broadcasting Lions CFL games, and that’s the most important thing.

As for the NHL, TSN 1040 may not have rights to broadcast the Canucks games, but they still have every right to talk about them. Besides, the Canucks stink these days, so no one cares about them anyway.


It’s official: Jay and Dan returning to TSN!

Why am I not surprised? I just knew TSN would do some cheap stunt like this. Today, during their annual NHL TradeCentre trade deadline coverage (which in recent years has been notorious for nothing happening), they take the opportunity to announce that Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole are returning to TSN.

This, I think, is the very definition of “fake news”.

TSN screws over football fans again with their non-coverage of bowl games!!!

 I hate living in Canada, this country is full of hosers! Mainly, the hosers are the folks running TSN, who are refusing to show us enough NCAA bowl games even though they have five channels available. 

I notice TSN is coming under fire again online for this increasingly annual practise, which is worse than ever this year. I know a lot of people say these are meaningless games, but it’s college football, it’s part of the holidays! Besides, I like football, and watching these games from these warmer-weather places gets my mind off of the snow and cold of Canada.

The last two days, there was a full schedule of bowl games on ESPN — six of them, I believe. Did TSN pick any of them up? NO. Instead, this whole week we have been stuck with SportsCentre, reruns of a Grey Cup game that fans have seen already, as well as Spengler Cup and World Junior games involving countries that nobody cares about – not even in the nations represented!

Still, even if you do care about these lousy non-Canada World Junior games, there is still plenty of room for TSN to show some bowl games. But even though they hold the rights, TSN won’t do it, and I have no clue why, because you would think they would have a vested interest in building up football interest given that they hold the CFL rights.

The only way I have been able to follow these bowl games is through lousy Internet video, and also radio play-by-play! Right now, the Liberty Bowl is on, and TSN isn’t picking up the ESPN feed for that game either. So I have to tune in this game online, too. This is nuts. 

Seriously, TSN has five channels, yet they are giving us reruns and junk programming that they could show any time late at night — not to mention feeds of the same hockey game on multiple channels. What good is paying for cable if this is what we get?! 

Maybe, just maybe, cable ought to be the next thing I get rid of. Think that over, Canadian sports channels.

That is my rant about that! 

This CTV-TSN layoff the other day really was a bloodbath. Lots of big names impacted.

I gotta say, every time I hear of media bloodbaths like the ones that went down the other day at CTV and TSN, I feel like quitting the business. It’s news that makes everyone in the media feel like quitting the business.

Over 300 people walked the plank and so many on-air names were affected that you cannot pick just one person and say that he or she is the “face of the layoffs” at Bell Media, like you could during these other media bloodlettings. When news first broke and word leaked out that Carol Anne Meehan was out as anchor at CTV Ottawa, she seemed like a good candidate to be the “face of the layoffs”, but that was before word came down about Dan Matheson, and Bill Hutchison, and Amanda Blitz, and Suneel Joshi, and so on. 


TSN also got the knife. A lot of the TSN radio properties took a hit, and their TV operation lost a lot of people. They cancelled the long running show Off the Record, but Michael Landsberg will continue on doing OTR on Sportscentre and other TSN properties. This will not sit well with the fans.

As for on air personalities, Sheri Forde got whacked from TV and David Bastl from radio. TSN 1050 morning show host Mike Richards broke the news about what happened with Bastl and you can hear a bit of it here

The carnage also hit TSN Radio in Vancouver. Jeff Paterson and Perry Solkowski are out of jobs. 

There is a lot of speculation as to why this all happened. With respect to TSN, a lot of people are comparing it to ESPN and what they are going through with their restructuring, except TSN was already a leaner operation. Others speculated the layoffs are due to losing NHL hockey rights, but that doesn’t make sense either because TSN actually avoided having to pay the ridiculous NHL price tag that Rogers was stuck with. TSN isn’t being strangled by the kinds of outrageous rights-payment issues that ESPN and these other places have had to deal with — not to the same extent, anyway. But the reality is this was a corporate-wide decision to reduce head count, it was not specific to TSN. And this bloodletting has been going on at Bell Media for a while  — last year, it was the entertainment division’s turn to be whacked.

People at home, as usual, are reacting with the usual outrage and anger, and are pointing out this was a bottom-line decision by a conglomerate that had record profits. Some people are threatening to cancel cable and quit watching their local CTV stations in protest. And they probably will. The problem is if that happens, even more TV people will be whacked in the future. 

Still, this goes to show how self-defeating these cuts are – it had made Bell look like a company that cares only about money and not about its audience. And they aren’t going to increase profits by doing this. All they have achieved is they’ve ticked off their viewers. 

I have said it before and I will say it again — if you get rid of enough people on the air and behind the scenes in TV, you’ll eventually find yourself cutting your viewers in the process. 

Wow, what a bad week for TSN — offending Twitter tweets, etc etc

The folks at TSN must be wondering why they even bother with doing hockey coverage after this awful week. 

For one thing, as usual nothing earth-shattering happened during their Tradecentre coverage on Monday again — except for an offending Twitter tweet about Joffrey Lupul, Dion Phaneuf and Elisha Cuthbert. And that Tweet made it onto their air.

That prompted a threat of a lawsuit from these two disgusted Maple Leafs players, followed by an apology from TSN that James Duthie read on the air.

But really, what happened here is not the fault of TSN, but of Twitter and the people on it. This is yet another example of the mean-spiritedness and vindictiveness, and general idiot behaviour that has taken over Twitter. 

It’s this stupid fan who posted this Tweet who should apologize! It’s not TSN’s fault that Twitter is full of jerks. Nor is it TSN’s fault the lousy Toronto Maple Leafs, through their awful play, have driven a segment of their fan base this crazy.

So there’s that. Now today, in another blow to the sports channel, comes the news that the rights to the World Cup of Hockey for 2016 have been awarded to Sportsnet.

Maybe it’s time for TSN to devote their coverage, full-time, to football or some other sport that will treat them a little better. Honestly, the hockey world is doing a really good job of treating TSN like second class citizens.

It’s Trade Deadline day in the NHL, and yet again nothing important is happening!!!

Anyone interested in watching the annual waste of time that Trade Deadline coverage has become on Canadian TV can tune in to TSN TradeCentre, since this is about the best thing about that network now. 

I don’t know why they even bother, though, since all the biggest NHL trades were done the last few days anyway. All we are getting today so far is news about trades involving (a) no-names and (b) bums.

In fact, I wonder if maybe a lot of these GMs are making a point of doing deals ahead of time, just to avoid getting their trades scrutinized on TradeCentre. Anyway, there’s still time left until the 3pm ET deadline.

Canada wins World Juniors! Now, we can all move on with our lives

Canada beat Russia 5-4 for gold at the World Juniors in front of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and everyone else in Toronto. Canada almost blew a 5-1 lead, but hung on in a game the announcers were calling among the greatest of all time.

Uh, ahem, it was only great to you guys because Canada won the game! There were other great World Juniors finals games in previous years, plenty of them in fact, except Canada didn’t win. I mean, the gold medal final in Saskatoon against the USA was a great game five years ago, but Canada lost in OT. I guess in this country it only counts as a great hockey game if Canada wins.

That wraps up the World Juniors, and not a moment too soon because I was really sick and tired of all this hockey coverage bumping football and the other sports off of TSN.

Now we move on from live continuing World Junior Hockey coverage, to live continuing Randy Carlyle firing coverage from Toronto. Yes, there is no escape from hockey in Canada, no matter how hard you try.

TSN continues to wheel and deal, adding UEFA Champions League and possibly UFC

I continue to find the business of sports TV to be fascinating in Canada in the wake of the big Rogers NHL deal that kicked in this fall.

Seeing how TSN has responded to this has been fascinating. A lot of commentators had claimed TSN would be decimated. And in the short term it seemed that way, given that the two top sports properties in Canada — the NHL and the Blue Jays — were locked up by Rogers.

The reality, however, is that there were a lot of other sports rights out there that Rogers was going to have to pass on, given that they broke the bank for the NHL to the tune of upwards of $5.2 billion dollars. On top of that, TSN had a lot of money available to spend and programming holes to fill.

So they locked up the CFL long-term, locked up the NFL on Sundays, locked up a ton of ESPN programming including more baseball, and they continue to have a ton of NBA basketball and international hockey including the World Juniors. So they are not in bad shape at all, now, in my opinion. And now comes word that TSN has locked up some more rights to some important sports.

Starting next season, TSN will be home of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. This is big news, it adds a ton of high-level midweek soccer to the TSN lineup. I suppose we ought not be surprised that this is leaving Sportsnet, because Sportsnet’s main midweek programming is the Wednesday night NHL package, and it’s pretty difficult to re-air any of the afternoon Champions League games in prime time when you’re showing hockey.

In any event, this adds to TSN’s soccer commitment, which already includes half the Premier League and most of MLS, and reduces the Rogers commitment significantly.

We are also waiting for word about Canadian rights to the UFC package and I point you to this story that suggests TSN is about to acquire the rights to the UFC, though no official announcement has been made.

If this is indeed happening I consider it great news, because for the last while Rogers has been consigning its UFC programming to Sportsnet360, a channel I don’t have in my cable package. So I haven’t been happy for that reason, but Dana White and crew cannot be happy with Rogers turning Saturdays into their big NHL night, either. This basically reduces UFC to total second-class citizenship by Sportsnet on that night. So it would not surprise me at all if they walk over to TSN, simply for that reason.

I think TSN may emerge as a long-term winner with these rights acquisitions. Slowly but surely, they are locking up the rights to the sports that matter to younger sports fans in Canada — and those are soccer, the NBA and the UFC. Those sports have a lot of growth potential in this country, in my view. And speaking of the NBA — folks at TSN must feel they have really lucked out due to the impressive performance so far of the Toronto Raptors.

UPDATE: Done deal!! Here is TSN’s announcement about the UFC.

TSN now shown on five channels, starting today! Woo hoo!

Here is a piece from Chris Zelkovich about TSN now broadcasting on five channels as of today. Good news! Now maybe we’ll get to see more college football on TV in our frozen country, for a change. Maybe we’ll finally get to see as much football as our American friends.

That’s the good thing about TSN losing the NHL hockey rights to Rogers — it is forcing them to show other sports that fans might actually like, like more football, and more soccer, and more tennis. Starting today, TSN have been showing five different feeds of the US Open tennis from New York. That’s good, it gives tennis fans more matches during the big tournaments.

Hopefully it will also mean more basketball when we get to hoops season, too. I truly hope this is indeed what we get with TSN, more coverage of the different sports we don’t see nearly enough of, or at least enough to keep up with the amount of hockey. The hockey coverage we get on Canadian TV is truly insane. I like hockey like the next person, but you get tired of looking at white sheets of ice on virtually every sports channel in Canada all the time.

Seriously, give it a rest occasionally, eh? There are other sports.

Get ready for TSN and Sportsnet to go nuts with their trade deadline coverage Wednesday

Personally, I wonder how good the trade deadline coverage on TV will actually be. We haven’t had much action at the deadline in recent years, leaving these “insiders” talking about nothing. In fact most of the big deals happened today, with the biggest being Vancouver shipping net minder Roberto Luongo to Florida.

That ends that soap opera. God, the Canucks are a mess right now. Anyway, I think we will be hard pressed to see tomorrow top Tuesday for excitement.

Anyway, you can find TSN Tradecentre here. The Sportsnet Trade Deadline coverage is here.

More TSN recovery news: deal inked for 90 MLS games

TSNKeeping you updated on TSN’s ongoing efforts to fill the void now that national NHL rights are gone to Rogers — they have announced they will air 90 MLS soccer games this season. 34 Whitecaps, 23 Toronto FC, 12 Montreal Impact, and 25 US matchups.

Keeping in mind the games featuring two Canadian teams head to head, and it adds up to 90 games, which is a little more than their entire schedule of CFL games (81, plus five playoff games).

Good. The soccer fans should be happy. Besides, TSN should be happy, because soccer is growing in popularity in this country and the MLS continues to grow as a league as well.

As an aside — I am tuning into the Kansas-Kansas State hoops game tonight. I think TSN ought to do this every year — air the entire Kansas season, regardless of whether Andrew Wiggins is on the team or not.

Seriously, that is how starved we basketball fans in Canada are for content. We want hoops on TV, we shouldn’t have to hop on flights to Vegas to get a basketball fix. Every time I go down to Vegas, it’s a breath of fresh air just being able to watch basketball on multiple TVs in the sports books, coming from a country where you’re struggling to find a channel that will just air one game.

Besides, look how many Canadians are prominent in the sport, like Wiggins, and Steve Nash, and other people.  We have to get more college hoops and NBA on TV  in our country — especially now that football is done, and especially since the NHL is shut down for two weeks for the Olympics. So give us more basketball, right now! We need something to keep us going until baseball season. There, that’s my rant for tonight.

Now my thoughts on a big week of TV Sports news, including the new-look Hockey Night in Canada

nhlThe big announcement was made this week about how Hockey Night in Canada is going to look under Rogers control next season.

Contrary to all the usual panicking we have come to expect from the nation’s media about radical changes and people being fired and so on, it looks like they may try and keep on both Ron MacLean and Don Cherry in the new scheme of things.

The plan is for Rogers to show something like 1250 hours of hockey, with Hockey Night in Canada games airing on multiple channels on Saturday including on CBC, with a Sunday-night package on City that will have a Hometown Hockey emphasis to it, and a Wednesday night package as well on Sportsnet. They also are planning a Thursday matchup of US teams (likely an NBC feed, I think) and will continue on with coverage of regional games for the Canucks, Oilers and Flames.

It sounds good in theory, having all these games available. Still, these guys at Rogers had better not start hiking up the cable fees or forcing people to pay more for live streams and so on, because then I will tell them exactly where to go.

Seriously, I’m still mad at the NHL over all their work stoppages, lockouts and other idiocy. This league is on thin ice with me, and I’m quite prepared to tune in other hockey instead, or for that matter other sports such as my beloved CFL. These guys need to watch what they are doing.

Now a few words about TSN and their continuing recovery strategy after being dealt this big body blow in losing the national NHL rights.

They have been continuing to load up with  other sports, making a deal with Major League Baseball to add ESPN games on Monday and Wednesday nights in addition to their Sunday night schedule.

I have to laugh about TSN’s new-found interest in baseball, though, because only a few years ago they were totally dumping the sport and dumping the rights, all so they could load up on hockey. Times have sure changed and I think baseball fans will welcome this move.

The other move they made was that massive 12-year deal to steal Ottawa Senators regional rights away from Sportsnet and put those games on TSN.

This is big news, folks, because it means TSN will stay relevant as an NHL rights-holder in most of Canada, from Newfoundland all the way to the Alberta border.

They now have regional rights to the Senators, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs (though Rogers still have the majority of their games) and the Winnipeg Jets. Since Saskatchewan gets Jets games is part of their territory, this means TSN has access to eight of the ten provinces for regional NHL rights.

The only places TSN are shut out is Alberta and BC, where Rogers has long term deals with the Flames, Oilers and Canucks. Then again, those places always regarded TSN as the “Toronto Sports Network” anyway.

Even in those markets TSN is not totally out of luck, because they hold rights to curling, the CFL, and to Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer, all of which are popular in these areas. In fact, in Saskatchewan the CFL is pretty much all that matters, so TSN will always have a captive audience in Riderville.

I am guessing that at the end of the day the people who are coming out laughing after all this rights-shuffling are the people at TSN, because they still get to show NHL hockey to most of the country, and for less of a cost. Something to think about, folks.


TSNWhen news broke that TSN lost national rights to NHL hockey for 12 years, my first suggestion was they become big football fans over there. Turns out TSN is following all my advice, even before I provide it.

It turns out right after Rogers took the NHL rights, Bell swiped away the Rogers late-Sunday-afternoon NFL package that Rogers has held for the longest time — going back to the old CFMT-TV days in Toronto. Bell also swiped away the entire NFL digital rights as well.

This is big news — it basically means the NFL belongs to CTV and TSN all day on Sundays, right from the early-afternoon package through the late afternoons, to the NBC Sunday night game, and into the Monday night game. On top of that, CTV has the entire NFL playoffs. Rogers is reduced to the Thursday night NFL Network package. I suppose having a Thursday game is better than nothing, but Rogers sure doesn’t look like the place for pro football at any point in the near future.

Combined with the CFL package on TSN, Bell basically owns football in Canada. In November from now on, they’ll be able to show an NFL doubleheader on CTV, another NFL doubleheader on one of the TSNs, and a CFL playoff game doubleheader on the other TSN during the afternoon hours.

That creates some excellent possibilities for programming over there if TSN decides to give football the kind of saturation coverage they currently devote to hockey, They could put on all kinds of football pre-game and highlight shows with the staff they have now, and basically give it the kind of coverage that we usually see from the Americans. Personally, I think it’s about time the sport got that sort of treatment in Canada, because many football fans in Canada are sick and tired of seeing that sport treated as second-class in this country by the nation’s media.

I don’t know what all the football coverage will mean, though, for TSN’s coverage of auto racing on Sundays. It shouldn’t impact Formula 1 since those races usually air in the mornings, but it could impact the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Coverage of the NFL and CFL on TSN could crowd NASCAR right out in November, during the “Chase.” Maybe Bell puts NASCAR on CTV2 or something like that. Then again, the package could end up moving to Sportsnet now that they have time to fill on Sundays. The bottom line is I have no idea what is going to happen. We’ll see, but in any event more football is a good thing for TSN.

The second big thing TSN has done is they have moved swiftly to re-sign a lot of their best talent, including James Duthie, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and just recently Gord Miller. I get the feeling TSN is going to ramp up their coverage of the World Juniors as well as general news coverage about hockey, so you’ll keep on seeing their Trade Deadline shows and Free Agency coverage with the group they have now.

What they really need to do, though, is steal away the regional NHL packages that Sportsnet currently has now — for the Oilers, Flames, Canucks, Senators — and put the regional games on TSN. That would solve all their hockey coverage problems, but that’s easier said than done.

The most recent news from the other day is that TSN has extended their deal for programming with ESPN, prompting a lot of dismissive talk from people about how TSN is turning into the ESPN of the north. Well, it always has been the ESPN of the north, there is nothing new about that. At least this will mean programming like more college football, more college basketball and the NBA. I think that’s good, because if there is one thing I am really ticked off about, it is a lack of college football, college hoops and NBA coverage on Canadian television. Instead, we usually get stuck with the usual over-saturation of hockey coverage instead.

I’m sure soccer fans out there have similar gripes, too. Anyway, it looks like TSN will keep up with coverage of that sport — they already share half the Barclays Premier League with Sportsnet, and just recently came word TSN has grabbed the entire rights to the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS.

This is exactly what TSN needs to do. Soccer is on the rise as a TV property not just on Canadian TV but American TV as well. A big reason why is because these games simply look great on HDTV. But it’s also because fans in North America are slowly but surely realizing soccer is about as big-time as it gets in sports in the world. Billions of people in the rest of the world cannot be wrong.

Anyway, that is my extensive screed about TSN and what they ought to be doing. Basically, they don’t even need my advice because they are doing all the things I think they should be doing anyway, given the utter disaster that has befallen them. Seriously, losing the NHL national package really is a disaster, given the outrageous number of Canadians who are hooked on hockey, but as I point out, it isn’t the end of the world.


I was going to do up this whole screed about what TSN should do now that they’ve lost the NHL rights for 12 years.

I might as well forget it because, unfortunately, this network is beyond rescue based simply on who they just hired!

That’s right, folks. Fresh from San Diego, as well as a brief on-air stint at KXNews in Bismarck, North Dakota, is TSN’s latest hire Ron Burgundy, who surely will do for TSN curling coverage what Dennis Miller did to Monday Night Football years ago.

Presumably TSN had money in the budget to hire this guy after the departure of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole to Fox Sports 1. Or maybe it was money freed up after they lost the NHL rights bidding the week before. Whatever.

In any event, the money was well wasted. Burgundy was turned loose on the Tim Hortons’ Roar of the Rings Olympic curling trials coverage in Winnipeg over the weekend.

Seriously, you have to feel sorry for folks in that city. Fortunately for me, I spared myself the sad sight of watching Burgundy attempt curling coverage by tuning in the NFL games instead.

Why TSN felt the need to hire an American hard-news man from San Diego to do curling, I don’t know. I know he claims to love curling and all that, but all I will say is I’m glad we didn’t see Burgundy do any portion of the Grey Cup game a week earlier on TSN. No doubt about it, he would have found a way to trip his tongue over the word “Saskatchewan.”

Ha ha ha. Actually, I thought this Anchorman 2 promotional stunt was hilarious.


It’s true, Canada. The TSN sports anchor duo of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole — a.k.a. “those two idiots” and “those two morons” on TSN — are leaving for the USA. The two funnymen are joining Fox Sports and will be taking their act to Los Angeles starting in August.

According to SB Nation, they are heading to the new Fox Sports 1 channel which will be replacing Speed on your dial. So instead of getting auto racing, you’ll be watching these two crazies instead. SB Nation compares them to The Big Show pairing of Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick on ESPN in their heyday in the Nineties. That is high praise indeed.

The downside, though, is they’re going to have to go to LA. Jay and Dan, I hope you two know Los Angeles is battling wildfires at the moment.  Oh, and another thing, too, guys: Los Angeles doesn’t have an NFL team.

Hopefully you didn’t sign anything on the dotted line and can get out of this deal, because it sure sounds as if this time the joke is on both of you.

(Then again, it could have been worse — at least these two aren’t going to Bristol, Connecticut.)

Posted below is a video showing a taste of what American sports viewers are in store for. Be prepared for a wild, wild ride, folks.


Here’s the Leader-Post writeup about the new deal the CFL made with TSN, which extends their agreement to 2018 and is reportedly worth $40 million a season.

This is a good deal for the CFL teams and should keep them out of financial trouble for a few years. Plus it’s good for the fans. I don’t know about other fans, but usually I like stability when it comes to where I watch my sports on TV. TSN has done a decent job over the past few years and deserves to keep the contract. 

My only peeve about it is that there needs to be more of an online presence for the league, with more live streaming and the like. That’s something TSN seems averse to doing consistently with the CFL.

Anyway, I don’t know about you but I cannot wait for football to be back. As a reminder — Arena Football returns Saturday.