At the risk of showing some obvious bias, I thought it was great news for everyone that the Canadian Curling Association and TSN signed along-term deal for curling coverage in Canada.
The two inked a deal that will see the major curling events on TSN through the 2019-2020 season.
Now you may say what’s the big news about that? After all, we’ve come to expect curling on TSN. It goes together like pebble and ice. It would be sacrilegious to see it somewhere else.
But these days, the landscape in sports broadcasting has changed. Right now there is a battle between Sportsnet (Rogers) and TSN (Bell) as the two try to lock up rights to various sporting championships, not only for television but all media – digital, mobile and more.
Why the big battle? These days, sports broadcasting is appointment broadcasting. With the advent of DVRs, sports is one of the few things people will sit down and watch live or when it’s first aired. So sports makes money.
As far as curling goes, the guy heading up Rogers Media these days is Keith Pelley, a former producer of curling on TSN. You can be sure he knew the value of curling as a sports property. While I doubt that Sportsnet made any serious play for curling, I’m sure there was interest.
So now you can expect to see TSN roll out lots of extras in its curling coverage. First is a big beef up of the French broadcasting, with Guy Hemmings providing the analysis alongside Michel Lacroix. And look for lots more in the mobile and web areas. You’ll be able to watch the Tim Hortons Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts on your cel phone and on your computer. And is it possible curling play-by-play may return to the radio? TSN has radio stations in Toronto, Winnipeg and Montreal which might be good places to air a national final.
There’s lots on this deal to be finalized, I’m told, in terms of specifics of coverage but it seems that both parties – the CCA and TSN – are pretty happy with it all.