Thursday, January 19, 2012

Players scrambling after CBC pulls out

Big new this morning that the CBC has pulled out of the Grand Slam of Curling effective immediately.
Al Cameron broke the story that the broadcaster has told iSport Media and Management, the organization that runs the Grand Slam series, that it won’t be in Dawson Creek next week for the third leg, and won’t be travelling to PEI for the Players Championship in April.

No word was given as to the reason for the cancellation. iSport is headed by Kevin Albrecht, who, in conjunction with several top curlers, created the Grand Slam when he worked for IMG Canada. It came out of the famous player boycott of the Brier, which Albrecht helped to organize.

The news, obviously, is devastating for elite curling. Word spread like wildfire through the curling community late last night with most of the players left without many details. Several I spoke to early this morning didn’t know much more than what had been reported in Cameron’s story. At risk is everything from Canadian Team Ranking Series points to the Captial One Million Dollar Draw to the Button.

For the players, it also means potential loss of sponsorship dollars as television is a key component to a number of the corporate deals.

“This is huge for curling,” said Glenn Howard. “I would just hate to see this go down the drain. It’s like one step forward, four steps back.”

On Thursday morning, the top officials of the World Curling Tour and other stakeholders were meeting to determine the next steps for the next two events, but specifically the Pomeroy Inn & Suites National, set to start Jan. 25.

Word is the Tour was going to approach Sportsnet to determine if it would be interested in picking up the broadcast, but trying to organize something of that magnitude on such short notice would be difficult.
Stay tuned – this could be an interesting day of news. 

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