Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sportsnet goes provincial

Sportsnet is adding to its curling coverage with the announcement that it’s going to broadcast several provincial curling finals starting this year. The broadcaster will air the B.C, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario men’s and women’s provincial finals for the next 10 years. The broadcasts, which will include semi-finals and finals, will be shown nationwide.

What’s surprising about this is that it took so long to happen. There is and always has been huge interest in these provincial finals but there never seem to have been the wherewithal to get them on the air.

Now that’s not entirely true: in Ontario, the provincial finals have been shown on Rogers Cable 10, the community channel. And for many years, this has drawn the largest single audience of anything aired on that channel.

In Ontario, at least, there have been attempts to air the men’s final on commercial television, but getting sponsors to foot the bill has been a tough nut to crack. It’s not cheap to broadcast  a curling game (or any sport for that matter) and no one was able to convince a sponsor it was worth the bucks.

Here’s the obligatory press release statement from Sportsnet about getting into the provincials.

“As curling’s popularity continues to grow at an impressiverate, Sportsnet is committed to providing curling fans with increased access tohigh-calibre events such as the Provincial Curling Championships,” said NavaidMansuri, Vice-President of Finance and Sports Programming, Sportsnet. “Bybuilding on the growing popularity of the sport, these agreements allow us to expandour curling coverage while elevating the profile of these events, as well asthe sport of curling across Canada.” 

What’s interesting in all of this, of course, is the fact that most of these championships will take place on the same day. The four men’s provincials will go on Feb. 10 and the Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario finals will be on Jan. 27 with the B.C. final on the 20th.

So I presume that means four separate broadcast teams on each of Sportsnet’s regional channels but also that there will be four men’s finals on at the same time, or at least with some overlap. Maybe they can get the timing so we can all sit on our sofas from 11 am until, say midnight Eastern and watch them all.  Not quite sure how it’s all going to get done or who is broadcasting but I’m sure it will all be straightened out in the near future.

No comments: