Friday, April 18, 2014

K-Mart retires to become a broadcaster as Grand Slam adds fifth event

Big release today from Sportsnet about the Grand Slam of Curling, with the four-event series moving to five for next year. As well, the bigger news is that Kevin Martin will join the on-air team, calling it a career on the ice.
“It has been an amazing run.  I am closing the chapter on my playing career in the sport of curling that has been so good to me,” said Martin. “I can't wait for what lies ahead in my new role with Sportsnet as we work together to elevate the sport to new heights, inspiring our curling youth.”

There had been some thought that Martin might take over the duties of skipping the remaining three members of the Kevin Koe team, but this certainly ends that discussion.

In addition to his on-air job, Martin will serve as a sort of ambassador for the Grand Slam, helping out with the players and host communities.

The other part of the announcement is interesting -- the move of an additional Grand Slam -- which is being called the Elite 10 for now (I understand it may end up having Martin's name in the title in the future, much like golf has the Arnold Palmer Invitational). There was a lot of Sky Is Falling talk from curling fans when Rogers signed the big hockey deal, but this would seem to indicate that curling is not going anywhere in Sportsnet's lineup.

The newest event, the Elite 10, joins the MastersNationalCanadian Open and Players’ Championships to round out the Grand Slam of Curling series for 2014-15. Total prize money for the Grand Slam of Curling events will be increasing to a total minimum of $700,000, with the $1 million bonus still available to the men’s team who can win all five Slams in a season. In addition, Sportsnet’s curling broadcast coverage will increase to up to 200 hours for next season.

I'll have more on Martin in a future blog

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