Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

April 25th, 2015 | by mike (in boston)
Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition
business of sports

photo credit: NP/Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images


by mike in boston / @mikeinboston / hatemailaccount at gmail


Good morning sports media watchers. Since some of you asked, here’s my deal with TSM regarding this column. I have a Brunt type arrangement where I do roughly 35 weekends a year. I usually do 3 or 4 columns in a row, then take a one weekend sabbatical. Over the summer, as the B-teams take up more and more airtime, I may change things up and take more time off too. As always, if there are things you’d like to see discussed in this space, shoot me an email or a DM.


More on the Rogers/NHL deal


I reckon the people at Rogers go to bed every night praying for some exciting financial news out of Glendale, Arizona. That’s where the Coyotes play and that is the story that soaked up all of Mr. David Shoalts’ available time and word count. Since then he has been staging a one-man full-frontal assault on all things Rogers for the Globe (15% owned by BCE). He has been doing excellent reporting on the Blundell hiring, the HNIC changes, the missed targets for ratings, and more. This week he is exclusively reporting that the NHL’s exclusive deal with Rogers, which is in its first year of a twelve year term, is not turning out to be exactly what the NHL bargained for.


Shoalts writes: “Rogers Media isn’t the only struggling partner in the NHL’s $5.2-billion, 12-year Canadian broadcast deal. The league itself is hurting, too. The contract with Rogers is paid in Canadian dollars, which sharply declined in value against the U.S. dollar after the deal was announced on Nov. 26, 2013. As a result, the NHL is taking a large hit in the contract’s first season: One NHL governor, who spoke anonymously because league officials are forbidden to publicly discuss NHL business, said the currency hit for the 2014-2015 season was pegged at about 17 per cent, which, based on the annual average rights fee of $433-million, works out to a $73.61-million loss for the league.”


So, the NHL signed a deal with no protection against fluctuations in the CDN dollar. That seems mighty dumb on their part. You would think that someone would have mentioned the history of the CDN vs the US dollar over the last 10 years. Speaking as someone who moved to the states when the CDN dollar was at 65 cents US, I feel the NHL’s pain. Converting those dollars to US ones hurt. I can only imagine what it’s like to see $70 million dollars disappear due to conversion rates.


That said, this is somewhat of a mountain made out of a molehill. The NHL draws most of its revenues in U.S. currency, and the difference with the CDN dollar works in their favour when they spend US currency in Canada. As someone who has had both US and CDN income for many years, this is why you have bank accounts in both countries. When possible, you avoid converting. So, the NHL can pay its Canadian teams in Canadian dollars from the Canadian revenue they generate from Rogers, and they can pay their US teams in US dollars from the US revenue they generate from NBC/etc. I’m not saying this is all going to balance out perfectly, but it’s also not the calamity you might think.


What would be a calamity is if the CDN dollar were to keep losing value over the next few years. As Shoalts notes, the 7 Canadian teams make up 35% of the league’s revenues, and those revenues are used to determine the NHL’s salary cap. Further, changes to revenue affect how much players must pay into escrow. So there are a lot of moving parts here, and the NHL’s profit sharing and cap systems are deeply linked in ways that are potentially disruptive from year to year. If the cap has to come down because of a low CDN dollar then many teams will have to shed salary.


It seems obvious that the NHL should use a 2 or 3 year average when it comes to currency fluctuations and revenue. This would flatten out some of the peaks and valleys we are seeing, and might allow league growth to cancel out currency devaluations. I wonder if the NHL will implement something like this in the off-season. The players and GMs shouldn’t have to be watching the currency market to figure out what their contracts will be worth.


More RCI News


Shoalts enlisted the help of Globe telecom reporter Christine Dobby to continue to shine the spotlight on any bad news at Rogers (disclaimer: I don’t really think Bell is telling Shoalts what to write — I find the idea ridiculous — but Damien Cox actually does think that). Dobby reports that RCI profits are down 17% from this time last year, with the three biggest units — cable, wireless, media — all taking hits. When you combine these results with the recent departure of Keith Pelley as head of the media business unit, it is hard to resist the implication that he jumped off a ship headed for turbulent waters.


Before people put on their dancing shoes and head out to the cemetery it’s worth pointing out that this is bad news for Toronto sports fans regardless of which sigil flies above your castle. Rogers owns or co-owns all your teams, and a cash crunch means less spending on the things you actually care about. Further, Rogers is blaming some of their losses on CRTC rulings which means Bell is likely in the same boat. (side note: in the last year the CRTC has angered all of the major telecoms. That’s got to be good news for the rest of us, right?)


One thing to watch is whether we will see cutbacks on the sports side to compensate for these overall downward trends. Rogers spent a ton to acquire a stake in MLSE. They spent another fortune on the NHL, which was followed by investing in new studios and cameras and tour buses. The Dome needs $400 million in upgrades to stay serviceable. At some point all of this has to lead to cost cutting in light of declining profits. We’ve seen evidence of this when it comes to the Jays’ payroll over the last two years. At key junctures there has simply been no money.


Further, recall that Guy Laurence is only 15 months into his tenure at Rogers. With Pelley leaving there will soon be a new boss over in the media division, and new bosses mean that the old allegiances and agreements might no longer bind. This could lead to big changes at Sportsnet.


Here is what New Pelley will notice straight away: the line-up at the radio station is incredibly expensive. Blundell probably costs more than Brady & Walker combined. Jeff Blair negotiated his way from a high profile newspaper job to Sportsnet and must be expensive given the low value slot he occupies. The same point goes for Brady & Walker. Both guys have been in a position to negotiate with Rogers, and so likely make a lot of money relative to their timeslot. Then we get to PTS which has the Million Dollar Man himself, plus the huge salary bumps his co-hosts receive, plus all the paid guests, plus the extensive production team. That’s just the radio side, which is arguably the least important unit at Sportsnet. I have no idea what things are like over on TV but I imagine it’s a similar picture.


My point is that the NHL deal brought on a lot of financial liabilities at a time when profits are down and the overarching business is in transition. One could easily understand a choice to streamline things until the telecom marketplace settles down. It will be interesting to watch.


Jays Talk


Well the season is off to a fun start. The team has been exactly as advertised: offensively gifted, defensively improved, and a giant question mark on the pitching side. The wrinkle in the rug has come from the new turf. Mark Zwolinski at the Star reports that the crybaby Orioles considered boycotting a game due to the black-pelleted wonder that covers the concrete at the Dome.


I have said this before in this space, but it bears repeating this week. People will look back on Jose Bautista’s time in Toronto and marvel at how lucky we were to watch him play. His most recent accomplishment is being thrown at by the opposition and then hitting a home run in the same at bat. Oh, he’s done this twice in the last 10 days to the same team. Ian over at Blue Jay Hunter has all the glorious footage. If the Jays win nothing during Bautista’s time in Toronto then I think there will be a great (dispiriting) discussion to be had over whether he or Halladay represents the most wasted value in Toronto sports history. I guess Sundin belongs in that discussion too.


The main theory in the off-season was that Gibby would be the sacrifice for a poor performance out of the gate. The team is currently around .500 but has some tough games ahead and could well be 5 games under by the first week of May. My own opinion is that Everyone Loves Gibby, and he’ll be here regardless of how the team performs. No one wants to see him go, and the youth movement provides a convenient cover for poor performance. Gibby has worked hard at staying on the media’s good side. For contrast here’s how Reds manager Bryan Price deals with local writers (NSFW – language).


Finally, new Jays 3B Josh Donaldson has looked awesome (except for his terrible 90’s haircut). The departed 3B Brett Lawrie has been making news for, well, being exactly who we remember him to be. He’s currently at the centre of another controversy for going spikes up and off the bag at another player when there was no chance of a double-play. The well established MLB practice of beanball then ensued along with the obligatory pushing and shoving theatre. See here for some footage. After watching the Orioles embarrass themselves trying to defend their guy (and their manager) for doing something stupid, I’m glad Lawrie is no longer a Jay.


Quick Hits


Jarret Stoll was arrested for drugs. TSN has two stories up, one which allows comments and one which doesn’t. Might be nice to have some consistency. Either it’s too sensitive for the screaming hordes or it isn’t.


We don’t lose to Spanish players? If your motivational strategy involves targeting an opposing player’s country of origin, then you’re not a very good human being and probably not a very good coach either. It’s 2015.


Speaking of bad strategies, Masai Ujiri’s 2014 “Fuck Brooklyn” was a fun departure from the normal platitudes we hear come playoff time. His current shot at Paul Pierce was just dumb, and seems even worse given how lethal Pierce has been against the Raptors.


The NFL looks like it will pay about $1 billion dollars to settle 6000 concussion lawsuits. I wonder how much they will pay out to the 200 or so players who are not party to this class-action suit. What will a jury think when these guys get on the stand and give the gory details of being rushed back on to the field after a concussion? The NFL has annual revenues of $10 billion by the way. That might figure in the amount of damages a jury will award if it goes to trial.


Rick Westhead at TSN is reporting that another high profile target for the MLSE top job has turned down an offer. As we get closer to Leiweke’s departure I am shocked at how difficult it has been to find his replacement.


Low Hanging Fruit


  • I didn’t have time to properly survey the range of opinions on the Corey Perry/Katy Perry/Gary Bettman controversy. If it still seems worth talking about next week, I’ll get to it then. You would think that Gary would have had the sense to say something about how the NHL deplores violence against women and all its social precursors.


  • Congratulations to Steve Simmons for getting the interview everyone is talking about. If you were on the radio and referenced it but didn’t give Steve credit, it makes you look kind of small.


  • I caught 5 minutes of Jeff Blair talking about the Nonis interview “from a local paper” and he was complaining that Nonis didn’t apologize for the Leafs’ failures and said this more or less tells you what kind of a guy he was inside the organization. To be fair, I didn’t listen for very long, but being annoyed that a guy who was just fired didn’t say he was sorry strikes me almost too stupid for words. For Jeffy, that’s an hour’s worth of calls.


  • I had hoped that Brady & Walker would develop some good interview relationships in their new time-slot. Unfortunately they have had a hard time breaking out out of the Sportsnet sandbox. There’s a lot of interviews with Kypreos and Zaun and Wilner and MacLean. One of the things that keeps PTS in a different league is the deep pool of non-Sportsnet guests they draw from.


  • Speaking of PTS and B&W, I haven’t heard them do any cross-over segments yet. I recall Krystal routinely appearing on PTS in the 4pm hour when he was with the station, and who can forget the numerous awful segments where Tim &/or Sid would stick around to chat with Bob. I’m a little surprised that the station isn’t trying to use PTS’ brand to generate some momentum for Brady & Walker PM.




thanks for reading and commenting,

until next time …

mike (not really in boston)


  1. Toronto Mike says:

    Good job, as always.

    This week I had James Mirtle on my podcast and I asked him about the ethics of Shoalts going at Rogers, his war with Steve Simmons, his tweet about Steve Montador’s death and his use of Twitter. That episode is here:

  2. WouldStaley93 says:


    Great column. As much as Steve Simmons irritates me from time to time. He is one great OPINION columnist. Great coup getting Dave Nonis to really open up about his tenure as Leafs GM. Nonis came across as a guy who had pure class.

    Whether or not Simmons does work for Bell Media owned TSN. Rogers employee Jeff Blair should be professional and say Toronto Sun Columnist Steve Simmons. Blair is a very petty guy. He is a complete shill for Rogers with no integrity. Sad to see how the guy Blair has fallen from a actual journalist when he worked at the Globe & Mail and Montreal Gazette to a sad troll.

    I’ve been giving Blundell a try and I don’t think Rusic and Fabro are good fits with him. Why don’t they put Jeff Marek or even Strombo as part of the show. Make it sports and pop culture talk which have always been Dean’s strengths.

  3. One of your best columns to date. I had very interesting Twitter engagements with Brady and Walker a few days ago, and after that Brady even followed me. I will post them now on the timeline and then comment on what I read into their reaction and the state of affairs with their show.

    Brian Gerstein ‏@RaptorsDevotee Apr 23
    Really hard to take Brady and Walker when they talk basketball. They are on par with Sid. Tim out of the 4, clearly knows his ball the best.
    Greg Brady ‏@bradyfan590 Apr 23
    @RaptorsDevotee You’re HILARIOUS. You’d be pounding on us if we ignored NBA. We like it, we watch it, we’ve covered it. & you’re listening.

    Brian Gerstein ‏@RaptorsDevotee Apr 23
    @bradyfan590 For hockey, you guys rock, and I give you tons of kudos, as the hockey pucks will all tune in.
    Greg Brady ‏@bradyfan590 Apr 23
    @RaptorsDevotee All good. I think we’re the best & smartest sports talk show in this country. I mean, ya gotta believe in yourself, right?

    Brian Gerstein
    @bradyfan590 Absolutely! Once @timandsid get rolling with their 2 hours in July from 5-7, the Tim and Sidizens will embrace your show more.
    2:42 PM – 23 Apr 2015

    I also had some engagements with Walker, documented below:

    Brian Gerstein ‏@RaptorsDevotee Apr 23
    @FAN590Walker I am like a drug addict going through withdrawal. I can almost hear Sid’s rant on the Raptors, even with their hiatus lol.
    Andrew Walker ‏@FAN590Walker Apr 23
    @RaptorsDevotee as long as you’re listening bro. we’re a different show.

    Brian Gerstein
    @FAN590Walker Takes some getting used to, and I will hang in there with you.
    2:33 PM – 23 Apr 2015

    Brian Gerstein ‏@RaptorsDevotee Apr 23
    @FAN590Walker DeRozan is not the Raptors best player when Lowry is healthy. In fact, it is not even close. #MissTimandSid
    Andrew Walker ‏@FAN590Walker Apr 23
    @RaptorsDevotee of course it’s close. both all stars. Its not stupid to have either opinion.

    Brian Gerstein
    @FAN590Walker Agree with you on that. I follow @ByChrisBlack who has taught me over the years how to read his analytics on it.
    2:26 PM – 23 Apr 2015

    Chris Black ‏@ByChrisBlack Apr 23
    @RaptorsDevotee @FAN590Walker Ha. I have no analytics. But I appreciate the shout-out.

    Brian Gerstein ‏@RaptorsDevotee Apr 23
    @ByChrisBlack @FAN590Walker I am referring to when you blogged and your twitter feed Chris. You bring out the truth! #AnalyticsOrNot

    This all started when I heard Walker mention about how DeMar is the Raptors best player, and that kind of set me off, as the Lowry who we have seen of late is a banged-up player who should not have even seen the court at all given his health, and the Raptors PR staff had withheld the true state of his status, which I am sure they will after we are eliminated.

    Getting back to Brady and Walker. I agree with them, they are their own show, the problem is their show is so different than Tim and Sid’s show with their fun and zaniness was was infectious for its listeners and viewers. To take their time slot with a serious, generalized sports show will just not cut it with the TimandSidizens crowd. I imagine there has been tremendous pushback in their ratings since they took overhand they are having a tough time bringing over their morning audience, who likely are not able to listen/watch in the 1-4 time slot, and also not convert the Tim and Sid followers. That is why I said that once Tim and Sid have their own show running, they and me will get their fix, and be more accepting of Brady and Walker’s show. I flip a lot now in the 1-4 time slot, as I check out TSN 1050 as well, so have no loyalty at all, and often don’t even bother at all.

    I appreciate the engagement though by both of them. Both Brady and Walker are straight-up guys, and I wish them well. I just don’t know if their show is for me. It certainly will never be appointment radio. I would have killed for a Sid rant on the Raptors state of affairs, they are incredibly fun, and often end up in pop culture with a creatively done song or parody. Tim knows his ball at all levels, and I learn from him, where with Brady and Walker, it is always going to be more of a recap/basic analysis. I rely on my raptorsrepublic blog for my hardcore info, but still it would be nice to have basketball coverage that challenges me.

    Interesting times with the changes made. How McCown stands up once Tim and Sid get rolling from 5-7 will also be noteworthy. I know that I will be using podcasts a lot more for sure.

  4. Have to comment on Masai doing his swearing thing again, knowing full well that he was going to be fined by Silver, who was right there with him at the time. It was again pre-planned, and really, really stupid for several reasons.

    Firstly, Pierce feeds off this stuff, as he proved once again. Secondly, you can never have the same impact when you repeat something like this, so at best, it would be a distant second to last year, when I had no problem with it then, as it was directed at a team, and not personal i.e. a specific player, which should not be done ever IMO. Thirdly, what the hell have we proved as a franchise? That we are Atlantic Division Champions again! They should raise that stupid banner at the ACC at 3:00 a.m. and not even announce they did it.

    This franchise has clearly taken two major steps back after last year. With a healthy Lowry we would have been able to beat the Wizards, but this will actually work to our benefit. Casey will hopefully get fired, as Ross and JV are no better now than their first year, Vasquez is torched on D just like Calderon was, their isolation ball is crap in the playoffs, easiest thing to shut down, and their IQ and ability on rotating on D is at high school basketball level, as they are continuously being exposed, as we saw this series.

  5. Sam in Scarb says:

    With 2 more Canadian teams getting the gas pipe in the next couple of days,look for rodgers running countless promos for their cooking shows ect.Promos,Promos.
    Ad time going to be a hard sell,ratings down? and Canadian teams dwindling.
    May I be the first to say I feel so sorry for such a customer orientated company!

  6. yaz says:

    ‘Converting those Canadian dollars can hurt.’

    Hurting billionaire owners I could give a whit about. Hurting them to the point where bottom feeding U.S. teams with nary a fan base are forced to dump talent to teams flush with cash I do give a whit about; hopefully it works in the Leafs favour.

    Rogers spent a lot of money on buying MLSE relative to my income but certainly not a ton of money relative to their income despite their moribund stock. Rogers makes about enough net profit each quarter to cover their 650 million investment in MLSE. Sure, it still has to make a return on investment, and it has – MLSE was valued at about 1.8 billion at the time those bloodsuckers took over, now just the Raptors and Leafs alone are worth about 2.2 Billion, (1.3 B Leafs, 920 M Raptors: Forbes) not a huge percentage return on investment but decent.

    I wish the 3rd Baron Thomson of Fleet would give up on his Winnipeg endeavour and broom out Rogers, Bell and Larry with the trash and give MLSE a singular voice.

  7. Dogpounder says:

    “I think there will be a great (dispiriting) discussion to be had over whether he or Halladay represents the most wasted value in Toronto sports history.”

    Rocket and his 2 Cy Youngs belong.

    Great column.

  8. GreyCountyMike says:

    There once was a time when Toronto was blessed with sports media that, generally, had a level of integrity. Sadly, this has slipped considerably in recent years. From once-reputable journalists like Stephen Brunt and Jeff Blair dropping “Gibby” references every six seconds, to the blatant Raptors’ cheerleading of Doug Smith and Cathal Kelly, the local market is now being poorly served.

  9. Baz says:

    Re:Shoalts I suppose the outrage by the other reporters-turned-broadcasters is to be expected. He should be careful though, because s*itting where you live could be dangerous. He may need Rogers one day soon, seeing how ‘loyal’ newspapers are to their long-time reporters these days. He could wind up like Marty York, or Strachan..on the outside looking in.

  10. Trevor says:

    I thought that when Tim and Sid were on PTS it was the only time the 4 o’clock hour was listenable! The only thing worse than sports call in shows is Bob taking calls. It amazes me that people call in to get talked down to and perplexes me that anyone wants to listen to it! Do not get me wrong, I think Bob is very good with real guests…
    I will say it again, if you are a baseball fan and not flipping over to listen to Casey Stern on MLB Network radio between 4and6 you are really missing out!

  11. (Another) Andrew says:

    Absolutely! Once @timandsid get rolling with their 2 hours in July from 5-7

    Seems like weird planning to have T&S miss the NHL and NBA playoffs only to return in July when there is nothing but baseball to talk about?

  12. Mike V says:

    The thing about Shaolt’s column was that he couldn’t get a confirmation or not that the contract was hedged in any way so it was entirely based on a couple people out of dozens or hundreds in the NHL being worried that the deal wasn’t. Complete speculation passed off as certainty based on the headline. The NHL is a huge business that isn’t new to USDCAD currency fluctuations so it’s very likely some part of Canadian revenues (not just the national TV deal but tickets, merchandise, etc too) was locked in before the season started. CAD would probably have to be this low for a few years and have the hedges roll off in order to see the full effect on the NHL’s salary cap.

  13. Sam says:

    Totally with Mike V – too much is being made of the currency fluctuations – either they were hedged or there was an active decision not to hedge. Sure, if CAD gets to / says below 0.80 USD then there is a problem.

    Without specific information there is too much being made of the FAN personality salaries. How do we know what they are making? Sure it costs to run a radio station but its simply not a standalone entity – in that they are now a mouthpiece for other corporate interests – Jays, Leafs, etc. I have to admit I don’t listen to Blair but I think there is value to having him around as a knowledgeable Canadian baseball person to talk about and focus attention on Rogers 100% owned team.

    I can’t imagine the FANs operating costs are a pimple on the overall Rogers entity. Plus to the extent they are using already existing Rogers facilities and equipment those are not incremental operating costs to Rogers overall.

    Having said all of this, its really crappy that so much discussion revolves around salaries, caps, and currency. I wish the Leafs (even though I don’t like them all that much – I listen to too much Toronto sports to avoid them) could spend their way out of this. But the cap will keep them down for the next likeliy 5 years plus.

  14. Neil says:


    Personally I’m tired of journalist,analyst,broadcasters etc falsifying the truth or holding back on their story because of some kind of relationship to the subject. It drives me crazy. Amanda Lang from the CBC comes to mind as she failed to expose RBC and their exploitive hiring practices, turns out she was in a relationship with an RBC executive. Kudos to Shoaltz for digging in and not being afraid to ruffle feathers or preserve relationships.
    The real definition of News has certainly changed and in modern day it sickens me. New agency’s/broadcasters these days are almost like PR departments or law firms that are all about the spin and propaganda. In the world of sports these people are called Homers.

  15. MattK says:

    With Tim and Sid I found that there show could seem like a event which was can’t miss at times. B&W are good but lacks the excitement I don’t find myself going out of my way to listen or watch, but maybe it is best for them just to do what they are good at instead of trying for more sizzle.

  16. Baz says:


    I agree with you, but unfortunately, the media conglomerates have made it near impossible to have any non-biased, or non-partisan coverage. They own every paper, network or station around. Well 99% of them. They learned long ago that if you control the medium, you control the message.

    Now the Internet has potential to be that voice, however, people are too busy with the latest faux rage than any independent reporting, for the most part.

  17. Neil says:


    Personalities on radio now are demanding more money and this is because those in radio and tV understand that content is king and because here in Canada there are two bitter telecom rivals fighting to be the leader in all segments of the media space. Rogers media however is a small business within the Rogers empire even more now than ever simply because ad revenue is disappearing and finding a new home online. Investors can’t be happy about the amount of money Rogers media is spending(NHL,Sportsnet Overhaul) When there is no massive ROI it simply spells loss especially given where tv and radio are headed.

  18. Steve in Waterloo says:

    From an older perspective (I suspect), I like the B&W show in the afternoon. I have found that I have tuned in much more regularly than I did with T&S.

    Doing so in my office to hear sports talk seems to work better. With T&S, I never knew what sound, or word was going to come out and disrupt.

    BTW, I am fine with Shoalts reporting on the Rogers hockey deal. Its news – they always state that the Globe is partially owned by Bell, so…

  19. Curt says:

    Listening to B&W for the first time. Is it always endless hockey talk? They had Leo Rautins on for 15 minutes to mourn the Raptors, but other than that, it’s all puck all the time. Inane.

  20. Reggie says:

    Jeff Marek. What makes this individual a hockey expert? Why do I care what he says? Cox gets shit on and deservedly so but Marek really? What are his qualifications, experience or real knowledge? Another example of rogers in house weakness on the nhl deal.

  21. Alex says:

    I await seeing if 590 ignoresor buries the bell buying the argos story.

  22. Neil says:

    Boy I tell you this jays cheerleading is ridiculous. Aaron Sanchez gives up a homerun and retires the next three batters Buck’s comments exactly Aaron ” Sanchez retires 11 straight”. What about the homerun?

  23. Curt says:

    It’s really getting out of hand. I would consider getting the MLB package just so that I can watch the Jays with different commentators – except it would be pointless, as I see this team being out of it by June if not sooner. Buck and Pat make the Seattle guys seem objective and balanced.

  24. alex says:

    Thats how i was with the padres announcers, esp when josh lewin was there. Rather watch/listen to vin/steiner or kuiper/krukow/miller.

  25. Sam in Scarb says:

    @ Neil & Curt Do as I do watch the game with the sound down. All you really need to know is constantly printed on the screen anyway.

    Also,it is so nice not to hear gripping commentary like Tabler saying pitcher X “has command of his fastball today”
    Buck,with the bases loaded and none out tell me “they could use a ground ball just about now”

  26. Rob In Aurora says:

    Again, this column seems like an ad for the Fan. I don’t listen. I just can’t, it’s terrible radio. I can’t believe anyone enjoyed the Tim and Sidshow. It was mindless and their humour was never funny. They obviously thought it was hilarious, which was the only thing I found funny…

    I see that HNIC has adopted the Habs as “their” team now that all but the Flames have been eliminated. They show all kinds of cutesy behind the scenes fluff…For someone that hates the Habs and also (really) hates Rogers and the job Rogers is doing covering hockey, it only makes my distaste for both of them that much more bitter. Rogers is chasing me away from the game.

  27. Sam says:

    Re Sam in Scarb comment
    It would be great if we could get a channel for sports events that was just the sounds of the stadium with no announcing. Wonder if this has ever been considered by the networks.

  28. Jp says:


    I realized last week i had access to the Rogers NHL app to watch games live, I selected the end-zone camera, just arena sounds, no publicity breaks, no replays… I would cancel any sports package on TV to watch all my sports in the same fashion.

  29. Onion Ringz says:

    @Rob in Aurora.

    I would say the problem is that you actually have a dislike or hate for a particular team which is the cause of the problem. Obviously, the networks and their associates “pull” for a certain team, as they know most of the viewers will be supporting that team. I do not cheer for the Leafs, however I expect Jim Ralph, Bowen, etc are going to pull for the Leafs. Why? Well, their following and in some cases, traveling with the team. Of course, if I HATED the Leafs, then it would be unlistenable.

  30. Alex says:

    NBC tried an announcer-less nfl game in the 80s and it was poorly received.

    Its done in europe for football matches.

  31. Too Much says:

    @Onion Ringz; interesting comment and I suspect you are right in the reasons it happens but it’s not the way I think it should be. I expect the person who calls the game to do just simply that – call the game, make it colourful, interesting, exciting, whatever but I just want the action reported. I expect the analyst to ANALYZE. I find the current tandem on the Jays TV broadcasts unlistenable. Often I don’t even bother to turn the game on – yes I could turn the volume off but to me that is bowing to the broadcaster. Provide a better product and I’m back watching and listening.

  32. Neil says:

    Boy are media units going down the tube. Any media company purchasing television rights for their cable division Clearly this is a move that will backfire,sort of like a major rights deal that Rogers just made.

  33. Sam in Scarb says:

    @ Other Sam About 20-25 years ago CBC technicians were on strike.I think about half the CFL season was broadcast with no announcers just the crowd noise and the referee announcing penalties & first downs.
    Actually it was not bad at all.

  34. DeeCee says:

    Blundell is awful, it’s just juvenile banter. No insights, no analysis, no anything. Please make it stop!

  35. Antonio says:

    I guess it comes down to taste but for me comparing B&W and T&S is like comparing salad and a bag of Doritos. One is good for you and will make you a healthier person – while the other is marginally enjoyable and will only make you fat and not funny.

  36. dogpounder says:


    Marek’s hockey knowledge is deeper than most on-air people.

    But he has this intangible Weenie Factor that drives me nuts and keeps me from listening to him.

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