Why Changes At Rogers NHL Hockey Is Troublesome

July 2nd, 2016 | by torontosportsmedia
Why Changes At Rogers NHL Hockey Is Troublesome
sports and toronto
135

By TSM

 

“It’s a magical day, a transformational day for our industry and certainly for Rogers Communications,”

“It’s a game changer for the way Canadians will watch this great game of ours.

 

Keith Pelley  Tuesday. November 25, 2013 

That was then.

This is now:

“Two years ago we made some changes to Hockey Night in Canada, We were enthusiastic. At the end of the day, they did not resonate with hardcore hockey fans.”

Sportsnet President Scott Moore

If you build it, they will come.

Pretty much sums up the popular view around Rogers when the deal was announced bring all Canadian hockey vieiwing under the Rogers house.  

"It will be everywhere… We all want to grow the game at every level,”

Several things changed and now, after two short seasons in an Ice Aged long term, Rogers has firmly hit the panic button retreating it's coverage across the board.

Basically the regional feel to Rogers hockey has been completely eviscerated as Rogers has retreated to much of what the product looked like when it was split between rights holders.

"Fish where the fish are"

Is how a long time media executive described the new plan.  Focus on pleasing the audience you have today, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

So why the doom and gloom?

Well, in my humble opinion it's a retreat in philosophy from what Rogers was built to be. While many things have been said and written about how the company operated, (especially at the end) under Ted, one thing was evident; Ted was a visionary.  He wanted to be leading. It appears that Rogers has lost it's entrepreneurial spirit in making the changes they did this week.

How else can you explain what they did this week?

 

"It’s a play he engineered. It was Mr. Pelley, not outgoing Rogers’ chief executive Nadir Mohamed, who pushed the deal forward with deputy chairman Edward Rogers, according to a source." that's what was written when the deal was done.

I'd have to believe that when the strategy planning was going on surrounding this deal, someone took a look at the numbers and said what if this goes south, what if ratings don't grow at a rate of 20% year over year????

I would imagine that a place like Rogers, with the amount of money at stake, someone stood up and said we the stomach to see early loses out.

Clearly that didn't happen given the whack of recent changes…

Is the problem that Pelly is gone?

"Rogers went out and created network programming focused on a studio show but never got leadership with experience in producing studio shows". A TV guru told me last week.  "How could they create compelling content without having anyone  on the team with the requisite previous experience?"

So what's the strategy now?

Glenn Healy, P.J. Stock, Billy Jaffe, Chantal Desjardins, Corey Hirsch, Leah Hextall, George Stroumboulopoulos and Damien Cox are all front of camera faces who are gone(Damien is now co-hosting PTS with Bob McCown 40 weeks of the year).

The hardest cuts are the ones we don't hear about; the countless behind the scenes folks who were effected.

"Sportsnet also confirmed it recently laid off five production staff members on its hockey broadcasts, and “less than fourteen” total production and on-air staff."

Let's hope that number is accurate.

"Sportsnet intends to reduce the number of regional pre-shows it produces for games across the country. Moore said the station will now focus resources on its weekday Hockey Central 6:30 pm broadcast as a lead-in to regional games. “One national show will allow us to use the resources better,” said Moore. “It hasn’t changed the number of games we’re going to do. We want to give the staff a focus. The focus is on our national nights, in particular Saturday nights.When you produce as many shows as we were producing there was a tendency to forget Saturday night needs to be special.

So, no longer magical, no longer everywhere.

Fish where the fish are.

See, the problem is sports networks in North America are all facing diminishing ratings.  I would hope that Rogers, a media leader would continue to take the lead on being ahead of others on where the market is headed.

The focus on short term is a focus on the older demographic.  I don't know too many media companies placing their bet there.

So as a consumer I am concerned that the rights holder has no long term vision or plan for an incredibly more digital/online consumer world.

If "kids" aren't buying cable or watching games on cable, the solution is to forget the kids?  That's not very progressive is it?

This deal has more years left than a standard goalie contract handed out by the New York Islanders! 

Someone better figure out a plan for the younger demo pretty soon.

 

The other problem?

The MacLEan effect.

I think many people clamoring for his return forget how he was viewed when the changes were made.  While many weren't thrilled with the new choice, the loud chorus (at least on this site) was that it was time for a change.  In bringing Ron back not only are the not evolving they are retreating to place that wasn't all that awesome to begin with.

 

What's more concerning is apprently what the show looks like or feel like from the production side.  Insiders on both sides of the mic have been expressing their deep concern on what life will look like in a MacLean world.  "Ron's ego was enormous when he did battle with CBC last time; I can't imagine what' it's going to be like this time." said one potential "colleague" who requested anonymity.  "Ron will show up before the show and change everything that's planned; he quarterbacks from the set it's how he operates." Offered another.

The general disdain for MacLean in the weeds this week has been unlike anything I have seen since writing this blog.  The words : "no one wants to work with Ron" have been echoed to me all week.

Once again as I have stated, this is a panic move by the network.  

It's been a brutal perfect storm for the right holder.

You had a diminishing audience walking in to the deal. You had a business deal that was modeled in fantasy land and then you had all Canadian team drop into irrelevance.  None of that spells growth.

So Ron, George or Foster Hewitt with Dave Hodge could have been hosting this show and Canadians weren't going to watch in the dreamed about numbers.

In Toronto the audience is used to the team stinking.  Several years of ownership and management have accustomed us to that.  What we weren't prepared to accept was last season's group of malcontents.  That team, Dion and Phil's team were HATED in this market.  That is where the general fan tuned out.  That team has had lingering effects on the fanbase.

Winning, cures all.  If Montreal (sans PK) is winning, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton are improved that leaves only Vancouver on the outs.  Toronto has reason for enough excitement given the Matthews, Marner, Babcock "thing" to make the team more watchable ( I didn't say a winner- I said watchable).  If these things happen ratings will improve.  That will not be effected by the changes Rogers made.  You will not hear that from Rogers then.  If Ratings improve you will see more back slapping then you've ever seen before.  

Some FAQ's:

 

Were the cuts what you had heard?:   For the most part they were.  I will admit there were three more senior on air folks who I was told were being looked at and they did not get cut.  That surprised me given the banter.

What about play by play teams?" I have not heard a word about play by play teams.

Is the Andy Frost axing part of the Rogers moves?: No, I don't believe they have anything to do with it.

Are the cuts done at Rogers?: I don't work at Rogers (or Bell for that matter) so I have no clue what Sr. management is thinking.  What I can say is that in my experience corporate moves like this are never "over".  Is this round over? Yes, sounds like it.  If the season starts and ratings plummet another 20-30 points I don't think they will simply ignore that..

What's next?: Well, I think they use the summer to let people's minds clear and let the audience forget about the negative noise of change.  I think we will see changes in the play by play area and other planned improvements will filter out as we move closer to traning camps and World Cup.  The big question would be what happens if anyone Sr. leaves Rogers.  If any of the folks who are responsible for Rogers Hockey leave or are dismissed what is the waterfall effect of that.

This has been a relatively nasty 8-12 months for some really good peope in the sports industry.  Sports on the field/court/ice is a business of change.  It is very unsual to see this amount of change in a tiny country like Canada where there are so few players. As someone who covers "the beat" simply for fun, it's really troubling to watch.  Whether we like them on air or not, ultimately they have to put food on the table and they are losing the privilege for working in an indutry I'd like to believe they love.  With respect to this round of cuts, the front of mic people cut are not going to find it easy finding the same type of work unless they are prepared to move.  For those behind the scenes, they are without question the unsung heros who are unfortuantely unkown.  I can only hope that the producers, enginers and editors are able to find great work with great companies soon.

 

The problem with if you build they will come is that in this country the number of "they's" is not growing.  The game of hockey isn't going to grow without significant change in our society.  The game has to be cheaper to play and way more accessable in order for it to grow.  This is only a country of ~36 million.  The average "hockey fan" isn't as much a fan of the game as much as they are a fan of their team.  They will watch their team on TV,check in on the radio, online etc; maybe even attend a live game or two a year.  When the midweek out of market game is on they are not watching.  There are too many choices of personalized entertainment.  The average fan in Toronto is not interested in that Columbus v Nashvile game.  The average fan in Toronto isnt interested in Vancouver playing Anaheim, or Montreal vs. Calgary even.  I am not talking about the die hards who will watch anything.  I am talking about the averge fan. It's the average fan that you need to tune in more to drive up your numbers.  The reality is that in a country of ~36m people the opportunity was never as big as anyone dreamed. You aren't going to become the NFL the USA teams enjoy in terms of audience in tiny Canada.  Not on broadcast TV.

If he plan was to use NHL hockey to increase brand awareness and to sell other properties I get it.  To build a plan around a phantom sized audience  was a fool's promise.  Better performane by the Candian teams will rectify the loss in audience.  It won't grow it to the inlfated dreams but it should take it back to zero. Put the Leafs in the late stage of the playoffs….. then we can talk growth.

 

Couple of random thoughts:

PK out of Montreal, Taylor Hall out of Edmonton and Stamkos staying in Tampa, three things media executives in this country could have done without this week.

Great coverage of the Jays game in the marathon on Friday.  Three man booth is getting better with age.

Huge hat tip to Yahoo! sports, the late night online NBA free agent show was AWESOME!!

How badly did you feel for Mallard, Kypreos and Johnson yesterday who sat around and waited for the Jays game to end????

Overall reaction I've heard to Argos at BMO- "Glad I went once, wont' go again"

I can't imagine the thought process in not bringing Andy Frost back to the ACC.  Of all the things that need to be fixed….

No, not a rumour but if we are chaning players, uniforms and public address announcers, what about radio teams????

You know I love twitter but two things I don't get: 1. If you don't like my tweets, why do you follow me? 2. If you block me, why do you try to follow me??  Odd.

To all those who take the time to reach out to Mike and or I behind the scenes etc we thank you.  To each of you who takes the time to read what we write, to comment (without bashing each other or the media players) we hope you all have a great weekend and excellent summer!

This is not a last post for the summer, but just a natural, easy time to say thanks…

 

The quotes above came from here and here

 

Jonah

 

 

135 Comments

  1. Stan says:

    Re: twitter. Like Ricky Gervais said, following someone on twitter and hating their tweets is like stalking someone and getting upset with the route they take home.

  2. mario says:

    Thanks for all your hard work TSM and MIB on a weekly basis. Totally agree with you once the Canadian teams start winning ratings should increase substantialy.
    I personally feel all that lost their recently at Rogers,Bell, and those in the print media.
    Criticizing good people who try to do there absolute best is unfair. Changes were going to happen,hopefully they can add quality instead of subtraction.

  3. Curt says:

    It’s too easy to use the “no Canadian teams in the playoffs” excuse as the sole reason for the sinking ratings for Rogers. 30% decline in year 1, 30% decline in year 2. I’m not saying it’s not a factor – of course it is. But if you combine that with an almost unwatchable product and an unwatchable presentation, then you’ll have a better understanding of why Rogers is in this mess. I remember Pelley and Moore arrogantly predicting (expecting) something like 20% increase in ratings once they slapped the Rogers brand on hockey. The arrogance of these guys is staggering.

  4. Nanaman says:

    Nice work, MIB.

    I’d like to see your site reworked so that the newest comments are just below the blog comments. The previous posting has approximately 180 comments, and in order to read the most recent ones, one must scroll all the way down each time.

    Thanks

  5. GreyCountyMike says:

    Agreed on PA announcer Andy Frost.

    How was his performance even the most minute of issues for an organization that finished dead last this year and, frankly, was pretty much bad throughout his long, dedicated tenure? It’s a dubious move like this that reminds us why this organization – through Ballard, Fletcher, Burke and yes Shanahan, among so many other legends living or otherwise – remains one of the biggest jokes in North American professional sports.

  6. Stan says:

    @GreyCountyMike
    Not only that but the “Shanaplan” has run right off the rails (no Stamkos, dodgy draft picks, trading 2 high picks for an unproven #1 goalie, underperforming Marlies, no Cowan buyout, Lupul contract still here, 4 year deal for a 4th liner Friday). Rogers would have been better-off giving its money to Bernie Madoff than trusting in a Leaf revival.

  7. Jp says:

    @nanaman
    It’s TSM this week (Jonah)

    I reached out on Twitter this week advocating a change in format, possibly as a standard-type forum where users would need to log in to post, easier to browse old articles, voting of adding +rep on users, admin bans etc

  8. nocaps says:

    hey Jonah
    why don’t you include some names associated with anti maclean comments?

  9. BC_Buds_Fan says:

    @Curt

    I agree with your comments and further your point by reminding everyone of Rogers’deal with the NFL in Toronto. They charged exorbitant prices and were shocked when people just didn’t bother showing up. As if the strength of the Rogers brand was enough to make them buy something they really didn’t want.

    I have no personal dealings with Rogers (I don’t use their cable or cell services) so I don’t have any built up resentment towards them. I do, however, think they assume that they are smarter than they really are. This attitude has cost them a lot of money and some honest, hardworking people their livelihoods.

  10. Cirroc says:

    That’s too bad that nobody wants to work with Ron MacLean. Maybe he’s right to show up and change everything since nobody else seems to know how to make their broadcasts watchable. Everyone loved George and we saw how that turned out.

  11. Bob Canuck says:

    TSM,

    Thanks for the interesting read.

    When Rogers made the changes to HNIC, I welcomed the diminished role for Ron MacLean; he was a key contributor to the moribund state of that broadcast. I also agree with those who think that restoring Ron MacLean’s HNIC role to its previous status is a mistake.

    However, in my opinion, the anonymous quotes regarding Ron MacLean’s ego, mode of operation, etc. should not have been used in this post. My view is that sources should not be offered anonymity to make personal comments about others. In such circumstances, a good standard to observe was provided by the Canadian Association of Journalists:

    “We do not allow anonymous sources to take cheap shots at individuals or organizations.”

    http://www.caj.ca/ethics-guidelines/

  12. nocaps says:

    so bob canuck who should host hnic ?

  13. Steve Jones says:

    I found this to be one if the more compelling reads. For me it all distills down to one line. The one about turning back to the older demographic. Bingo. Go safe. Make the old guys happy. And forget you need a new generation to backfill audience. Not to mention advertisers, for the most part, have no interest talking to people over 50. And that’s who generally wants Maclean back.

    Now if you want to come at this from another angle does it even matter who the host is? I’ll put my hand up and say no. I don’t watch pre game shows. Intermissions are for getting snacks or flipping open the iPad. I think most people turn on hockey telecasts to, well, watch hockey. And in that vein the league needs to make changes to stop people like me from going to sleep. Or flipping to something that isn’t plain dull.

  14. DJ says:

    Catching up on Fridays shows via podcast and just realized Bryan Hayes is going to be solo on OverDrive until September.

    I HATE solo radio. McCown cant do it. Walker cant do it. Richards cant do it. There is a reason Mike and the Mad Dog were so good at WFAN, they had chemistry and could play off each other. REALLY good radio needs chemistry, IMO.

    I don’t know if Hayes is getting a summer co-host but this could be torpedoing any positive momentum TSN gained in the 4-7 slot.

  15. Matty Zero says:

    Especially when said anonymous sources might have an axe to grind, eh Bob? Agreed.

    As I’ve said before, it is going to be hard to increase the ratings substantially. People are running, not walking , to cut the cord in massive amounts. I think that almost negates a lot of the growth that some expect if the Canadian teams start winning again.

    Rogers seems to be trying to stick old band-aids on gunshot wounds, and I don’t think having the whole TSN panel would save them either. They massively overpaid in the hopes that the NHL in Canada would equal the NFL in the States, but as McCown says, ‘There’s no there, there’.

    I suspect Mr. Moore will be shown the door next summer, if not sooner, and that the parceling off of games to TSN will begin. Gotta recoup what they can, somehow.

  16. Stan says:

    Who knew that Roman Polak and Matt Martin were integral pieces of the “Shanaplan”? Leaf fans sold yet another bill of goods. Waiting for the first homer journo to say as such, but not holding my breath.

  17. Bob Canuck says:

    Nocaps,

    Assuming you could not pry James Duthie from TSN, I think Jeff Marek would be a worthwhile substitute. Marek is knowledgeable, passionate, and a polished, experienced hockey broadcaster with a sense of humour.

  18. Alex says:

    I think one of the biggest problems of the Rogers deal is most sports fans only care about the local team, be it hockey or baseball. NFL is different animal, thanks to gambling/fantasy. Basketball to a lesser extent since they made the league star driven, not team driven.

  19. Mike V says:

    You know which part of the Toronto economic hierarchy you are at by what your opinion of Andy Frost’s dismissal is. Make that if you care at all. Most fans don’t care who announces the end of the period to the suits inside the ACC. If they’re in the there at all they are thankful they can attend. And teams make cosmetic changes to the stadium experience all the time, this is no different. Total non issue.

    The McLean opinions, if widely held on the production staff, is interesting because Scott Moore must have been aware of this and put him back in the seat regardless. Or can he truly be that lost in his own department?

  20. Huz says:

    Sportsnet’s Free Agency coverage was brutal yesterday.

    I honestly felt sorry for Johnson, he was the only one that actually gave you some good analysis of the signings instead of shouting at his colleagues. No surprise that he used to be with TSN.

    How on earth did Millard, Kypreos, Doug Maclean keep their jobs? Those were the first 3 that I thought would be let go.

    It’s better than Sportsnet does not have a Free Agency/Trade Deadline show since everybody is clearly watching TSN instead of them.

  21. Sam In Scarb says:

    Like I have said before,any article where I see…”a source said” or “it was overheard” or “someone close to the organization”
    I just stop reading and dismiss the article as filler.

  22. Tighthead says:

    I have no problem with the anonymous source, because I trust Jonah and Mike as credible after reading them on here for years. Anonymous sources are only as good as the credibility of the reporter. Ina,so don see this as gratuitous – RM’s relationship with others is relevant to the story.

    Incidentally, a reporter in Montreal is currently trashing Subban with anonymous sources. To my ear, it is clearl that he is being fed info and is carrying water for management.

  23. Joel says:

    Steve Jones wrote, “advertisers, for the most part, have no interest talking to people over 50. And that’s who generally wants Maclean back.”
    Except advertisers like Canadian Tire, Wal-Mart, Tim Horton’s, Home Depot, multi-national breweries, etc. all pursue that demographic vigorously. There’s still a pile of money in their pockets. Plus, the younger demographic aren’t necessarily tuning into sports/hockey and are more likely already cord free.
    As for the pregame, intermission and post-game shows I agree with you wholeheartedly. Nor do I need the agonizing prattle about statistics. I’m not looking for long-winded, yet meaningless analysis, just give me an entertaining opinion about what I’m watching.

    And yes on too many occasions the games are dull.

  24. Curt says:

    Nothing wrong with anonymous sources. Man, we have some sanctimonious people around here.

  25. Greg says:

    I have always been a bigger fan of TSN over Sportsnet and I never really knew a solid reason why other than I just enjoyed the coverage more but I think it it me this week while watching the breakdown of the 3 big pieces of news Wednesday. TSN’s Ryan Rishaug broke the Taylor Hall deal on Twitter. Then Nick Kypreos broke the PK trade and then Bob Mckenzie broke the Stamkos news. So if you’re keeping score like I know these insiders like to, that 2-1 TSN. I watched and listened to a lot of coverage Wednesday and Thursday because I wanted to hear everyone’s take. Not once did I hear anyone on TSN mention who broke the trades but honestly, every chance Sportsnet got s chance they felt the need to mention Nick Kypreos broke the PK trade. “Now let’s bring in the man who broke the news first…” “Our own Nick Kypreos first broke the news of PK Subban…” In my opinion they are the national rights holders and TSN is in 2nd place. If anyone should be bragging about getting the tweet out first on 2 of the 3 stories it should be TSN. Not the station who is expected to be closest connected to the sources because they are writing 5.2 billion dollars worth in cheques to the NHL. I think it is just classic Rogers blowing their own horn because they are in first place now even though they lose in the ratings on trade deadline and free agency days because their quality of programming is far less superior.

  26. Paul G. says:

    @ Tighthead

    You couldn’t have summarized it better…”Credibility”!
    If the writers have it (and this Site does) the use of such sources is not an issue.

    @ Curt

    So true.

    @ TSM/MIB

    Keep up the great work and thanks for such great reads.

  27. edge says:

    I agree with Olbermann on the situation with Ron. This is similar to the Leno situation. A new guy came in and tried to reach a new, younger audience, it didn’t work, and in a panic they went back to the old guy. It didn’t work then, either. Getting Ron back might seem like a victory, but it’s equal parts capitulation. It’s like following up a triple bogey with a single bogey. It seems like an improvement, and it is, but it’s still not good. And I don’t know Ron at all. I don’t know how he operates behind the scenes so I can’t speak to that point. I do have hope about David Amber though. Hosting the second game of the double header gives him a chance to imbue it with a different vibe than Ron.

    The biggest mistake Rogers made has nothing to do with who hosts the games or pregame shows. They simply overpaid, thinking that hockey in Canada is akin to the NFL in the US. It’s not. You can tell us it’s a part of Canadiana and that it helped build our country and all that feel-good jingoism all you want. The fact is we do not follow the NHL day-in and day-out like Americans follow the NFL. And even if hockey is number 1 in ratings, with our population and ever changing demographics there is an upper limit to how big the NHL gets in Canada.

  28. RobInAurora says:

    “far less superior” = “inferior”….and I say this not only as a correction, but because Sportsnet is truly inferior to TSN (in every way). Rogers can claim to be “#1” in ratings, that is only because they bought the rights to hockey and they own the blue Jays. Give the public a chance to see TSN cover more hockey and some of the blue Jays, the ratings would be far in TSN favour. But if you hapen to enjoy the golf majors, NFL and CFL football, soccer or the tennis majors, then TSN is actually #1 because they’ve cornered the market on every other sport besides hockey and baseball. (So in effect if you were to measure who owns the #1 spot for profitability, then I would believe TSN takes that spot quite easily).

  29. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    @curt
    I’ve always had troubles with ‘anonymous sources’ and why is anybody who question the sources sanctimonious? Where there is smoke there is fire-

  30. Stan says:

    Corrupt politicians, businesses, and the elite in general really hate when the media use anonymous sources to expose their practices, which explains why they are so crucial in a free and democratic society.

  31. Curt says:

    People can and should question sources all they want, but just because a source is anonymous doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used. Do you know how many stories use anonymous sources? Hell, Nixon would never have resigned if reporters weren’t allowed to use anonymous sources.

  32. Curt says:

    What Stan said.

  33. Sam In Scarb says:

    @ torontosportsmedia Thanks for the “shot”
    Can only assume a different opinion other than yours does not sit well.

  34. Original Mitch says:

    @robinAurora

    Spot on! I can tell you it’s a mandate at Sportsnet to remind viewer who is number #1 and how much ‘better’ they are than TSN, while TSN has never once given thought to sportsnet publicly. It’s a massive inferiority complex that starts at the top and trickles down to every employee. Despite them being “number 1” they know people will watch TSN head to head and instead of worrying about their own product, they are constantly looking at tsn. Why do you think they tried to poach all their hockey talent? If they were at all confident and competent, they would have taken their own path from day 1. Classic little man syndrome.

  35. yaz says:

    With McDavid in Edmonton, Laine in Winnipeg and Matthews, Marner, Nylander in Toronto – Canadian ratings likely bottomed out last year. They won’t regain the lost audience instantly, but slow incremental gains will be made the next couple of years. Moore himself admitted changing the on air personel will do little to boost ratings: “What attracts audiences, young and old, is winning,” he said. The most significant casting that Rogers did was to tell the NHL the Leafs needed to draft #1 and not Edmonton. Let’s not kid ourselves that it was a coincidence the Leafs drafted #1.

  36. yaz says:

    @DJ

    Agreed. And of them all, Hayes is the one who needs a co-host the most. His deep monotone voice just numbs you into unconsciousness. When he used to begin the 2 PM hour is was often on his own and he would do an entire segment about the NFL with no callers. Channel changer. Stakes are higher 4-7 PM. TSN has enough people to give him a bunch of co-hosts that sit in for a week or two throughout the summer. Overdrive really needs that. Chemistry or not, just need another voice to keep the debate and conversation engaging.

  37. Hugh310 says:

    If I’m comprehending correctly, first Rogers sucked in their first two seasons and BIG changes had to be made. Second, we don’t like ANY of the changes that were made and boo hoo poor employees that were let go even though many of them we wanted to be fired. Third, out of the blue, apparently everyone at Rogers HATES Ron McLean. Yikes !!

  38. Huz says:

    If only TSN got the NHL contract instead of Rogers…..

  39. mcloki says:

    Rogers failed because they were arrogant. The HNIC broadcast team were terrible. Snide comments, lack of any real work. I dare you to give me one memorable quote from Simpson. Healy getting tossed is an improvement and it seems that Canadian are very grateful. But Simpson and Hughson have to go, at least off of Leaf broadcasts. Everyone is tired of their boring playcall. Blaming the hockey is not it. We watched in the Ballard years. A decade and nobody said boo. Does Sportsnet even have hockey. Oh wait they have a Hockey lead in show on Saturday, but it doesn’t really lead into the hockey game. It cuts to Martinne talking about other sports for a half hour and then shows up on CBC for a half hour lead in. That’s not what hockey fans want. This was mismanaged by SN. Sure they focus panelled this, but they drew the wrong conclusion. They forgot to ego stroke the paying customers by not badmouthing the Leafs at every chance. We could hear Healy and Simpsons disdain every game. Who watches a broadcast where teh announcers hate what they are watching. I would love to see the numbers in the GTA of viewers that would rather watch the game on NBC and the wonderful Doc Emerick over listening to Hughson. I bet most of them only turn the NBC broadcast when Cherry comes on. SN has a lot of work to do. First start with the attitude of respect for the teams and game they are broadcasting.

  40. edge says:

    @Huz,

    The problem with one company owning all the rights is that all the telecasts start to look and feel the same. I think this is the downside to TSN owning all the CFL rights even if they do a good job with them. Why the NHL chooses to do this in both Canada and the US is baffling to me. Wouldn’t you want more suitors? Wouldn’t you want more networks showing your product nationally than just NBC and Rogers? But I digress. Couldn’t they split up the Wednesday night and weekends in the US? So, ESPN gets a Wednesday night game, and the Sunday afternoon game goes on NBC? That would be ideal, I would think.

  41. Original Mitch says:

    @edge @huz

    One of the reasons the nfl is popular (other than gambling) is because every network shows the games, hence they have a vested interest in the product. The nhl should have done the same on both sides of the border, but Gary doesn’t seem to understand that basic concept.

  42. Smilin' says:

    maybe the simple answer is Rogers just completely botched this with their overpriced ludicrous deal with Gary. an all ego party with Pelley and Moore, then they go begging to cbc for studio space, personnel and office space because they have none. sounds like a great plan by great minds. looks good on them. but yes tough on the job losses as a result.

  43. edge says:

    Something I didn’t know until today. The Blue Jays have the best average attendance in the American League, better than even the Yankees and Red Sox and Royals. Clearly there is a strong halo effect carrying over from last year. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects Rogers with their hockey shuffling. Remember what happened last year as the Jays sucked all the air of out TV ratings in the second half? The fact that the media division (which includes the Jays) lost money means that positive effects created by the baseball team could be undone by negative effects created by the NHL TV deal. And those effects aren’t equal. Obviously Rogers would want both a good ball team and all 7 Canadian teams doing well to bump hockey ratings, but given the money involved, given the choice, they would much prefer hockey do well than the Jays. I find that very interesting. The average payout for Rogers to the NHL is $435 million Canadian. Or about three times the Blue Jays 2016 payroll when converted to Canadian dollars.

  44. Nanaman says:

    @original Mitch

    I don’t think there are many networks lining up to show NHL games. Furthermore, if a fool decides to monopolize the rights to NHL broadcasts at an exorbitant amount, then why would Bettman not take it?

    I’m no fan of Bettman, but more often than not fans, especially in Canada, don’t seem to realize that he works for the owners. He wants to maximize profits and could care less about Joe fan.

    So, from a business perspective, he is doing a phenomenal job. From a fan who’d love to see a team in Hamilton, he’s not on my fave contacts list.

  45. Huz says:

    NFL: ESPN, FOX, NBC, CBS.

    NBA: TNT, ESPN. NFL Network

    MLB: TBS, ESPN, FOX, MLB Network. Rogers for Canada with TSN getting a certain number of National games a week.

    NHL: NBC for The U.S, Rogers for Canada.

    On top of not getting any National Rights, TSN also got screwed out of the World Cup Of Hockey rights.

  46. (Another) Andrew says:

    One of the reasons the nfl is popular (other than gambling) is because every network shows the games, hence they have a vested interest in the product.

    The above is part of it but there’s another reason for the NFL’s popularity: scarcity. Each game is a bit of an occasion. The NHL will never be like that. The saturation coverage means most people tune it out unless it is their team and even then there’s too much of it.

  47. Steve on St Clair says:

    “Nothing wrong with anonymous sources. Man, we have some sanctimonious people around here.”

    And naive. Anonymous sources are critical to journalism.

  48. dogpounder says:

    I really REALLY enjoyed the hockey pucks taking the backseat Friday.

  49. jackbee says:

    It sounds from reading the latest blog from the fill in host and Mike in past, that they are both milleniels who were infatuated with Strombo and disliked a seasoned veteran hockey broadcaster like MacLaen.

    Strombo interned at the FAN when it started on the air in the 90’S but by no means is he a spots export. I only ever watched a few of his late nite CBC TV shows which were ok in the least. He bombed out at CNN when hosting a show a couple of summers go.

    I can’t imagine what Ron Maclean felt like when he was striped on his HNIC duties last season save ‘Coach’s Corner’, and was shipped off on Sunday nights to small towns and villages across Canada. To Maclean’s credit he didn’t whine or complain publicly on his demotion.

    Maclean will restore ratings to HNIC even if most Canadian based teams miss the playoffs. He knows his hockey inside out and will present issues with a calm demeanour, and not an over the top presentation like Strombo used to.

    Agree with those who like TSN’s broadcasters re Free Agent Frenzy and going back to Trade Deadline shows. They state the facts without having to brag ‘we were first with the news of….’

    I did enjoy Dean Blundell having to eat his words when he basically guaranteed Stamkos would come to Toronto days before fee agency. He was also way wrong predicting Price would and guaranteeing Price would resign with Jays. TSN constant promo countdown of number of days til Stamkos became a free agent, also blew up in their face as Stamkos resigned with Lightning. It caught Sportsnet napping as well.

    As for broadcasters losing their jobs, it’s part of the 206 landscape in sports coverage. I was a freelance sports journalist for over 2 decades in T.O. when pair of newspapers I wrote for went out of business Nobody feels sorry for me and I don’t feel sorry for those let go by Spotsnet

    Back to talk radio – heard continuing saga of comments from Rustic this A.M who asked Wilner why doesn’t MLB consider robot umpires at home plate for balls and strikes, given what happened with home plate umpire on Canada Day AND Blue Jays ejections. Wilner reiterated he’d like to have robot umps at home plat as well during the discussion.

    I have an idea – why not have robot sports hosts 24-7 who present the issues instead of original human thought. I’ve been a softball umpire for many years and while I’m not 100% in my calls on balls and strikes and plays on bases, neither are players 100% in their judgment of strikes, fielding the bases and running the bases. MLB should take a crash course in being an ump some time, it would give them plus non jocks like Rusic and Wilner a new perspective of how a baseball game is run on the field.

    I enjoyed Mike Richards show when he was in the AM on TSN radio and continue to so on his 1-4 show. He doesn’t need a cohost as he is witty and his impersonations take the place of a regular cohost.

    As for Naylor and Landsberg — can anyone tell me why Landsberg comes in at 600 am and not 530 am as his cohost has to do every day. Also last week talking to baseball insider Dirk Hayhurst, the entire segment for Naylor and Landsberg revolved around what Dirk do during long rain delays re the rain/hail that delayed start of Jays game in Colorado. What a waste of Dirk’s time but am sure he’ll be happy to cash that paycheck. Later that week there was solid Jays and baseball content form Dirk in talking with Richards.

    Sorry to hear Frost lost his Maple Leafs announcing job at ACC. Probably will be replaced by another millennial nobody that hosts of this blog will rejoice in, like they wosh would happen to Maclean.

  50. Mike V says:

    Don’t know about MIB, but Jonah/TSM is at least in his 40s. And there was hardly a love-in for Strombo here previously.

    So because umpires are self-admittedly not perfect (and some umps like Carapazza, are very far from it) that’s reason enough to let their errors and biases influence the game when PitchFX is available to tell you with much better accuracy? How does that make any sense? Other sports have been able to implement this technology so far and the world hasn’t ended.

    You joke about robot hosts, but someone is going to try that once the AI has advanced enough.

  51. Nanaman says:

    @jackbee

    I doubt ratings will increase with Ron at the helm. Most people reach for their phones to text during the break or leave the room altogether.

    Ron, for me, comes across as a condescending know-it-all. A lil Wilner mixed in with a lot reminders that he referees games (akin to Landsberg referencing OTR).

    Sometimes, he is punny though.

  52. Curt says:

    Agreed. I’m usually a pro-union guy but it appears MLB umpires have way too much power. It must be the main reason why Pitch Trax isn’t used to call balls and strikes. But even if they did use the technology, nobody loses a job – you’d still need an ump behind the plate for fouls calls, plays at the plate, someone for Martin to bitch to when “framing” a pitch doesn’t do anything anymore…

  53. Dros says:

    I think, with Ron back at the helm and some improved Canadian team performances, ratings normalize. I think this is a little bit too much of “the sky is falling” from people on here who have obvious biases.

    I don’t disagree with the points that hockey’s audience is getting older and isn’t do the necessary due diligence to make things better (ex: the on-ice product is damn near unwatchable some nights).

    I think i’m a good example of what HNIC hopes to recapture: I’m a 27-year-old lifelong Leaf fan. I tuned out for the most part in January of 2015, watching sporadic games here and there. I never thought i’d see the day where I stopped caring, but for the mean time, I have.

    In that time, the Raps and Jays rose to prominence and both made the final four. Winning is intoxicating. No one was used to it, so people hopped on in droves.

    That being said, when the Leafs start to show gains, I’ll absolutely be back again. I was just tired of the mismanagement and the terrible on-ice product.

    I think that’s what we will see from most people. Not like there’ll be an all-Canadian finals and no one tunes in. That’s where the hyperbole on this board reaches nauseating levels.

  54. PBI says:

    “You know which part of the Toronto economic hierarchy you are at by what your opinion of Andy Frost’s dismissal is. ”

    One of my favourite comments ever posted here. Hilarious. Unbelievable to me that people care as much as they do.

  55. steven says:

    ‘One of my favourite comments ever posted here. Hilarious. Unbelievable to me that people care as much as they do.’

    Some people just need something to complain about. I don’t get it, but have at it, if they need to live in negativity, what can you do?

    ‘Agreed on PA announcer Andy Frost.

    How was his performance even the most minute of issues for an organization that finished dead last this year and, frankly, was pretty much bad throughout his long, dedicated tenure? It’s a dubious move like this that reminds us why this organization – through Ballard, Fletcher, Burke and yes Shanahan, among so many other legends living or otherwise – remains one of the biggest jokes in North American professional sports.’

    Really? Its a PA announcer, not a coach lol.

  56. Stan says:

    People complaining about what people complain about need to look up ‘irony’ in the dictionary. People decrying negativitism while being negative are beyond hope.

  57. Mike V says:

    I’d like to be the first to welcome rob j back to the site. The self imposed exile did not last long. Or is is still technically in place because it’s a new handle?

  58. Stan says:

    Heads up to sportsnet. If they air tim watching sid watch the Portugal game this week, I’m writing a letter to the CRTC

  59. Nanaman says:

    @stan
    CRTC’s response….”Uh, it’s called a remote. Change the channel.”

  60. Stan says:

    Probably right…actually if Wales wins I wouldn’t mind seeing Sid dealing with it.

  61. Alex says:

    Interesting they went outside the usualsuspe ts to fill in for Bob this week.

    David Fay and Grange instead of Blair, Mafani, etc.

    Presumably, with baseball central taking over the noon slot, they wanted to leave Blair where he is this week.

  62. koko b.ware says:

    @Stan
    Now that would be awesome. I could care less about footy, however I want Portugal to get eliminated because of Sid.

  63. Huz says:

    Since Rogers eliminated most of their regional studio hosts and analysts, I’m guessing guys like Murphy, Millions, Principe will do most of the pre-game, intermissions, post-game stuff from the rink? I could also see the Leafs being the only team where they do all the pre-game, intermissions, post-game stuff in the studio.

    It looks like they’ll really be focusing on Wednesday Night Hockey, Hockey Night In Canada, Hometown Hockey, Thursday Night Hockey.

  64. Cirroc says:

    Somebody here was lamenting that Hayes would be doing Overdrive solo until September. Fear not, for he had Jonas Siegel as his co-host today. See you in September Overdrive.

  65. Shoot and Score says:

    @Huz
    Pregames and intermissions for regionals will mostly come from the rink, with inserts from a ‘national’ studio crew. Sounds like they will add to the regional crews in the rink. But between all the advertising and sponsorship they need to get in, not exactly a ton of time to fill anyway.
    And Leafs are always treated differently, so they will have a full studio pregame and intermissions.
    Or so I hear.

  66. yaz says:

    Now we will finally see how changing the host of HNIC back to Ron Maclean will not provide the ratings surge many predict.

    A few points maybe, but not the almost 30% decline in ratings over the last two seasons (16% year over year = 29.44% decline). That is a LOT of viewership to regain. Honestly I would think Rogers would be happy if HNIC ratings just didn’t drop at all next year and leveled off. Let’s not forget the saviour was hosting Hometown Hockey which was down an even more alarming 42% this year – down from 2015/16 ratings that were already moribund.

    But if Maclean can get a stranglehold on the floor director who seemed to be straight out of first year Humber, experimenting every week with whizzing crane shots to nowhere, that should be good for a 5 point pop right there.

  67. Gerry says:

    George is gone..
    Ron is back at the helm of hnic where he belongs.
    All is well in my canadian hockey world once again. (This year I won’t have to switch to Punjabi to avoid skinny jeans)

  68. Huz says:

    Does anybody actually enjoy watching Hometown Hockey? At first, it was cool, but now it’s being overdone. It also doesn’t help that they moved the show from City (OTA Channel) to Sportsnet (Cable Channel). They’re also on at the worst possible time because they’re up against the NFL on CTV/TSN at 4 and 8 PM Eastern.

    Hockey Day In Canada is essentially Hometown Hockey packed into a 12 hour show, and that’s what makes it special.

    The majority of the viewers of Hometown Hockey are the fans of the teams playing, but there’s nothing after that. The NFL only comes around once a week, and those 4 and 8 PM games usually involve the big name teams. That’s why they’ll never draw new viewers on Sundays.

  69. RobInAurora says:

    I actually don’t mind Jonas at all. He has some interesting takes and can be a foil for the usual shtick on overdrive. Having said that, I have never listened to the bright lights on PTS, so maybe I’m missing out on some great radio. I mean Jonas can’t hold a candle to a Ken Reid or Damien Cox or John Shannon – but I don’t mind Jonas at all as a fill in from time to time…and I am sure he is a casual fill in and not permanent for the summer. (He’s lot better than Bill Hayes).

  70. Anthony says:

    When the same people make the same complaints about the same thing, or just generally don’t offer much in the way of unique dialog or discussion, people will push back. You can call it irony, you can mock them, but that’s human nature. People dislike those who don’t offer anything new, or just insert a new ‘crisis’ to complain about week after week.

    If you need a crisis to bitch about, have at it, but don’t be surprised if there is push back.

  71. GreyCountyMike says:

    Huz: You raise a good point about Hometown Hockey. It was neat at the beginning, but after a while, every town featured pretty much comes across the same. Producers can only push the “hockey means everything to us” button so many times … with or without for tear-jerking backdrops.

    Conversely, the early Saturday warm-up panel show on Rogers seemed to have staying power. It was a nice value-add for viewers … and, understandably, its dismissal has been loudly criticized by some legitimate voices. Who knew Keith Olbermann cared that much about Canadian broadcasting?

  72. Antonio says:

    Ron MacLean is by no means the savior for Rogers Hockey but he certainly is an improvement over lispy George.

    As for ratings, they likely will jump a bit but mostly due to the fact the Leafs are looking more promising with Matthews et al. There will also be much fewer complaints about Rogers’ hockey thanks to the canning of said lispy George.

    Is MacLean the perfect choice, hell NO! I’m sure there are many other people who could have been brought in to fix things. However, Rogers went with the safe, old reliable choice after going out on a limb previously with George whats-his-name.

  73. yaz says:

    typo above – Hometown Hockey was down 42 % in ratings this 15/16 season from the already bad ratings from 14/15 season.

  74. yaz says:

    typo above – Hometown Hockey was down in ratings this 15/16 season from the already bad ratings from 14/15 season.

  75. Nanaman says:

    Big fan of TSN over Sportsnet… That being said, why does TSN use its website to cover spelling bees, hot dog eating contests (this week’s special includes a pic of Joey Chestnut looking like he’s about to hurl), and dog shows?

    None of the above qualify as sports, and when I do see them being covered, I think the “S” in TSN has been revised to Stupid.

    C’mon TSN, a video from the early days of TSN (e.g. discussion about the which player should go first in the ’94 draft) would be way more entertaining.

  76. RobInAurora says:

    Those are just novelty shows – and to me they are kind of a refreshing diversion. (My advice: just don’t watch ’em) – They are only broadcasts of annual events and the TSN tie-in with ESPN is why we see them in Canada…I kind of find them a nice change – and they are preferable to both a) any form of televised poker and b) any form of UFC or mixed martial arts…

    I like the dog shows (in small doses) – I will avoid any eating contests – but I really like the 30 for 30’s and other ESPN specials – None of which are available on Sportsnet. TSN offers some variety and that’s generally a good thing. ESPN stands for entertainment & sports programming network – Some people don’t like the ‘entertainment’ part, but I think that they would form a tiny minority of viewership.

  77. RobInAurora says:

    Regarding Home Town hockey: If you travel around Canada for any length of time as I have over the past 15 years, you soon realize that there really aren’t all that many places in Canada. (After all, we only have 30 some odd million residents here). So eventually, Home Town Hockey is going to run out of compelling venues – or they are going to need to start repeating them – And too many of them aren’t very big. For example, I love Charlottetown, but it’s about the size of Aurora where I live. How often can you keep going back to either place? Are you going to start visiting Bala Ontario? Or Morell, PEI and have 150 people in the background? How compelling is that for the TV viewers at home?

    The costs associated with travel, lodging and logistics to broadcast from far flung locations across such a huge country would be considered a needless extravagance for a cable network that is already hemorrhaging cash after paying for the rights for national hockey coverage. How long does that continue?

    (TSN and Bell must be sitting back smiling like Cheshire cats while they rebroadcast NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” up against Home Town Hockey: Minnesota vs New Jersey…”Tonight we’re coming to you from Kingston Ontario, home town of New Jersey Devil Taylor Hall”)

    All “home town hockey” has done is ruin the special event that the annual day long Hockeyville broadcast was (I forget the actual name)….

  78. Anthony says:

    ‘My advice: just don’t watch ’em’

    But, than what would they complain about 😉

    Sorry, had to!

    Im not a big fan of Hometown hockey either, its a glorified magazine show, but I also don’t watch what I don’t like, so ces la vie. The show certainly has a shelf life, Its not something you can do weekly. Perhaps every 5/6 weeks make a special of it, its the type of show that becomes less impactful the more you watch it (again, I dont really watch it, but magazine style shows generally decrease audience aggressively over time)

  79. edge says:

    @RobInAurora

    The big thinking behind Hometown Hockey must’ve been something like this: ‘Guys, Sunday Night Football proves that Canadians will watch a live national sports broadcast on Sunday Night. Canadians love hockey. If we put on a Sunday night hockey game, we’ll make a killing! In fact, it’ll be such a big hit we can use it to prop up City TV!’

    No matter how they choose to dress it up going to small towns, it’s difficult to make a regular season hockey game have an “event” feel the way the NFL has. It’s not just Hometown Hockey, either. The Winter Classic and Stadium Series games have lost their novelty.

    I agree with you that TSN is definitely laughing as they don’t need to spend the massive amount of money it takes to produce a live hockey game when they just need to sub-in NBC’s broadcast and get good numbers that way.

  80. Nanaman says:

    @RobinAurora

    On the website, it’s not about choosing to watch them or not. TSN is not ESPN. It’s a sports network and it’s advertised as such. If I want entertainment about spelling bees, I’ll go to a site which caters to that.

    It’s akin to clicking on a URL which advertises a sale and then, lo and behold, it has other things completely unrelated to the site.

    I just don’t see how a human eating 79 hot dogs in one sitting is even considered newsworthy, let alone an accomplishment that’s rewarded.

  81. Alex says:

    “competitive eating” encapsulates so many of the bad things about American culture:

    Gluttony, hype, spectacle, etc…

  82. Mullet says:

    @RobInAurora
    Hometown hockey looks great to the suits (even if 40% rating fail 2nd year), ’cause Rogers can sell cell phone, subscribtions to those community it’s in on the spot.$$$

  83. Huz says:

    Anyone else sick of those “What’s the call” segments? They’re treating us like we don’t know the game.

    NBC does the same thing, but their excuse is that they have alot of new viewers, and they’re trying to grow the game

  84. edge says:

    @Huz,

    It’s a fine line to walk between informing the audience and talking down to them. The Predators PA announcer still announces powerplays to the crowd, and I figure that’s fine even though the Preds have been around for almost two decades now. When the Canucks started doing that, some people called in to TSN 1040 and said they found it insulting. So it depends on the audience and context. The networks (in Canada and the US) do need to keep in mind that not every viewer is a hardcore fan. I think Kelly Hrudey and Kenny Smith do a good job breaking down hockey and basketball plays on the telestrator without being overly technical or condescending.

  85. Poker Guy says:

    That tweet that Kypreos sent out, never gets old. Makes me laugh all the time.

  86. RobInAurora says:

    Yes, I love that Kypper tweet too – and Bob’s rather gracious yet pointedly funny “heads up” in response made for a timeless social media parable…

    ….On another topic, someone complained about Jonas Siegal on Overdrive. Well, last night was Derek Taylor and Dave Feschuk as fill-ins. I should point out that I don’t find either of them “likable” – but their lisps and their whiny and oftentimes whimpering delivery are a lot for me to put up with on the radio. (I don’t care if that sounds cruel. This is radio, the audience has to like – or at least be able to “endure” what they hear.) Hayes made up for it and kept the show on track and it was passable, but not good radio.

    Then this AM, Derek Taylor is back on with Matt Cauz today – (and he’s managed to make Gareth Wheeler seem like Dan Patrick).I find that he is just ill-suited to radio. When you’re doing a radio show, you have to be able to complete most of your sentences. Almost every time he tried to stress a point in a heated discussion, he made confused, whiny, whimpering and frustrated noises as if he was a tongue tied ten year old who is lost for words and stumped by a tough question. That is just poor radio. If he’s staying on the radio, he needs a lot of work. (I’m not sure if I can stick with it).

  87. Stan says:

    Man, when McCown is off PTS becomes a 2nd or 3rd-tier show (unless you really really like international basketball)

  88. Mike S says:

    The dog days of summer sports radio have officially arrived………the Walker Show had an interview with a KC Royals baseball player at 1:40 PM today and then they replayed it at 3:10 PM

  89. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    @stan
    Re PTS without McCown – I completely agree – To some he may be losing a step but all round nobody on any local Toronto show can touch him when is ‘on his game’

  90. MjwW says:

    It becomes a 3rd tier show when Brad Fray hosts it, yes. Do they really have no one else?

  91. yaz says:

    Grange with 3 other people can put you to sleep. Grange with whoever this guy is on PTS right now is about as exciting as listening to live radio coverage of a Gin Rummy tournament at an old folks home.

  92. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    Wow – I just turned off PTS – Who are the two clowns they have giggling at each other? Absolutely childish and unlistenable – That and the(to me anyway) absolutely tasteless ‘holy truck’ commercial – Get back soon Bob – Puhleeese-

  93. Poker Guy says:

    @RobinAurora:

    Bang on regarding Taylor. Amateur hour.

  94. Alex says:

    Glad we now have three days of 590 hosts stumping for Saunders to make the ASG with the extra vote thing. As if shilling for their castmate asnt enough, making him “captain canada” seems even more homeriffic.

  95. Stan says:

    The ‘Awful Announcing’ site had a feature today on how Rick Reilly became a joke after leaving SI to become a talking-head on ESPN. Totally reminded me of the demise of solid newspaper writers like Grange, Blair, Brunt, Cox, and Simmons into broadcast media ‘celebrities’, entering laughingstock territory.

  96. Bobby G says:

    Speaking of “‘Celebrities’ entering laughingstock territory” there might not be anything more entertaining on Twitter than Marty York tweeting about the Blue Jays — except maybe the two or three sycophants who are apparently his only regular connection with the outside world.
    I think he’s trying to troll Jays fans into arguing with him but none of the tweets make much sense, are based on fact or in any way accurate.
    For instance he predicted the Royals would beat up on the Jays this week and that no Jays would make the all-star team.
    Keep up the great work, Marty.
    There’s no mystery why your stuff is only available 140 characters at a time.

  97. Stan says:

    Bobby G:
    I heard York’s interview with Toronto Mike. Turns out he works for a Jewish charity and make more $ now than he ever did as a sportswriter. The fact that he apparently lets poor Jays fans think he’s washed-up, angry and bitter makes his haters seem incredibly dumb.

  98. On vacation says:

    I’m vacationing in Israel. Elliotte Friedman is here. My cousin and some of his friends were on the same flight and took photos with him. They said he was very nice to them in the terminal.

    Anyway, my parents were at the same restaurant as he was last night. He and his wife were talking about an American job offer. They were discussing whether or not they wished to move to the States. My parents left then, so they didn’t hear a final decision.

    Maybe there are more changes to come.

  99. Tighthead says:

    I listened to that podcast. Adjusting for inflation, I highly doubt York is making more cake as director of communications for B’nai Brith than he did in the go go days when he was lead dog at the Globe. I believe he mentioned that his compensation back then was the cause of great resentment.

    That was the golden days when papers made and spent money like crazy.

  100. Bobby G says:

    @Stan
    Good for you. There’s no better retort to a Marty York criticism than one that is filled with anger and hate. And you’ve added your own embellishment instead of addressing what was actually written. I for one am quite happy Marty York is making lots of money doing something other than sportswriting. And I’m also happy you’ve found a friend. But my point about his dumb, trolling tweets still stands. Surely you can at least grasp that … And give my best to Rob J. You probably don’t have to go far.

  101. Stan says:

    Bobby:
    Your last sentence went over my head but you make fair points.

  102. Original Mitch says:

    I don’t much care for the Jays because, baseball. But there is nobody more entertaining then Marty York. I hope they lose sometimes just to see what he’ll say.

  103. Anthony says:

    @Bobby G
    @Original Mitch

    I stumbled upon this one after someone retweeted it, its fairly hilarious.

    He ‘translates’ martys tweets, its a great parody account
    https://twitter.com/marty_translato/with_replies

    This one happens to be my favourite
    https://twitter.com/marty_translato/status/748591123166224384

    And of course this one
    https://twitter.com/marty_translato/status/750325503496691712

  104. Mullah_Kintyre says:

    A while back you noted the silly secrecy regarding radio ratings information in Canada. Are there really penalties for leaking radio ratings information (beyond the limited info that’s published on the Numeris website), or were you just exaggerating to make a point?

    http://torontosportsmedia.com/sports-and-toronto/toronto-sports-media-radio-ratings-wrapup/20783

    It seems to be the same situation with TV ratings. The only TV ratings info they publish and release to the general public is a national list of the weekly top 30 TV programs (of all kinds — it may occasionally have a big sports event like the Super Bowl). Up until a few years there were also weekly top 30 lists for some cities, but apparently someone must have strongly objected to the general public seeing that some particular TV event may be relatively more popular in Calgary than Toronto, as if that would somehow cause some kind of incredible harm?

    How is it that only Zelkovich seems to continue getting a list of alleged TV ratings for sports events every single week that is not on the Numeris website and apparently not available to any other blogger or writer even if they offer to pay for the information, but Numeris and no one else objects? I think he has acknowledged in the past who it is that feeds him this alleged info, not that it was much of a mystery.

    http://ca.sports.yahoo.com/blogs/eh-game/key-cfl-television-ratings-increase-surprise-southern-ontario-183017606.html

    You mentioned how the radio ratings info released by the competing interests was “crap”, never matched and was unverifiable.

    http://torontosportsmedia.com/sports-and-toronto/toronto-sports-radio-ratings-nuttiness/19940

    Is there any reason to think Zelkovich’s alleged lists are any less dubious?

  105. Stan says:

    No one but no one has more online sychophants than Mike Wilner. If York only has 2, then his influence may be overstated.

  106. Greg says:

    looks like TSN outdrew Sportsnet again on Free Agency day, 317,000 to 226,000.

  107. Anthony says:

    @stan

    Your writing and comments are extemely similar to another poster who said he’d never post on here. Just an interesting note.

    Secondly, I don’t think anyone is overstating Marty York’s impact, he doesn’t really have one. We’re just laughing at a few tweets, one of them where RobJ admits (in a tweet he wasn’t referenced to) that York has a ton of fake accounts.

    Its all fun comedy for most of us I believe.

  108. stan says:

    Someone who’s not even in sports media sure gets a lot of attention here. York has clearly gotten under people’s skin…which I suspect is his main motivation for tweeting. If so, he’s won easily.

  109. Anthony says:

    @Stan

    I think everyone on here had said how funny they are. I enjoy them just to get a laugh out of them.

    To be honest, the parody account is better, I wish i was behind if im not that bright.

    Regardless, enough, we’ve given Marty twitter account, as hilarious as it is, enough free space (he should pay TSM for the spot ;))

  110. Original Mitch says:

    Anybody who takes York at his word is delusional. He’s entertaining and fun and ultimately harmless. That said, when he goads someone (like Wilner) into a twitter-battle, it shows you the sort of insecurity level of his opponent. He’s the ultimate troll and should be treating like one, i.e. laugh, enjoy, but never take seriously.

  111. Mike V says:

    I’m not entirely sure that York is that self-aware. He could just be another in the mold of Trump or Ford. Does come across as that unhinged at some points.

    In any case, anyone who spends such an inordinate amount of time being a total shitbag on Twitter desperately seeking attention of media members and fans certainly has misplaced priorities in life at the very least.

  112. GreyCountyMike says:

    Original Mitch: You”re right on. The fact Wilner and any others get lured into commenting by York speaks more about them than it does about him. He is pretty damn funny, I think.

  113. Anthony says:

    ‘In any case, anyone who spends such an inordinate amount of time being a total shitbag on Twitter desperately seeking attention of media members and fans certainly has misplaced priorities in life at the very least.’

    I do agree, for a guy who does suggest that he has no interest in getting back into the spotlight, seems to want to get back into the spotlight. Either way, troll is a troll, if he gets off on it, cool, its not him I feel sorry for, we get his shtick, its those who seem to painfully agree with everything he tweets, I legit feel sorry for those guys. Yorks doing it for kicks, those guys are buying in.

  114. Stan says:

    I’m no shrink, but my amateur opinion is to not let it bother you and when you see a tweet or response to one that gets you angry enough to post about it, just go for a short walk.

  115. Mike V says:

    I think it’s been well established that no one is truly bothered by York’s incessant Twittering…

  116. yaz says:

    TSN carried Free Agent Frency day all day and into the evening. Sportsnet carried it in the morning then had the Jays game on every single one of its channels all afternoon then brought the panel back at 4 PM. Cannot understand why Rogers wouldn’t carry that day on at least one of its channels in the afternoon.

  117. Tighthead says:

    Marty is crazy, but harmless crazy.

    Check out Bruce Dowbiggin who is pretty much just race baiting at this point.

  118. Mullet says:

    @yaz

    Ratings and advertiser $$$ goes to TSN. (2.3million unique Canadians watched Free Agent)-Free agent, Tradecentre, World Jr’s, Rogers can’t compete. It’s smart to get some form of ad$ thrrough Blue Jays. YET… Your right Yaz why didn’t they just utilize one channel- they’re paying for a crew anyways?

  119. Huz says:

    Let’s be honest, how many people would’ve actually tuned in if Sportsnet had “Signing Season” (Really? You name it signing season?) on one channel? Johnson is the only guy that’s respectable, but Kypreos, Doug Maclean, Millard are awful. I remember Trade Deadline when everyone was standing around on that screen they use to demonstrate plays for the whole show, lol.

    TSN has what? Like 3-4 panels with entertaining personalities and actual insiders, plus reporters located in every Canadian city that has an NHL team. They’re also the first ones to talk to players after they sign.

  120. Jacob says:

    @Huz I think Sportsnet has given up trying to beat TSN. They had a tiny show with basically one panel that only ran in the morning. Then they turned it over to the real money maker: the Jays.

  121. Alex says:

    FYI: new Toronto Mike has lots of sports media talk w dave shoalts.

  122. Anthony says:

    ‘FYI: new Toronto Mike has lots of sports media talk w dave shoalts.’

    And it was a great listen, really enjoyable.

  123. edge says:

    @Mullet @yaz

    I don’t generally like SN either, but I think SN was in a bind with the Jays. They’ve pretty much given up being a regional based network, but they still market their different channels as such. They probably feel both the Jays game and “Signing Season” deserve to get national coverage, but that would mean bumping one or the other to Sportsnet One or 360, the only channels they’ve got that aren’t marketed as a regional feed but also might not be on everyone’s cable package. Either one or the other was going to suffer. Given what the ratings situation is like vis a vis the NHL and Blue Jays if I were them I would’ve prioritized the baseball game too. If the consensus on this board is that their hockey coverage sucks then we can’t hate them for going with baseball.

  124. Vladimir says:

    1. Ratings are driven by the game itself and not the quality of the broadcast.

     

    2. The only fair way to measure the public's acceptance of the studio broadcast is to measure the change in ratings between the pre-game, intermission and post-game studio broadcast and the game broadcast. We should also take note of the ratings trend i.e change in audience nearing the puck drop and after the final buzzer. These numbers should then be compared to what we've seen historically in comparable time slots. Surely someone has taken a look at this data. A recent MBA grad employed at a consultancy would be the most likely candidate.

     

    3. Regardless of claims of scarcity media companies never fail to find considerable funds to lavish on speculative ventures and talent when the business case for doing do is dubious. Ego or if you prefer, professional pride motivates executives to spend money as they do; as does a sense of loyalty to particular individuals. I think all media executives want to win the respect of their peers for the quality of the product that they can personally control. The money of course comes from money spinning divisions. Nevertheless while it's sad to see people lose their jobs it's not clear what they add to the bottom line; even in the case of the great Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth.

     

    4. At the time the Rogers deal was announced I watched the press conference. After listening to the then CEO answer some questions I was left with the impression that Rogers was making a strategic bet: namely that the media market was moving toward an environment of greater choice and uncertainty for investors therefore having exclusive control over the most valuable media property in the market would be a useful lever with which to move that market. My guess that Rogers would give us more hockey than we ever had at current prices to discover the nature of market demand before applying the logic of price discrimination to extract what they could of whatever consumer surplus had accrued. For this reason I've been dismissive of the stories about short run losses on the product.

     

    5. Rogers clearly overestimated the short run benefits to the NHL product. I am guessing that there are people at Rogers who would agree with my point #4 but are now worried that the NHL itself is a rapidly diminishing asset therefore even the long term play is in jeopardy of failing. The potential for truly damaging losses may not be reflected in the NHL accounts at Rogers but in new content that they have to forgo producing/acquiring because of a lack of investment funds or distribution capacity.

     

    6. When people talk about why companies want to target young people – let's be clear – it's not about discretionary spending but about developing brand loyalty. Kids only starting to drink beer or coffee or have yet to buy a car of their own; this is who advertisers are targeting because their business model built around habitualizing consumers to their product.

  125. Les says:

    It’s all about arrogance and the self entitlement of this new generation of executive. When I started working, I respected and learned from the older folks at my place of employment. Some of them were the meanest SOBs I had ever met but, they knew their stuff. The point was made that there was no production person with any real previous studio experience. This was exactly the way these guys wanted it. They were going to show us all how hockey should be done on TV. They failed.I doubt they have any clue as how to do anything. They brought in an old-timer. I believe I am seeing his handiwork with all these changes. It still amazes me that Scott Moore still has his job. From everything I have read, he is the one responsible for the disaster that was brought upon us.

  126. PBI says:

    I admire Marty York’s hustle. For as long as he worked in the media, he knows there is always a niche for the overly negative contrarian stance towards all the local teams and that’s going to be his path to relevance.

    Unfortunately for him, given that the local teams are in the middle of their best stretches in decades like the Jays and Raptors or are finally taking a logical path to contention like the Leafs, it’s really not the best time to shit on the local teams so he looks like a lunatic.

  127. Steven says:

    @GreyCountyMike

    I give York credit, he’s found a gimmick and works it. He even knows he’s not serious when you see his tweets.

    I feel sorry for those guys who sit there, retweeting and tweeting at him. Its like he’s dishing out they’re drug of choice and they’re begging for more.Those guys, the ones who applaud and beg him for more, they’re getting tricked more than anyone…

    Just saying

  128. Cirroc says:

    @Koko B. Ware

    I recall you being much more cheerful. Did something happen to Frankie?

  129. koko b.ware says:

    @cirroc
    My poor Frankie died in a house fire (2001).

  130. yaz says:

    @On Vacation.

    Friedman is taking a job offer in the states? If he does I’m sure they’ll have hair stylists to tame his hair and spray his glaring bald spot. And hope he gives up on the veganism as he’s always bloated and puffy. I think Sportsnet lets their panel go on air without any hair/makeup processing, just lets them do it themselves. Like when Jay and Dan took the Fox job, they said they could basically show up naked and come out looking like a million bucks a half hour later with all the hair/makeup/wardrobe people on staff. Their show didn’t do well, I know.

  131. Huz says:

    Wait, Friedman is taking a job offer in the States?

    If so, that’d be devastating for Rogers. The one guy who’s next to McKenzie at the top of Insiders.

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