As evidenced by sheer volume of comments to the various posts about all the changes in Toronto sports media, it’s pretty easy to see that people care deeply about this stuff. Whether it’s the change in personnel from one outlet to another, the possibility of a new entrant to the marketplace or just simply daily lineups, people are passionate about sports media.
Over the last several months, we have seen change in all facets of the business. Radio, TV, newspapers have all been subject to rumour, fact and innuendo. Both MSMers on the beat (full time or otherwise), Bruce Dowbiggin and Chris Zelkovitch, have both written about the implications of the changes. Both, however, have failed to focus on the big picture, the internet.
Don’t get me wrong. Radio, print and television matter. I am a fan of sports radio, perhaps more so than most. I am one of the few who still pays to receive multiple Toronto newspapers every day. I don’t really care who carries the games that I watch, as long as I get to see them, and only an idiot wouldn’t recognize the importance of TV as a medium.
Having said that, if you don’t think much of the battle going on right now between Rogers, CTV/TSN and to a lesser degree, the CBC, is about websites and web traffic then you’re missing the big picture, too.
While I don’t know this for fact, but several media insiders tell me one of the main reasons Damien Cox is not working for TSN is that they wanted Damien to write for tsn.ca.
In terms of web traffic, measured by Comscore, tsn.ca has slipped below Yahoo! Do you think Keith Pelley is happy with the fact that sportsnet.ca doesn’t even make the top 10? As for CBC, well, why do you think that they have only now registered with Comscore for their sports content?
Ask yourself this, when sports news breaks, where do you immediately turn for information? Remove several of the fantastic blogs out there. Where in the mainstream do you look for either validity or opinion? Personally, the last two websites that I turn to are tsn.ca and sportsnet.ca. (I have never looked at the cbc.ca family of sites.) In terms of online Canadian sources, the Star, Yahoo!, Globe, Post and Sun are my staples.
I have to believe that so much of the focus in the boardrooms of all the major players is online, yet, that is the medium rarely discussed. Cox’s change of heart to remain at the Star while picking up radio and TV duties at Sportsnet is an anomaly. I am convinced that as the other dominoes fall, the focus should be as much on the online side as opposed to just looking on air.
More later and then on to Boston for the night