Toronto Sports Media Catch- Up

Greetings and salutations (are you a heather?)

As one MSMer said to me last week, ‘ does the sports media business ever have an off-season in Toronto?’

So let’s recap what’s occurred over the last week or so. Phenomenal article over at PPP about Bill Watters dropping a homophobic slur, only days after I told you that the end of his show is near.

The Pierre LeBrun to TSN story was finally announced, again, we told you it would 🙂

Peter Loubardias was let go from Sportsnet.

Rumours continue to swirl that Rogers is about to acquire the Ontario Teachers Pension fund share in MLSE and that the Leaf radio rights are going to the Fan 590.

Adrian Wojnarowski, of yahoo! sports dropped a grenade that Bryan Colangelo is going to hire a GM for the Toronto Raptors.

That about sums it up right?

So here’s my take on the moves.

First, the Watters slur. Is anybody the least bit surprised by this? I mean really. How many times have I written about him dropping racially insensitive “slurs” on the air. Come on people. Bill Watters is OLD SCHOOL. He is what he is. I don’t buy for one second that what he said didn’t have the intended meaning that everyone took it mean. How many times have you heard Watters say that so and so was “light in the loafers”? Watters is the modern day Archie Bunker. Really people.

LeBrun joins TSN. How many news breakers can one network have? I mean, they have McKenzie, they have Dreger as the 2 heavy weights. Add in the likes of Ray Ferraro, Mike Johnson, Craig MacTavish who only do hockey too and wow. To borrow from the sports cliche, how many microphones are there to go around? Don’t get me wrong, I am a big LeBrun fan. I am a TSN fan, but that is a top heavy “insider” lineup wouldn’t you say?

Peter Loubardias let go from Sportsnet. I don’t know Peter but people in the business have only the nicest things to say about him. It’s just another example of the changes Moore is making over at Rogers. I loved the comment in Dowbiggin’s column about Rogers not knowing where the rumours of change coming from only to terminate a well known personality hours later. Rogers is doing everything in its power to grow their sports properties. I am told a fall relaunch is coming and it’s going to be “huge”. Peter Loubardias is a talented guy. He’ll get another gig. Heck, TSN can always use a few more hockey guys no? His replacement? My money is on Dan Dunleavy. Which means the Fan needs another replacement for Berger.

Rogers and MLSE. Everyone is hearing the same thing. Rogers is looking seriously at MLSE. It only makes sense. Will they get a deal done? Time will tell. Until then, there will be speculation.

Watters, for those who didn’t see it, I told you last week that it sounded like the Watters show would end on Friday. Well, a glimpse at Arlene Bynon’s page on 640 tells you that she will be on weekday’s from 4-7pm. Go figure.

Adrian Wojnarowski column was big news in Raptors land. Unless I totally missed it, which is, of course possible, I didn’t see, or hear of any chance of Colangelo giving up any power in any local media outlet that covers the Raptors. Can you imagine if Yahoo! broke the news that Burke was going to do the same? That’s big news. The question in my mind is what’s really going on here. Is this a situation where Colangelo needing help, needing a Nonis type guy who has all the credentials and credibility to talk trades with other GM’s so that he, Colangelo can do the other parts of the job, i.e. sweet talk to sponsorship partners and advertisers etc? Or, conversely is this a situation where the guys over at Teachers said, if you want Colangelo to stick around, then he has to hire a GM to work under him?

I don’t know the answer. We may never know the answer. That to me is the most intriguing part of the story.

Tomorrow is a new day and the start of a new week. Let’s see where it goes.


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