Has Stephen Brunt Flown The Globe & Mail Coop?

Back on the laptop for a Sunday afternoon. However I am heading back to Seattle tonight for a short 2 day trip.

Here’s the big news I have for you for an awesome Sunday afternoon in Toronto. Numerous sources are telling me this hour that Stephen Brunt, arguably one of the most respected sports columnists in the country will be forgoing his writing career at the Globe and Mail for a full time role with Rogers.

Here is Brunt’s bio from the G&M:

“Hamilton-born Stephen Brunt started at The Globe as an arts intern in 1982, after attending journalism school at the University of Western Ontario. He then worked in news, covering the 1984 election, and began to write for the sports section in 1985. His 1988 series on negligence and corruption in boxing won him the Michener award for public service journalism. In 1989, he became a sports columnist.

Nominated for several National Newspaper Awards, Brunt is also the author of seven books: including Facing Ali, which in addition to Canada was published in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and Norway, and was named one of the ten best sports books of the year by Sports Illustrated. His book Searching For Bobby Orr was a number one national bestseller and Gretzky’s Tears, a look at the trade that changed hockey, was published in the fall of 2009. ”

Brunt’s rumoured departure from the Globe follows that of other Globe and Mail sports writers, Michael Grange most recently. However, there is no question that Brunt was the face of the Globe sports department at least to those of us who read it. I wonder what Jeff Blair is thinking these days.

I am told the fact that Brunt will take on a more permanent role at Rogers is apparently a given. What’s not clear is if he is fully 100% giving up writing at the Globe. One source told me that they think he may still write for the paper perhaps as often as once per week. I haven’t been able to confirm that, but I’m thinking if he’s leaving, he’s leaving for good.

I am not entirely sure what Brunt will be doing full time for Rogers should he fully bolt the Globe, but one can expect his PTS role to continue as well as I would expect him to be writing for the new Sportsnet Magazine. The writing part, I would imagine, is contingent on him leaving the Globe. If he fully leaves, I’m sure he’s free to write for Sportnet.ca and the magazine. It gets interesting if he stays at the Globe in any capacity.

Any reduction in Brunt’s role can’t be good for the Globe. David Naylor, Tim Wharnsby and Grange have left a big hole at the Globe (is it time for a future of newspaper sports writers column?). I wouldn’t go so far as calling this a potential death blow but wow, it’s a tough loss.


Update: I’m told Brunt will write a column per week for the Globe and Mail but officially be a Rogers staffer and will be writing for both the magazine and Sportsnet.com

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Bob Roper
Bob Roper
September 25, 2011 3:20 pm

You wonder what Jeff Balir is thinking these days? I wonder what the rocket scientists at Rogers are thinking allowing him to keep his shop. He can’t complete a full sentence without stopping in mid stream. He thinks faster than he speaks. The worst comes when Michael Grange is on with him as Grange is worse than Blair. As broadcasters, they are great journalists. Doesn’t The Fan’s PD listen to their shows?

September 25, 2011 3:23 pm

Bob – I imagine Rogers is thinking his ratings are a noted improvement over what was in that slot before (you can see them on this site) and that’s why they allow him to keep shop.

September 25, 2011 3:26 pm

That is stunning news about Brunt, as he is the premier sports journalist in the country (maybe Arthur is giving him a run for his money), and really has been the face of the Globe sports department for … well as long as I can remember. It would almost be like hearing McCown is leaving The Fan.

Credit to Rogers if it’s true. Brunt is an excellent journalist, and also handles himself well on air.

Rogers has really been investing in its sports media properties lately. Surely persuading Brunt to leave the Globe couldn’t have been cheap.

September 25, 2011 3:30 pm

Big fan of Brunt… major loss for the Globe…this can be seen that Rogers is making sure thier magazine will have a good start with thier stable of writers they have signed over the past months…but time will only tell..when Brunt is on his game with Bob on PTS there is no better interviewer than these two…

September 25, 2011 4:09 pm

If indeed true this is a HUGE loss for the sinking Globe & Mail Sports department. So lets see over the past few years they have lost David Naylor to TSN, Tim Wharnsby to CBC Sports, William Houston to a buyout, and now Brunt to Rogers. And they’ve replaced them with Bruce Dowbiggin and Roy MacGregor… I dont know doesnt really seem like a good trade off.

Lee (Oakville)
September 25, 2011 4:41 pm

Stunning news…he is by far the best Canadian sportswriter. Here’s hoping he becomes full-time co-host at PTS, resulting in the marginalization of far-lesser “talents” like Cox and Shannon.

Steve from Waterloo
Steve from Waterloo
September 25, 2011 4:51 pm

Sell your stocks in the print media. Another departure, a significant departure from the newspaper industry.

I just paid for my annual subscription for daily delivery. This news, along with all the other departures in the sports section, will make think twice next time.

At least we still have the highly respected, always anticipated Dowbiggin (sp?) column. (said with much sarcasm)

September 25, 2011 4:52 pm

Off-topic, but Steve Simmons retardedly opines in his Sunday column that Mike Modano is only the 5th-best U.S. born player in league history. As usual he offers no statistical backing…kind of like when poopooed ‘new fangled’ baseball stats such as OPS because he goes to his dad to find out who the best players are/were.

Chris F.
Chris F.
September 25, 2011 6:07 pm

yeah they might as well kill the sports department at the Globe and Mail. I wonder if among new duties for Brunt in his expanded role is to do more commentary on soccer? I think it’d be a good move for Rogers that way. Obviously Brunt will be the main draw for the magazine as well.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)
September 25, 2011 9:08 pm

this is a bit of a quandary:

on the one hand, print media is dying and top writers are being wooed away from newspapers.

on the other hand, Rogers is trying to get a stable of writers for their new print magazine.

we’ll see how much appetite people have for long form journalism about hockey and Canadian Olympic athletes. i’m skeptical.

Another Steve
Another Steve
September 25, 2011 10:20 pm

Well, I just signed up for the magazine. We’ll see…..

September 25, 2011 11:31 pm

This is a win-win situation for Brunt. He has the opportunity to develop more face time and airtime at Rogers – for which he is very good at – and keep a writing gig at both the Rogers sports magazine as well as the Globe.

My guess is he feels this frees him up for more of his own writing. Clearly, he enjoys writing books as I’m told that he is branching out from just the sports-oriented topics.

Rumour has it that he is working on a bio on the band Rush.

Good for him. He is one of the best.

Chef Mike in Burlington
September 25, 2011 11:33 pm

Hey Daniel , remember Blair hasn’t had a book against Dan Patrick yet and with his Jays only expertise irrelavant now, he’ll have to prove his range, something I don’t know if he has.

Iff they groom brunt to take over PTS in a few years, that is something I would listen too, I think his problem will be that’s he’s too in-depth at times and that will be a problem to the call in crowd the Fan covets so much. They want to know why the 4th line centre missed a pass, not why fighting has no place in the modern game anymore and inconsistent disipline in the NHL.

September 26, 2011 12:01 am

Chef Mike – maybe! I dunno. I was just pointing out that the answer to the question ‘why does The Fan keep him on the air’ is probably that he has better ratings than what was there before. As to him vs Dan Patrick – Blair might be less strong with baseball over, but Dan Patrick isn’t going to talk a lot of Leafs on his show (or much NHL at all, I’d imagine), so there must be some listeners tuning out there as well. Right now TSN isn’t coming close to The Fan anywhere (except for Krystal vs Patrick), so we’ll see what happens when TSN gets it together.

I can’t imagine they’d groom Brunt to take over the host’s chair. His in-depthness hasn’t been a problem for the show so far!

Mike in Boston – I agree. What a weird time to launch a magazine. On the other hand, they’d made some great hires. I would have thought they’d try something like a paid online magazine/App. We’ll see!

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
September 26, 2011 12:09 am

lol nice move by Rogers but this Magazine will still flop and Sportsnet will be always 2nd to TSN.

and when the NHL contract comes up TSN and CBC will team up for the rights.

so keep hiring Rogers your still gonna have a second rate sports division

Chef Mike in Burlington
September 26, 2011 12:15 am

Agreed, excellent points, my counter is simply that TSN has only 6 months in market and the next book will be very interesting. I might be wrong, but I expect hits on Fan shows, Blair especially so.

Brunts depth serves him well in monologe formats like PTS, but might be an issue on the call in side they seem to like. Im not a huge Leafs-Jays fan, thus why I enjoy his wider perspective, I just hope they don’t him into another “homer” like the rest of them.

I liked Bobs idea on Friday of changing the names on the back of the Jays new jersey to “next year”, it seems appropriate…again…

Chris F.
Chris F.
September 26, 2011 12:44 am

RE: Brunt and PTS. Prime Time has ALWAYS been more of an in depth show that eschews call in driven programming. It’s a unique show in a sea of call in oriented programming on the FAN. It would be stupid of TPTB to change the format around too much regardless of who takes over for Bob when the time comes (I hope it’s Brunt)

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
September 26, 2011 1:33 am

just wondering can anyone else see this new Bell – CBC consortium end up running CBC sports division? thus privatising thier sports division and CBC would be able to keep the HNIC brand alive

September 26, 2011 6:24 am

I doubt Brunt would ever be the host. He’s mentioned its in his contract thar he NEVER be the host when Bob is away.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
September 26, 2011 9:35 am

If indeed Brunt only writing 1 article per week for Globe that is a big loss for them.

This is interesting news, in that just recently the Team990 in Montreal just confirmed that they have completed a deal where Brunt appears daily at approx. 4:30pm on the Melnick show. Team990 is a complete Bell owned product, and while I understand the TSN1050 vs Fan590 is a Toronto airwaves battle, why allow your new Fulltime product to help the competition in other markets? Or will this now change his status on Team 990. I will make sure to listen to Brunt today on Team990 and see if any nuggest revealed.

Gerry (Burlington)
Gerry (Burlington)
September 26, 2011 4:50 pm

So Brunt just announced on Team990 he will be the backpage columnist for the new Sportsnet Magazine.

September 26, 2011 5:01 pm

latest tweet from Bobcat:

Brunt quits Globe to join Sportsnet/ Fan 590 fulltime!

September 26, 2011 5:02 pm

I think this Sportsnet Magazine is such a stupid idea. Talk about being 6 years too late. Its like if my financial advisor now game me the option to send me daily stock quotes through a fax machine.

Another Steve
Another Steve
September 26, 2011 5:27 pm


The nice thing about a magazine is that if you write that someone “game you the option” then you can have an editor correct your typo before you have a chance to spit it out.

I think it’s interesting to hear some of the negative comments here for a magazine that hasn’t even been released yet. Why are people upset about a magazine about sports, especially in a web-site that talks about sports media?

By all means, don’t buy the magazine, if that’s your thing. I, on the other hand, look forward to reading good journalism from good writers. I do hope this turns out well. If not, then there’s always twitter and free web-sites for illiterate drivel. For my part, I don’t mind shelling out some money for quality. Of course, if I am paying for it then I will feel as if I will also have the right to criticize it.

Chef Mike in Burlington
September 26, 2011 6:55 pm

Good scoop on Brunt TSM, well done…

As for the magazine, we’ll see, but it sounds very 1996 to me. I’m an ESPN Insider and get their magazine as part of my package, and even that only gets read 2-3 times and then gets blue boxed, and that’s ESPN…

Maybe they can do it, and depending on their writers and content, it might be relavant, but even Bob acknowledged that it would be a tiny part of the Rogers family. I am cynical of most things Rogers anyway and I suspect it will be little more than another schill vehicle for Rogers properties and personalities, which from their end makes total sense anyway.

The first 4 are free apparently, so I’ll check them out, but considering my indifference to the Jays and Leafs, I doubt it will have much traction with me, especially since they expect me to pay real money for it.

September 26, 2011 7:37 pm

Good point Another Steve,

It’s not like the magazine is a money grab. Or something Rogers customers are forced to buy. The idea of a sports magazine is cool, even if we’re skeptical of its viability. And yeah, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

I got a letter in the mail saying it’s $2 an issue for Rogers customers so about $24 for a year. I’m considering it. That’s pretty cheap.

October 19, 2011 7:52 am

The worst comes when Michael Grange is on with him as Grange is worse than Blair. As broadcasters, they are great journalists. Doesn’t The Fan’s PD listen to their shows.For more information about this website visit this toronto mail

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