Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

Seen & Heard – Weekend Edition

by mike in boston [hatemailaccount -a.t.- gmail -dot-com]

I’ve been out sick all week so I don’t have much on my mind this morning. If you have read or listened to anything good (or bad), post in the comments.

Big Week for Sports & Social Issues

 

I write a lot about the crossover between sports and the rest of society, be that the world of education, business, ethics, health, law, or politics. Bell is a corporate machine, but their Let’s Talk initiative makes them significantly less soulless. The need to de-stigmatize mental health is pressing and it is not going to happen without movements like this. I largely find Twitter to be waste of time but it was great to watch people share their stories. Mental illness is just that: an illness. As a society we could be doing so much more to support people suffering from that illness. Nice work Bell.

 

The other big story was You Can Play teaming up with Grantland to publish a view from inside Sochi on how LGBT(etc) issues were being treated. This is controversial because of Russia’s anti-gay laws and policies, but also because Grantland has recently been an object of legitimate ire from the LGBT(etc) community. You can read more about that controversy here. YCP will hopefully be able to keep the world’s attention on Russia’s 19th century policies with respect to human equality.

 

Here’s a question: between the IOC and FIFA, who wastes more opportunities to do good in the world with the platform they have? Of course neither organization exists to foster greater equality, but both organizations pay lip service to having their host cities meet minimal standards of human rights. My hope is that the Sochi experience will make these organizations strengthen those commitments. But I’m not holding my breath.

 

JaysTalk

 

Time is winding down on this off-season. The annual State of the Franchise is a yearly marker of the transition towards spring training and the quest for the playoffs. Last year’s event provided unprecedented optimism which was quickly followed by a disastrous season on the field. Among Jays followers, some view last year as unlucky, while others view it as indicative of strategic failure by AA.

 

Objective analysis of this year’s event was hard to find, but both Griffin and Lott were up to the task. The mantra last year was that this was a team that was built to compete for several years. The evidence from this off-season undermines that commitment. The Jays have clear needs and there are expensive free agents at those positions. There is still time to improve the team, but the window is closing.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens if this team struggles out of the gate, since both AA and Gibbons bear a similar “protegé” status to their boss. Here’s a thought experiment: if MLSE bought the Jays tomorrow and Tim Leiweke were in charge of running things, what would change? I bet we’d be talking about grass in the Dome sooner than 2018. We would probably be having more of a conversation about changes at the GM and manager spots.

 

NFL ready to cash in on Thursdays

 

As I wrote about a while back I just don’t understand Gary Bettman’s strategy of going all-in with Rogers for national NHL rights. The NFL spreads its content out over several networks, and is about to spread its reach a little further with the Thursday night package it has developed over the last 5 years. Exclusivity is bad for the consumer. We all know that. But there’s also a concern that exclusivity is bad for the growth of the game. Now, that concern seems a little silly in hockey-mad Canada, but it’s worth remembering that the NFL overtook MLB as the “national pastime” over the course of 25 years or so. Killing HNIC might be a move the NHL comes to regret.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

  • I got around to listening to Bob McCown’s routable with the MLSE GMs + Leiweke. It was definitely better than the last time Bob tried this, but still pretty stiff for my tastes. It’s just not easy for people to speak freely when their boss is sitting right there, and Leiweke more or less dominated the discussion. One interesting consequence is that Bob was clearly trying very hard to get the others out of their shells. Bob usually makes most interviews about himself, so this brought out a different side. You could hear the years of experience in interviewing coming out in his line of questioning.

 

  • Naylor is at the Superbowl and in “radio row”, which means endless interviews with both major and minor celebrities pitching new shows/movies/products. Not my cup of tea …

 

until next time …

thanks for reading and keeping the discussion going

mike in boston

 

 

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 21
  • comment-avatar

    Interesting point on the blue jays and if mlse owned them. I wonder how much of their inactivity is due to lack of funds which would be lack of faith in AA/Beeston. Last year proved that when the fans are inspired they will buy tickets.

    What’s more astounding to me is how most (not all) of those who cover the jays have their AA Pom poms on. If the leafs had no cap restraints and spent like AA did last year and bombed like the jays did- Burke, nonis, JFj, fletcher would be run out of town……still the media are fairly positive about the team and AA. They note the fan unrest and perhaps what may happen if they shit the bed again this season….. Certainly not much in the hard hitting department

    Jonah

  • comment-avatar
    mario 4 years

    Any one have any thoughts on the new deal TSN signed with the Ottawa senators and taking away from Rogers? My thoughts on this is with the amount of money Rogers paid for the national rights this might be about right as stupid as it was.Now I have no idea what the last deal Rogers paid but I am sure it
    was quite a bump dollar wise and how more
    will this cost in future deals?

  • comment-avatar
    mario 4 years

    I believe read some were the new deal signed by TSN was 10 year 400 million if this was correct?

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 4 years

    Reportedly $400M for 12 years, not 10. Same length as the national deal. A reporter in the Ottawa Sun says the old Sportnet deal was worth about $6.5M/year so this is a 5x increase. Since this was the last NHL rights coming due for a while (apart from the Leafs which we know will be split 50/50), Bell got desperate and overpaid IMO.

    “But there’s also a concern that exclusivity is bad for the growth of the game.”
    Is there any evidence that supports this concern though? The NHL went with an exclusive deal with NBC when they were practically on the TV deathbed in America and 8 years later it’s arguably at the best point in the league’s history. Exclusivity with the CFL on TSN and Blue Jays/MLB on Sportsnet haven’t seemed to hurt either brand’s growth; both have higher ratings than before the deals.

    When grass goes into the dome depends entirely on the Argos’ situation, so I guess in a roundabout way it’s increasingly looking like it will be Tim Leiweke’s decision if it’s in before 2018.

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 4 years

    Who knows how it turns out, but right now I’d love to see Leiweke at the Jays’ helm. I like his big ideas/risk taking attitude.

    It’s been such a weird offseason. Jiminez, Santana, Burnett, Arroyo are still out there. There have been very, very few trades. I don’t think it’s a cop out to wait until the season starts before drawing any conclusions about the team. If they don’t do anything, I’d be annoyed. But I find it hard to believe they wont snag one of Jiminez or Santana.

    TSM – as the payroll sits currently it’s at about 135 million. The rumours we heard all year was that the 2014 payroll would be around 150. Not really that far off. If they add another significant guy, it will get there. Kind of tough to be sitting at a 135 mil payroll and complain too much about budget constraints. Prior to last year I would have agreed with you.

    “What’s more astounding to me is how most (not all) of those who cover the jays have their AA Pom poms on. If the leafs had no cap restraints and spent like AA did last year and bombed like the jays did- Burke, nonis, JFj, fletcher would be run out of town……still the media are fairly positive about the team and AA. They note the fan unrest and perhaps what may happen if they shit the bed again this season….. Certainly not much in the hard hitting department”

    I’ve read this opinion from you on this a few times. Most if not all of the TO media has AA pom poms on? Really? How about Zaun, Brady, McCown, Blair, Griffin, Lott, Elliot and literally all the TSN guys? They’ve ALL been fairly critical. Wilner is constantly ‘looking on the bright side’, but beyond him I’m not sure who’s such a massive homer.

    As for the Leafs, Burke’s first two years were disasters and I wouldn’t say he was ‘run out of town’ by the media at all.

  • comment-avatar
    Daniel 4 years

    * And by ‘critical of AA’, I mean thoughtful, deserved criticism. But not over the top reactionary BS (ie Jaystalk callers etc)

  • comment-avatar
    Alex 4 years

    Naylor had some good segments amongst the plugging jocks. deitsch (in person) was good, not surprisingly.

    Roundtable w Cox, Shannon, Blair? Worst possible combination? For me, cox, shannon, sid would be the worst. Or maybe cox, shannon, neil smith.

    The TFC is now safe on Prime Time, once Bob found out he was from Columbus.

  • comment-avatar
    Alex 4 years

    I posed question on twitter about you can play working w grantland. Patrick burke. Answered:

    @BurkieYCP: Addressed here http://t.co/6s4bbNmboY

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 4 years

    I think the best thing would actually be for MLSE to also step in and buy the Raptors. They own every sports franchise in this city already (most recently the Argonauts). It’s painfully obvious that Rogers isn’t interested in investing properly into the franchise + for all the faults that MLSE have (particularly in running the Maple Leafs), they are always willing to spend and with Rogers – I just don’t see it from them..

  • comment-avatar
    steveY 4 years

    Darrell…. MLSE already owns the raptors, get your head out of Brooke Pashley’s ass.

  • comment-avatar
    Darrell 4 years

    Sorry I meant the Blue Jays MLSE should buy. Sorry I can’t be so cool to be a 5 year old making a comment to someone whom he’s never met. I wish I could be so cool as SteveY but I am sorry I just can’t match up.

  • comment-avatar
    Chris 4 years

    Re: NFL Cashing in on Thursday Night Package

    I honestly don’t believe they’ll cash in as much as they may expect to, for a few reasons.

    1. Reportedly, the NFL would like to see the Thursday Night package of games to a network like TNT or Fox Sports 1. However, they still want the Thursday game package to air on NFL Network. I don’t see how a network could possibly pay what the NFL will want for that package, and generate enough ad dollars to support it. Why would any company pay top dollar to advertise during those games, when it’s possible half the audience will be watching it on another network where their commercials won’t be aired?

    2. The line-up of Thursday Night games usually stink. Never mind the fact that the match ups usually suck – you can schedule more attractive games on Thursday, and the games will still blow. Teams playing on only 3 days rest (only 2 days of practice) generally don’t play very crisp.

    It’s the NFL, so someone will buy it – I just don’t think it’ll be for as much money as they think they’ll get for it.

    As for the argument of the NFL splitting the packages up amongst multiple networks, and the NHL doing it exclusively with only one – it’s really an apple and oranges kind of deal. The leagues are two completely different beasts. The NFL splits those up because they can maximize their revenue by doing so. By the same token, the NHL was able to maximize it’s top dollar in the Canadian TV deal BY offering exclusivity.

  • comment-avatar
    Chris 4 years

    “What’s more astounding to me is how most (not all) of those who cover the jays have their AA Pom poms on.”

    You and I must read, and listen, to completely different things. If you take Wilner, Howarth, and to some extent, Buck Martinez out of the mix, I can’t name anybody who covers them who have been giving AA a pass. Perhaps you could name some?

    If the Jays don’t get out to a fast start this season, there will be calls for his head on a platter by the end of May.

  • comment-avatar
    Dan 4 years

    Does anyone else find the body font on the new design a little hard to read due to its thinness/lightness?

  • comment-avatar
    lister 4 years

    Re: Dan

    Yeah I’m not a big fan of the body font too.

  • comment-avatar
    Raptors Devotee 4 years

    Dan, I agree with you, not an easy read with the font, and I have to strain my eyes to read it. To compensate I enlarge the font on my mac and it makes it more manageable.

  • comment-avatar
    Mike V 4 years

    Who says you need a competitive game to get viewers?
    “Super Bowl XLVIII ON FOX IS MOST-WATCHED
    TELEVISION SHOW IN U.S. HISTORY
    111.5 Million Viewers Watch on Average;
    New Record Surpasses 111.3 for Super Bowl XLVI”

    “CTV Communications‏@CTV_PR•2 hrs
    @SuperBowl on CTV grows from last year to become 2nd most-watched ever in Canada; @MasterChefCDA is series-high audience. Details to follow.”

  • comment-avatar

    Ratings were high because of Bruno Mars! Best halftime show EVER!!

  • comment-avatar
    saminoshawa 4 years

    Agree JVH. Mars was great and the Peppers mindblowing…

  • comment-avatar

    Just think how good the RHCP would have been if they had their gear plugged in!!…all faked…

  • comment-avatar

    “Most if not all of the TO media has AA pom poms on? Really? How about Zaun, Brady, McCown, Blair, Griffin, Lott, Elliot and literally all the TSN guys? They’ve ALL been fairly critical”

    McCown hasn’t been very critical of the Jays since Rogers increased the payroll last winter………..he has said several times recently that he would be comfortable heading into the season with the current starting pitching because of the quantity of options they have right now