Could The Globe & Mail Farm Out Its Sports Section


Happy hump day.

We will have a couple of new writers joining us from the College of Sports Media over the next week or so. Please be kind 🙂

So, I’ve been hearing drumbeats for several weeks that things could be getting interesting at the Globe and Mail as it relates to their sports section. Then, last week news broke that David Walmsley was rejoining the paper as editor in chief. Last nightI was hearing more and more that things could be happening with the sports section, to be clear not one source implied that anything was imminent nor were any dates given to me.

So here are the things that I’ve heard from multiple sources that are being considered:

First, the section could be dramatically downsized, the number everyone keeps suggesting is 2 pages.
Second, that Shawna Richer, Sports Editor could be taking on a writing role as opposed to an editorial role.
Third that idea of farming out the sports section entirely to say Rogers or TSN has been at least contemplated.

Now, I will say this, I learned late last night the Walmsley, the new Editor in Chief is a fan of the sports section and that indeed there is a larger meeting at the Globe today, which could be the reason that there has been so much chatter leading up to today. That isn’t to suggest that anything is going to happen soon or be announced at the meeting today. All I am telling you is that lots of tongues are wagging and they are, for the most part telling me the same thing. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. It certainly will be interesting to see where this goes.

It wasn’t all that long ago that the Globe Sports section had some of the more respected writers (like them or not) on their roster including, Stephen Brunt, Jeff Blair, Eric Duhatschek, James Mirtle, David Shoalts, Alan Maki, Michael Grange, William Houston, Tim Wharnsby, Matt Sekeres to name but a few. Who of that list is left? Eric Duhatschek, James Mirtle and David Shoalts with the odd column remaining from Roy MacGregor. (apologies if I left anyone off

What a difference a few months make.


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mike (in boston)
March 26, 2014 9:17 am

Upside of partnering with TSN or Rogers: brings talented writers like Brunt and Grange back from oblivion

Downside: sports journalists with deep corporate allegiances

The downside outweighs the upside for me. The Globe has shown that it has an eye for talent. Further, the Globe has the most credibility among the major papers. I would rather they make some good young hires while casting off some of the dead weight. Try running a lean sports department that writes stories that other outlets don’t.

More ideas:

– bring back the media criticism column
– have an advanced stats blog
– find a way to integrate Twitter and blog responses to their stories into the comments section.

March 26, 2014 10:00 am

Why bother publishing a Sports page/section at all then? I’d imagine very few people would be interested in reading the same recycled content they’ve already seen after checking their favourite smart phone sports app for recaps. Spinning any “upside” to this is a farce.

Steve in Waterloo
Steve in Waterloo
March 26, 2014 10:25 am

I have left two messages with the Editor of The Globe over the past few months, sharing my displeasure, as a subscriber, with the dwindling content of the Sports section.

Of course, no response.
I read the paper edition every day, and have subscribed for the past 5 years or so.
The content has dwindled over the past 2 years. The Sports section seems to be 80% “off the wire” and a bit of home content.

It really has been disappointing.
I can’t subscribe to a newspaper that does not have a Sports section.

March 26, 2014 12:00 pm

Sadly, we’ve seen this manoeuvre before. I remember when the Globe decimated its sports section years ago, only to later rebuild with good, solid journalists like Maki, Blair, Grange and McLeod. Next time, though, there will not be a comeback.

As MIB suggests, what the Globe must always do is invest in the type of journalism that others do not. The Globe could never keep up to the “news” … even before the Internet … but what can set it apart is in-depth analysis and off-the-beaten-track stories. And, mercy, please no more of MacGregor’s sanctimonious, cliched, incredibly predictable columns. Any day now we’re in for the annual “the NHL is conspiring against Canada” column.

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
March 26, 2014 7:35 pm

TSN will probably end up taking over the Globe’s sports division since Bell still has a small connect to the Thompson family owned Globe and Mail. Plus it would give the TSN hockey division something to do since Rogers now has the NHL rights.

March 27, 2014 9:18 pm

This is unsurprising given the direction sports sections are headed. I scour all 4 Toronto dailies every single day, plus a few other international papers. 95% of what I read falls under news or opinion. Sports sections nowadays are simply inferior to what can be found online. Sites with professional writers such as Sportsnet, ESPN, and especially Grantland offer much better content. There’s also hoards of talented amateur bloggers out there who far outperform these paid hacks at newspapers. Newspapers either have to significantly up their game to equal what can be found online or people will have no reason to read sports sections anymore (not to mention the cost factor).

Lee (Oakville)
Lee (Oakville)
March 28, 2014 9:04 am

I tend to agree that the Globe’s strategy is inevitable given the amount of quality competition offered on different platforms. I haven’t bought a newspaper in years, and when I read the online versions I am always disappointed by the lack of quality writing and analysis in the sports section. Grantland, MMQB, just to name two, offer excellent analysis and long-form journalism that is now unheard of in traditional Canadian newspaper sports sections. This doesn’t include the multitude of websites (including this one) that offer specialized information and an active forum for readers to contribute opinions. The irrelevance of the traditional newspaper sports section is, in my mind, already with us.

Bob Canuck
Bob Canuck
March 31, 2014 8:31 pm


Any update? I have not read of any changes at the Globe & Mail subsequent to the meeting you wrote about.


ted johnson
ted johnson
April 1, 2014 9:45 pm

Regarding your story about the Globe and Mail sports dept., here’s what Frank Magazine had to say this week:

Once again, the basement dwelling elf lords who cobble together the Toronto Sports Media blog are being economical with the actualite. That’s the way it goes when you don’t have sources—you have to make up shit.

Their most recent whoppers concerned the Globe sports pages, which the bloggers claimed would soon be reduced to two pages, that sports editor Shawna Richer would get punted and/or the entire section could be farmed out to Rogers or TSN.

Sorry, lads, there was never any intent to deep six sports. Indeed, Crawley/Walmsley have repeated their commitment to sports by restoring some of the travel budget, (Roy Macgregor is off to the Masters this week, John Doyle will do the World Cup, the hockey hacks will even cover some of the Stanley Cup playoffs.)

Most importantly, however, management signaled its intentions by advertising Mar. 28 for a Toronto sports columnist, which read, in part:

“The sports department has an opening for a general columnist, based in Toronto. The successful candidate will have an excellent and wide ranging perspective honed by years of experience in the daily sports environment, an extensive knowledge of core sports and sports business (hockey, baseball, football, basketball, soccer and Olympic disciplines), and an interest and proven ability to report and break stories across the various leagues.”

Bloggers need not apply.

Ami Angelwings
April 2, 2014 3:37 am

GreyCountyMike said “As MIB suggests, what the Globe must always do is invest in the type of journalism that others do not. The Globe could never keep up to the “news” … even before the Internet … but what can set it apart is in-depth analysis and off-the-beaten-track stories.”

This is what I keep wishing newspapers would do instead of trying to out internet the internet. I don’t need to know about the latest viral video, or who’s saying what to who on Twitter, or what’s the hottest meme. I can get movie reviews, recipes, etc online too. But I can’t get knowledgeable analysis, real investigative journalism, actual stories that don’t do “he said/she said” reporting but check out the sides and tell us what’s true and what’s not, etc… that’s what I want more of.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x