Sports Media Layoffs Continue

By TSM

A scribe texted me late last week :

“Are you hearing anything more about layoffs at SN?”

“No”, I replied, as I really had not heard anything.

To be honest, after the last round of axe swinging by the Canadian media companies I hadn’t heard or even thought of inquiring about more layoffs.

So you can imagine my surprise this morning when my phone started buzzing out of control with multiple sources telling me that indeed the ghost of layoffs past was back in Canada.

Yes, sports fans, Rogers has once again cut heads.  On the talent side:

Hugh Burrill

 

Jamie Thomas and James Cybulski were all let go.

At the same time, Caroline Cameron, Cybulski’s on air partner will be moving back to Toronto to resume her SN duties.

Behind the camera, a disaster.  SN has pretty much eliminated the Vancouver office.  I don’t have the names of all those who were let go but I am told it’s too many. Producers, editors etc all out of jobs.

Sad.

Why have we arrived where we are?

It’s a topic for a much broader piece I am working on, but for now let’s look at a few facts.

By no fault of their own, since Rogers took over the NHL broadcasts the ratings have plummeted.  Everyone looked at last year as a one year thing but things are looking worse this year and with all 7 Canadian teams likely on the outside of the playoff picture it’s hard to imagine things improving any time soon.

So with a massive investment in hockey and ratings in the toilet what’s a network to do?

Couple that with substantial leadership changes at Rogers, literally from the top on down and well, here we are.

Lastly, audience viewing habits have changed and continue to change casting a further cloud on the future prospects. It’s hard to imagine that many at Sportsnet will be sleeping comfortably over the next couple of months.

How bad is it?

Well consider that Calgary Flames games dipped to sub 100k household numbers I’m told.  The Vancouver Canucks are in the 300k and under range.  Toronto?  The numbers are beyond weak. Leafs vs. Minnesota brought in 379k, that’s not a good sign.

HNIC? Well the first games should be around 2 million.  Now? barely hitting the 1 million mark.

Again, I don’t think this has much to do with Sportsnet or the product they are creating.

The buds on TSN last week pulled in around  500k.

I tweeted how brutal the trade deadline numbers were last week, the lower of the 2 stations pulled in 79k.

Here’s my conclusion, Bettman Inc. has been solely focused on the health of and potential to grow the game in the USA that the audience has started to fizzle in Canada. They’ve taken their eye off the puck.

With all seven Canadian teams in rebuild mode the future is bleak.

It’s why I disagree with Gary Lawless’s comment that the NHL needs this year’s touted first overall pick to land in AZ and not in Toronto.

The league had better hope that some of the Canadian markets improve and fast.  The best bet here is for the Leafs to land the top overall pick and therefore for Austin Matthews to land in Toronto. Markets like AZ are what they are. The sport needs a healthy audience in Toronto.

Here in Toronto you can barely give tickets away, let alone sell them for face value. There is next to no demand for tickets and while the ACC is sold out for the games the stadium is far from full on any given night.

What am I hearing?  I hear that the debate between Rogers and the league have gotten interesting as it relates to Rogers obligations this coming playoff season.  With no playoff teams from Canada, Rogers would like to keep costs to a minimum.  The league as you can imagine, I am told is having none of that. Costs are clearly being managed at Ted’s house and as always is the case the worker bees are ones to suffer.  I can’t imagine what happens should the Blue Jays fall out of the gate and the avg attendance at the Dome returns to the 15-20k per game range.

It’s almost radio ratings time.  While it is not the Spring book it’s the next big book to arrive and well I think for those who’ve held their jobs it could be a watermark grade.

I’m told that Tim and Sid’s TV numbers are awful.  I don’t get it because the show is what the show is.  It’s not new, it’s their old schtick and people seem to love that before.  Why it’s flailing now I don’t get.  I’ll be honest, I don’t watch it mainly because I am not near a tv when it’s on.

Bryan Hayes has been away from Overdrive and the show has suffered. TSN needs some bench strength.

Bell is looking to fill the Jonas Leafs beat guy role.  Why?  Tony Ambrogio is around and more than capable.

Hmmmmmm, words to keep in mind in the world of sports media in this town, something old something new something borrowed something blue.

Speaking of blue, did you hear the one about the new MLSE boss? Yeah, no one has.  Not a word has been said.

Naylor and Landsberg is the name of the show.  Sounds a lot more like Landsberg featuring Naylor, amongst others to me.

It’s time to rename Mike and Mike over at the world wide leader; how about The NFL daily morning show.  We talk only hockey in this country, Mike and Mike?  All NFL, all the time.  I don’t mind it but it’s interesting to see where things have gone.  Too bad no one talks NBA, I hear there’s some interesting things going on.

Funniest story I’ve heard from an MSM since we started this website I heard this week:  long time MSMer made their debut on radio a little while back.  A few weeks in to the show, the MSMer got called into the principals office for a review.

“Why don’t you do more of this, and less of that? Have you thought about this or that”

The grilling went.

The MSMer walked out quite stunned.  Not because of the harsh comments.

“The comments were almost verbatim from your website (written and comments)” I was told this week!

 

TSM

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Darrell
Darrell
March 9, 2016 10:43 pm

My dream for the past few years is that Tim + Sid get moved into the morning slot at the FAN. They are funny and would make a great morning show duo.

The phony clapping after each and every Sportsnet analyst gets boring with George Rusic + Dean Blundell.

Blundell + Rusic are just boring to listen to! Tim + Sid in the morning would be FANTASTIC!

Pants Go Brown
Pants Go Brown
March 9, 2016 11:04 pm

Remember when Scott Moore claimed the problem was with wonky audience research?

Huh, wondering how that’s all going now.

Jay
Jay
March 9, 2016 11:06 pm

Tim and Sid have poor numbers because they try and be too much like Jim Rome.

Also you need to proofread a bit.

Rob J
Rob J
March 9, 2016 11:16 pm

No chance Shanahan’s media bosses let this crap-fest continue for 5 or so more years as ratings disappear. He’ll be forced to accelerate the rebuild. Ironic and sad that all the Leaf-fans at Sportsnet who cheered the looooong rebuild are now its victims.

Jeff
Jeff
March 9, 2016 11:16 pm

I am surprised Tim and Sid’s ratings are low, one of the few programs I actually try to watch live – more so because they talk about more than just hockey, I will admit Sid’s schtick is wearing on me, used to really like those guys back in the podcast days

Matt
Matt
March 9, 2016 11:22 pm

They aren’t like Rome at all.

Dan
March 9, 2016 11:23 pm

It seems concerning just at an economic level that, that a sports television station such as Rogers SportsNet, with the commodity that is Live TV & Sports, is cutting costs. Not cool.

While keeping Caroline Cameron was a good move, disappointed they cut Cybulski, who has good chemistry with anyone he has worked with. Unlike Ken Reid, how did that guy not get cut from the team.

& I think Tim And Sid have bad numbers simply because of that odd timeslot, 5-7 PM. Late digesting last night’s action, yet quickly setting the table for the night’s events. And speaking of Tim And Sid, is FOX Sports trying to flip the failed FOX Sports Live into “Jay And Dan”, aka American Version of Tim And Sid?

Matt Cee
Matt Cee
March 9, 2016 11:28 pm

When will the network giants realize that consumers are being turned off by having to pay for premium channels to watch the games that they used to pay with regular cable? And when you have mediocre product to show, who would want to pay extra for that garbage?

TheDoktor
TheDoktor
March 9, 2016 11:34 pm

Simply said, substance over flash. PTS has been doing it for so long now you’d think they’d figure it out. Tim & Sid have made the mistake of being too available – why watch the show when you can pick it up later via just about every social media thread you can think of? Giving away stuff for free is a horrible business plan. And TV in the drive home slot? Sorry, people are driving home, a visuals oriented/focused broadcast doesn’t work, but radio does.

Chris
Chris
March 9, 2016 11:59 pm

I used to listen to Tim and Sid religiously as someone who works outside and drives a lot. I would literally arrange my route to be able to listen to their 25 minute segments between stops. Now that they are on tv that is no longer possible. Tv is dieing, as long as we have cars we will have radio to listen to. Love the morning show idea for Tim and sid. They can cover any topic/sport with expertise.

Also listened to blundell religiously on the edge and loved it. The same boring segments every morning about which line bozak should play on are exhausting… I think he’s bored and unfortunately it is showing, pretty sure he will be back doing podcasts again. One of the best segments they did was “real or fake English soccer team names” it could have been hilarious but rusic screwed it up. Also a Habs fan on Toronto radio? It was fun for a while but blahhhhh

Daniel
Daniel
March 10, 2016 12:00 am

I’d love to see Tim and Sid back on radio. Don’t watch TV between 5 and 7.

Mike S
Mike S
March 10, 2016 12:19 am

I’m in the same boat as Daniel……….I used to listen to Tim & Sid on radio almost every day……..but I’m not home at 5 PM so I have never watched their TV show and I have never felt the urge to tape it and watch it later

mario
mario
March 10, 2016 12:24 am

Sorry to hear of all the layoffs again in the media world and hoping they all find work again soon. Rating viewership is down even at Bell in viewing most sports on television reading Chris Zelkovich column today. The answer’s don’t seem to be easy , there is a shift going on know seems to understand yet.

Ortiginal mitch
Ortiginal mitch
March 10, 2016 12:44 am

Clearly, Rogers has no idea what to do with Tim and Sid, but don’t want to lose them to Bell. Kind of like Cabbie on the other side. 1-4 radio? 5-7 tv? What’s the point of T&S in those slots??

Mike S
Mike S
March 10, 2016 12:59 am

There has now been a total of 13 OverDrive shows on 1050 so far……..but I think Hayes/O’Neill/McLennan have all been there for the entire show maybe four or five times………and that isn’t going to change anytime soon because Hayes is on vacation this week and I believe O’Neill is on vacation next week

I’m sure those vacations were already planned before the 1050 lineup changes were made……….but it’s pretty hard to build up an audience in a new timeslot if the three main hosts are almost never there together for all three hours because of TV duties or pre-planned vacations

I don’t know what other people think of Derek Taylor as a fill-in host but in my opinion he is not good at all

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
March 10, 2016 1:50 am

How is it “no fault” of Sportsnet that their HNIC ratings are down? What are the numbers like on TSN programs? I don’t think TSN’s numbers are anywhere near as bad in Toronto Ottawa and Winnipeg where they have a local rights. They may be down, but not dismal like Rogers’ are ..So you’re darn right sone of the blame needs to fall on producing a poor product.

Canada doesn’t need Gary Bettman to sell hockey here… This hockey rights deal looks so good on Rogers and Bettman now. They bought a pig in a poke from the NHL. Had they partnered with CBC and TSN, hockey ratings would be ok. Proof positive that competition is a good thing….viewers have a choice, and they choose notbto watch Strombolopoulis and Millard and their band of losers and misfits.

I feel bad for the folks that lost their jobs due to horrible decision-making by Sr management at Rogers.

Mike V
Mike V
March 10, 2016 5:50 am

I think what TSM means is that for all the complaining some do about HNIC now, it’s not really that different that CBC two years ago. Production wise is the same, half the talent are holdovers etc. So unless you hate the hipster host that much and he’s responsible for a 20%+ drop you have to see there are bigger things involved.

The whole thing actually reminds me of when ABC took the NBA from NBC. How some people hated the changes, (which were significantly more than HNIC. The hosts, the PxP, production… Yes even the roundball rock theme song.) and how they had to deal with declines from Jordan-inflated 90s ratings. The first few years of that package did not look good either.

Yes, TSN’s Leaf ratings are bad too. Why wouldn’t they be? Bell put out a press release about Jets and Sens being up but that was very early in the season after playoff seasons. Flames’ ratings were also up decently at that time.

Also, this is not NHL specific. Basically everything sports outside of the Blue Jays is down or flat in ratings this year. CFL, curling, NASCAR to name a few off large amounts. NFL had a good divisional rounds but the Super Bowl was down. TFC is doing 100k for the opener after making the playoffs; the Raptors are gearing up for the playoffs chasing the best team in the east yet they are getting beat by spring training. Maybe its cord cutting, maybe it’s an anomaly. Too soon to tell.

Speaking of cord cutting, I’m thinking that has something to do with Tim&Sid being so low in ratings. I’m not into their shtick but am in the show’s target demo and don’t have cable. The only time I’ve ever seen it was at the dentist office.

Steve
Steve
March 10, 2016 6:18 am

If you’re looking for NBA talk, you should be listening to the best sports show available in the GTA – Dan Patrick on TSN Hamilton from 9am–12pm. Blows Mike & Mike and everything Canadian out of the water.

Cirroc
Cirroc
March 10, 2016 6:44 am

@Rob in Aurora I had an issue with that “no fault” statement as well. Personally, I found CBC’s HNIC coverage leaps and bounds above what SN is presenting now. Sure, it had a few weak links, but you when you add in SN’s lower end talent it just becomes too amateur hour for me. I’ve given up completely on the coverage, I just change channels or mute it until the game begins.

Concerned Fan
Concerned Fan
March 10, 2016 7:07 am

I, and a lot of people I’ve asked, have stopped watching HNIC due guys like Kypreos, Doug Maclean and Damien Cox. Kypreos and Maclean and their insufferable yelling feels like amateur hour at best.

Damien Cox’s Tweet about Brian McGrattan almost resulted in me pulling every single Rogers product out of my home. Again, amateur hour.

Their new 5 billion dollar toy isn’t working and yet they make no changes to improve it? Kypreos, Maclean, Cox and Strombo are the solution?

Scott more has blamed it on the teams angle the ratings research so far.. At some point he’s going to have to look at his NHL product and realize it’s just not good.

Tighthead
Tighthead
March 10, 2016 7:09 am

Where do these people look for work? There are only so many in-house gigs with teams.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
March 10, 2016 7:21 am

Someone actually said that HNIC frin 2 years ago and Sprortnet’s coverage are almost the same? Please…Sportnet is cringeworthy. The “holdovers” include elliotte Friedman (he’s ok, but not a reason to watch) and PJ Stock (he’s a joke)….Keely Hrudey is not very good in studio and he’s dragged down by the others…. I’m not going tondebate tastes and preferences here. Some people think a hotdog is similar to a steak as they are both a type of meat.

What I will say is I hate watching CBC pre, post and intermissions, so I don’t…I wait for the game to start, then I turn the audio down to avoid the horrible play by play. I listen to Bowen call the games on the web audio player and sync the audio streaming using my PVR as the streaming is 30 seconds behind the TV audio.

Every person I know that watches hockey hates Sportsnet’s hockey coverage…everyone enjoys TSN though as it is considered excellent by eveyone i compare notes with…I trust their judgement more than the aplolgists (perhaps syscophants?) claiming that there is nothing wrong with Sportsnet.

Tim
Tim
March 10, 2016 7:55 am

If they’re going to get rid of people, then start with the guys nobody can stand listening to. Ex: Glen Healey

Mike V
Mike V
March 10, 2016 8:09 am

Rob, production-wise yes. The two versions are very, very similar. They made minimal changes. You forgot Jim Hughson, Glen Healy, Bob Cole, Coach’s Corner … Yes, they brought in some new people as expected but this was not a total tear down.

You (and “every person you know”) may let your total hatred of Sportsnet/love of TSN cloud your perception but that’s what it is. If you intensely dislike this version of HNIC, you shouldn’t have cared for the end of CBC’s run either.

And really? You’re calling other people syscophants? Glass houses…

Shawn
Shawn
March 10, 2016 8:10 am

Much like others have said, Rogers hockey coverage is just plain terrible.
Granted having all the Canadian teams struggling doesn’t help matters, Rogers management has done this to themselves. HNIC is unwatchable, pretty much from top to bottom.
Their play by play teams are beyond boring.
Intermissions, pre and post game are mostly unwatchable.
I also think that the manner in which they treated Ron Maclean, really rubbed people the wrong way, that even if George Strom…. was a good replacement (which he isn’t), people were put off from the start.
Their “personalities”, Kypreos, Healy, etc are just plain annoying.
TSN, almost across the board, have a much better program, sadly they just don’t have the content rights.

Species 1967
March 10, 2016 8:16 am

It’s 100% Rogers fault for paying too much for the NHL rights. If they didn’t pay so much, there wouldn’t be so many layoffs.

mike (in boston)
mike (in boston)(@mikeinboston)
March 10, 2016 8:40 am

Mike V“So unless you hate the hipster host that much and he’s responsible for a 20%+ drop you have to see there are bigger things involved.”

I wouldn’t discount this factor. Strombo was brought in to widen the kind of audience that tunes in. There is no evidence that he has done that, and some evidence that he is driving established viewers away. Obviously the quality of the game is the most major factor though.

Mbone
Mbone
March 10, 2016 8:52 am

Really? This is surprising?
Let me tell you why the ratings are so poor (in my opinion, but I can’t imagine if I feel this way then I am sure many others are as well).
The on-air Talent at Sportsnet, I’m sorry, is immature, poor broadcasters, lack credibility and seem to try way too hard to have personality. Just look at the HNIC broadcasts on Daturday night’s, Nick Kypteos is NOT a Broadcaster and yet he is on every single game! He is just ONE problem, but you can go down the list of of “Talent” and maybe, just maybe there might be a couple of good, credible people on there. Elliotte is one of them that is definitely a keeper but after him, I am hard pressed to find one I would keep.
Look at TSN, they have practically their entire Talent is actually credible Insiders with REAL contacts and Sources in the game. They are much more professional and much more mature.
For some reason, the Brains at SN thought Canadians like to watch idiots on tv pretend they are funny and act like they are Entertainers. They are NOT! We watch because we want to be informed. We want credible information that we wouldn’t get access to without these people-Darren Dreger, Bob McKenzie, Puerre LeBrun. Sorry, John Shannon is not an Insider, in fact he is only liked by a very few people because of his severe arrogance while an Executive Producer. Nick Kypreos is NOT an Insider. Doug McLean, ugh!! Damian Coc?? Come on!! How does this guy get a regular gif on HNIC??
This is the problem with the ratings.
Ron McLean brought professionalism and credibility to Hockey Night. Now George brings this urban flair that Hockey fans are not receptive to. Hockey is Our game. It’s our passion. It is our tradition. YOU DONT MESS WITH TRADITION. And THAT my friends, is EXACTLY what Rogers did. They screwed around with a national icon, and now people are pissed off because the “Talent” on the air is completely sub standard, at least for hockey. Maybe they should do music shows or movie shows and have these people host. Don’t even get me started on Tim & Sid. What a joke!

Antonio
Antonio
March 10, 2016 8:58 am

How Scott Moore still has a job (anywhere) is beyond me. He must be a Western grad, I suppose. His partner, Pelley who engineered the NHL deal/disaster, was smart enough to get out of dodge before the walls started to cave in.

Moore put the wrong people on camera and has been in denial while the media and fans alike critique the very same people he hired (see Strombo, Stock, Cox, et al)

Pete
Pete
March 10, 2016 8:59 am

Add me to the list of one whose eyes got piqued at the no fault of Rogers’ own comment. Absolutely is their fault. I was a devoted HNiC viewer from the time I could remember…until Rogers took over. From the failed Strombo hosting experiment, to the banishment of MacLean to that cheesy Hometown Hockey show, to Damien Cox somehow gracing my TV set during prime time — quite honestly, I no longer tune in to games owned by Rogers (do so for those on TSN).

Which begs the question…what the hell was Rogers thinking?! In an era where cord-cutting is picking up steam by the day, and a demographic whose interests are shifting away from hockey, where the heck were they expecting to get the 20% viewership increase? They’re down 20% as is now, so they have to make that up and then gain another 20%? Fat chance those numbers ever come. Looks good on Rogers for overpaying for the rights and on top of that screwing the property up royally.

Regarding Tim & Sid, they’ve become completely irrelevant. If I’m not in the car after 5, I’m sure as heck not in front of my TV watching them for 2 hours during dinner, after the kids come home from school, etc.

TSN Overdrive is suffering from the revolving door of hosts and co-hosts. Two and a half weeks in and there’s only been a handful of shows where the trio has been together? O’Neill’s and McLellan’s commitment to the TV side has hurt as well. The show wasn’t well thought out. There’s no continuity and people want to listen to the Leafs Lunch boys, not Beirness, Taylor and whoever else.

Naylor & Landsberg have a lot of refining to do, but I don’t mind the show. Much better alternative than Dean Blu-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-ndell and his moronic side kick.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 9:05 am

This is brutal! Rogers makes massive profits. They payout huge bonuses to their executives. There is plenty of money to go around, Yet they still choose to put good people out of work in order to be “more lean” Tell me what’s lean about laying off 5 figure salaries and paying out some other guys 7 figure bonuses?

It’s like trying to work out your arms while you have a size 60 waist and a fat ass. And cutting the entire Vancouver office is a slap in the face to the west coast. I am sure they enjoy having their personalities with programming geared to them. Connected that leads with Canucks and solid Canucks coverage. was that not the point of having Sportsnet Pacific, West, Ontario and East? Now they’ll just get the same stuff recorded in Toronto. That sucks for them.

I feel bad for James Cybulski. I liked him a lot when he was on TSN 1050 when hosted Cybulski and Company. he and Macko used to do the 5 at 5. debating 5 topics and letting listeners vote on who won. That was a fun segment that we need more of.

It drives me nuts the list of guys out of work is starting to be a better group than the rosters that are still employed.

If I win lotto Max tomorrow. I am starting up my own station. So to David Bastl, James Cybulski, Elliot Price from Montreal, Jeff Sammut, Abe Heftner (MTL), Mike Toth, Don Landry and many other greats who got cut in the past year (maybe not you Brady)… Get ready the call is coming. (hey it could happen)

Man I’m frustrated.

Mike V
Mike V
March 10, 2016 9:33 am

MIB, I’m of the opinion that studio hosts are largely irrelevant to ratings of sports broadcasts. There’s no proof it ever mattered before this. Even guys in the booth, which have a much much bigger impact on the viewing experience, have little to no correlation with it. Whether it’s in Canada with Buck Martinez and Rob Black or US with Kornheiser, McCarver, etc, people still tune in to watch the sports they want to watch and they tune in more when their teams are winning, less when they are losing.

Strobmo was never going to widen the audience. No one would watch hockey to see him; Rogers execs were fools if they actually believed that. But the biggest reason the NHL audience is down is that all Canadian teams are hot garbage this year. If the league standings were flipped upside down, ratings would be up. Also if declining ratings are all or mostly because Sportsnet is producing a bad broadcast, why are nearly all other sports the last 5 months suffering similar fates?

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 9:44 am

@Mike V I think it matters some what. Obviously If you are a Leaf fan you are going to watch the Leafs on any channel it’s on. And if that’s sportsnet then you are watching sportsnet no matter who the hosts are. same goes for a fan of any other team when there team is on.

BUT…

If you are a fan of a team that’s not playing. You may decided to tune in for 2 other teams if you like the coverage. You may chose to watch something else or go out if you don’t.

Also If the game is on a different network as well. You may chose that. Like in the play-offs. If the game is on CBC and NBC. I have a choice so the hosts do matter. Or if you are a Habs fan and you could watch in English on Sportsnet ot French on RDS, you have a choice. I am a Habs fan and I can tell you I do watch on RDS every game because I hate a lot of the sports net broadcasters. I am far from alone on this. Most habs fans including English fans who don’t even speak French prefer RDS over Rogers. On Saturday nights you have a choice between Rogers and TVA Sports.

You also have the option of watching the other teams coverage through Streaming or the centre Ice package. So If I hate sportsnet but the Habs are playing let’s say the rangers. Maybe I choose to watch the MSG coverage.

So yeah the hosts do matter. maybe not to everyone but to a growing amount of people. As the world of streaming grows and your options as a viewer multiply the more it matters.

Old Pappy
Old Pappy
March 10, 2016 9:46 am

This whole scenario speaks to ” if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. There are too many talking heads. The Strombo experiment is a failure. The audience wants substance, not an emphasis on hairstyles and suits. The only constant is Coach’s Corner, which the audience knows is in the first int. The rest of the segments are a mish mash that will not grow any following because it’s a mish mash. You don’t know who will be hosting these segments etc. – no continuity in the presentation.

One other thing – if you want higher ratings, stop pissing off Leaf fans. They stir the drink. Having Hughson and Simpson, who constantly have spent the last number of seasons running down the Leafs in place for the Leaf games is a failed tactic. I know many people who can’t stand them, and in fact, mute them out and listen to the radio instead.

Joe from the bridge
Joe from the bridge
March 10, 2016 9:49 am

Tim and Sid’s rating needs perspective because it’s not a function of time slot. Their number was great as a lead in to the Jays this summer. Now not so much. They are getting beat at times 3-1 by TSN in that time slot. So there are people watching Sports News programs, they’re just simply getting beat.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 9:56 am

oh one other point on the hosts.

If you don’t like the hosts.. Maybe you tune in right at game time and skip the pregame. Flip to something else during intermission. I do that all the time. I haven’t watched Don Cherry in years.

So hosts matter for that reason also.

Rob J
Rob J
March 10, 2016 10:09 am

Ron McLean is a scheduled upcoming guest on the Toronto Mike podcast. Should be a good episode.
I still firmly believe the disaster that is the TML have more to do with the ratings slide than the presentation of the telecasts. Kudos to Rogers, I guess, for pummelling the viewers with constant propaganda re: the ‘dozens’ of certain leaf superstars. A casual fan would be led to believe no other team but Tor calls up its minor-leaguers and while Tor has a ‘plan’, the other 29 teams are running around like drunken frat boys. Almost seems like the Leafs are owned by Rogers. Such a turn-off for non-leaf fans

Wally
Wally
March 10, 2016 10:16 am

Nice write up,

” I hear that the debate between Rogers and the league have gotten interesting as it relates to Rogers obligations this coming playoff season. With no playoff teams from Canada, Rogers would like to keep costs to a minimum. The league as you can imagine, I am told is having none of that. ”

That to me this is the most interesting part and can have many angles.

– Is there growing tension between Rogers and the NHL regarding ratings?
– How would the on-air personality feel if Rogers simulcast an American feed as opposed to their own in-house product?
– Could Rogers try and blame CBC for their poor ratings? HNIC is slated to show at least 2 more seasons of hockey after this before Rogers partnership with CBC is up.

All Canadian teams being out of the playoffs is certainly a major factor that contributes to the decline in viewers.

Personally I think the popularity of the sport as a whole is in decline. Leafs have been poor for so long that an entire generation of viewers has been lost. Concussions have stopped many parents from signing their kids up for hockey for fear of injury.

jaybird
jaybird
March 10, 2016 10:23 am

There is a much larger issue at play here, that Rogers (and mass media) has completely messed up: the demographics of Canada are changing quickly. Couple that with the fact that pro hockey is boring and generally sucks. And voila- a recipe for a $5B overspend.
No one can ever convince me that a Tuesday night 10:30 EST start between the Coyotes and Flames matters. Don’t reply by saying “the fans of Calgary care”- thats not the point. Rogers didn’t spend the cash because they cared about Flames fans- they did it because somebody (Pelley?)somehow convinced their Board that it made sense to produce that drivel. The real winner in all of this? Bettman & the owners. But they had better enjoy the gravy train while its still on the tracks- because the derailment at the end of this current Rogers deal will be a flaming mess.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 10:25 am

It will be a shame if Rogers doesn’t renew the deal with CBC after the 4 years is up. The HNIC brand still means something. Sure it’s not what it used to be but those 4 words are and Saturday nights on CBC are part of the Canadian Fabric. It is part of who we are as Canadians.

Sure there would still be hockey on Saturday Night. Sure the hosts would be the same. It would still be Rogers. But losing that brand and that link, and that network would be a real shame. Even if today’s HNIC is just a name and a shell of it’s former self.

If I have to put up with this garbage from Rogers for 12 years, I hope I can still call it HNIC for the full 12.

Curious_Outsider
Curious_Outsider
March 10, 2016 10:28 am

I wonder what the HNIC Punjabi ratings are?

I don’t speak Punjabi but sometimes I put them on just for something different.

As far as I can see, these guys put to shame most of the English language guys on the regular HNIC broadcasts.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 10:29 am

@jaybird Those Tuesday night 10:30 Flames games are not part of the 5 billion anyway. They are part of a regional deal that Sportsnet already had.

The 5 Billion is for Wednesday Nights (old TSN deal), Saturday Night (HNIC) and Sunday Nights (New) National Broadcasts as well as all playoffs (used to be split by TSN and CBC)

And Yes flames fans do care that’s why those games are regional.

Ashe
Ashe
March 10, 2016 10:30 am

Wally

Sportsnet already routinely simulcasts American feeds for games not involving Canadian teams, just as TSN did before them. They wouldn’t dare try that with a Canadian team involved though. The public would eat them alive.

Also, given Sportsnet completely controls, produces and governs HNIC games on CBC, they can’t blame CBC for their own failures.

Pete
Pete
March 10, 2016 10:30 am

@ Wally

I’d think that Rogers should be thanking instead of blaming the CBC. It might be the saving grace from ratings being even worse as it’s one of the few non-specialty channels in which people can catch the games. Look what happened to Hometown Hockey — they moved the games from City to Sportsnet and ratings are absolutely abysmal (and they weren’t that good to begin with).

Ashe
Ashe
March 10, 2016 10:34 am

Also, I disagree with the assertion that Rogers is losing viewers through no fault of its own. Sportsnet’s production quality is vastly inferior to TSN’s, and their TV personalities are dull, dumb and uninspiring. Instead of James Duthie and Bob MacKenzie, we get to put up with the Nick Kypreos and Doug McLean clown show? Almost everybody I know turns the games off during intermissions, and they often forget to come back.

Rogers paid a great deal of money to put out an amateur hour product.

Andrew D
Andrew D
March 10, 2016 10:38 am

As most commenters have already said, it’s almost ignorant to say the change of ownership to Rogers has had nothing to do with the drop in ratings. Sure, there have been plenty of holdovers, but even some of those guys (the homer Hughson, the insufferable Healey, the ancient Bob Cole, plus Stock and MacLean) weren’t all that great to begin with and surely were the focus of complaints before. Then they brought in Dave Randorf and Paul Romanuk who are both capable commentators, but not nearly at the top of their profession. (For the record, I like guys like Galley and Millen, I like Hrudey in a colour role, and I like Friedge as an insider, so I’m not out to pile on everyone.)
But the most frustrating part of all, as others have mentioned, has been Scott Moore’s complete unwillingness to change, instead putting the blame on the viewers. Is it the viewers’ fault that the panel’s long-time host was booted in favour of a more youthful one? Is it the viewers’ fault that, after decades of success, Coach’s Corner’s format was drastically altered? Is it the viewers’ fault that for some inexplicable reason the execs decided to ship Ron McLean off to Siberia? Is it the viewers’ fault that the in-game and intermission product (every day of the week) is — in every way, shape, and form — miles worse than it was two years ago?
At a certain point Moore and co. have to swallow their collective pride and accept that a big part of the failure is on their shoulders, especially when there’s $5.2 billion on the line. I don’t wish for people to lose their jobs, especially for someone else’s failures, but if this isn’t a clear enough sign that change is needed I don’t know what is.

jaybird
jaybird
March 10, 2016 10:41 am

@ Art- thanks for clarifying- but you’re splitting hairs and totally missing the broader issue. Read the MIB piece- Flames viewership <100K?
Doesn't appear there are too many that care…

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 10:44 am

@Pete

Very nice point. And with these new skinny TV packs that because even more important. With the Skinny pack you will get City and CBC as a part of it for your $25. But if you want TSN and Sportnet it’s an extra $36 or something?

I’m sure the die hards will always have their TSN & Sportsnet. But there are a lot of people that just can’t afford it. They will go skinny or just cut the cord all together.

In this case CBC is an absolute must for this Rogers deal to succeed.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 10:52 am

@Jaybird

Yeah the ratings are dropping. but again that’s not what they paid the big bucks for. That is a separate deal they already had. It’s really a separate issue

Amd While the ratings are dropping I would argue that 100k households in Calgary is still better than a lot of other programming would do in that market. I’d be shocked if any other sport did that number.

It obviously doesn’t help that the Flames like all other Canadian teams suck this year.

You were making the point that pro hockey is boring. Well I think a lot of Canadians would strongly disagree. Ofcorse everyone has their changes that they would like to see. But it’s still the most popular sport in Canada by far.

The problem isn’t the sport. It’s that all 7 Canadian teams suck. And that people are watching less TV in traditional ways in general. Ratings for TV are down all over. If it’s not because of PVRs it’s because of streaming.

There are soo many factors all bigger than the current quality of the NHL.

abc
abc
March 10, 2016 10:58 am

HNIC got rid of the PC stream and only supports mobile now. One of the many “upgrades” rogers has done.

Antonio
Antonio
March 10, 2016 11:03 am

As most of acknowledged, it was a bad deal for Rogers – and an awesome one for the NHL. It especially helps those struggling US franchises (and trust me, there are many struggling US franchises) but it does very little for Rogers. Like Jaybird noted, the numbers for Calgary games will never be enough to justify this deal and even worse would be a game between PHO and Anaheim or a Nashville.

Bettman is an expert negotiator and he took Pelley (who McCown and the other sports media folks still love) to the cleaners on this deal.

Looks like Pelley and Rogers had never heard of Kodi at the time of the deal?

Bear32
Bear32
March 10, 2016 11:15 am

Respectfully, Cybulski has been mediocre in every gig he has attempted. Sportsnet buried him in the morning slot hoping people wouldn’t care, but he is awful. CC exposed his shortcomings with her style and flair. Unlike Landry or Berger, where does he go? Jim Lang the second.
I do like the idea of Tim and Sid taking the morning show at the Fan and getting rid of the Blundell/Rusic Amateur production. Unlistenable. Thank God for the TuneIn app.

Wally
Wally
March 10, 2016 11:32 am

@Pete

I agree. I do think the CBC brand is helping Rogers. I just wonder if Rogers will try and blame CBC in order to save face in front of their investors.

@Art

I agree hockey is still the most popular in Canada but I’d argue the gap is slowly closing. The cost of putting a child in hockey has never been higher and coupled with the knowledge of concussion and injuries playing high-contact sports I believe parents are less likely to register their kid. I also think the popularity numbers are often overblown and overestimated and used to maintain our patriotic identify. Remember, when the world thinks Canada…they think hockey and people here want to maintain that image.

I also completely agree with your statement on ways we are consuming media. Until reliable measuring tools are in place to measure streaming, we will never know.

GreyCountyMike
GreyCountyMike
March 10, 2016 11:32 am

From my perspective, Rogers took for granted what is actually quite a savvy market … and is paying the price now. The assumption that Canadians will blindly tune into hockey, whether it’s bad or not, is not as true as the cliched narrators (queue the violins now) like Roy MacGregor and Ron McLean will continually try to tell us. Believe it or not, Roy, not every Canadian hockey patron knows or cares about Newsy Lalonde; what they are more likely to care about is that their favorite team actually gives a damn about winning.

Even Leafs’ fans, perhaps the most loyal in any sport, will only take so much. The fact the Leafs are joined in the dumpster this season by every other Canadian-based team only amplifies the struggles for people like Scott Moore.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 11:57 am

@Wally Yup I agree with what you said about the decline in popularity, and the reasons why. I would also add that multiculturalism plays a part. While some who come from non winter countries learn to love the sport, fact is the majority don’t. As our countries demographics change so do the interests.

Also the Leafs being so bad for so long plays a part as well. Youth is turning to other sports like Basketball or Soccer partly because in there more impressionable years the leafs just stunk. I know in my own family the older gens were all about hockey and some of the younger ones don’t watch it at all.

I’m sure the same applies in Edmonton as the Oilers have been brutal for a decade.

@ GreyCountyMike

You are right… but I still care about Newsy Lalonde dude was a legend!

Darren
Darren
March 10, 2016 12:36 pm

The NHL in general is a very boring league and below average product. I’m not watching or spending money on what Bettman is trying to shove down my throat. He’s the issue as there are WAY too many teams and too many players who, without 30+ teams, would be in Europe or the AHL. Bettman & the owners (who seem to be in a forever love fest) are in for a big wake up call in coming years. They’ve been operating in a bubble for more than a decade thinking no recession would ever touch their business. Well, they’re about to find out how false that theory can be.

Even Steven
Even Steven
March 10, 2016 1:17 pm

The main issue with Rogers Sportsnet is there management! They made the big NHL deal and there way of fixing this mess is laying off as many 60K a year jobs as possible so they can keep there 150k a year job. It’s total BS when will management be held accountable for there mistakes!

Cirroc
Cirroc
March 10, 2016 1:35 pm

@Bear32

Couldn’t agree more about Cybulski. Seems like a nice enough guy, but those ads promoting he and Caroline were cringeworthy.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
March 10, 2016 1:40 pm

I take no joy in seeing people lose their jobs, but Rogers overpaid for the national NHL rights – and they are apparently keeping the hockey broadcast team intact while cutting loose other employees?…Really? …Who’s to blame for chasing all the viewers away? Or cutting a terrible deal with Bettman? And overspending on production, new studios, sets and over staffing to put on a terrible hockey broadcast?…Those heads need to roll first (starting with Scott Moore seeing as Pelley jumped ship almost a year ago) – then the 3 or 4 weakest or most expensive on air “personalities” in the hockey broadcasts should be next. At least that would provide a fatted calf to sacrifice to the upper management types, who no doubt have buyer’s remorse…. Ahh, but it would be admitting the rights deal was a colossal error in the first place, wouldn’t it? I still predict TSN will be showing a game of the week nationally by next season. How else do you recoup these lost revenues? It may even help to bolster the flagging NHL numbers Sportsnet has experienced.

On another note, I will admit that James Cybulski isn’t very “strong” in a lead role, but he is a lot better at doing the highlight packs than a lot of the Sportsnet Central staff that are keeping their jobs…what’s with that anyway? (And how about Ken Reid, John Shannon, Damian Cox, PJ Stock amongst several others? Those guys are irreplaceable assets I guess. No wonder the quality of TSN’s broadcasts are so much better)

Is there a list of staff cuts to follow? (recognizable names I mean)…I have not seen Hazel Mae’s name anywhere since the Jays season ended in October.

…Sincere best wishes to those with career decisions & re-directions to make and take thanks to the Rogers hockey deal.

WestdaleRocks
WestdaleRocks
March 10, 2016 1:51 pm

Regarding the last story, No surprise. TV programmers and radio PDs don’t have much of an ability to think outside the box. And if they do, they’re afraid to implement any fresh ideas in fear of losing their jobs. Don’t believe me? Compare programs across all formats and try to spot differences. It’s all the same stuff, just different people. Programmers simply can’t think for themselves–they let us do it for them.

GreyCountyMike
GreyCountyMike
March 10, 2016 2:03 pm

Good point, Westdale Rocks. No doubt, there is a lot of “Follow The Leader” mentality on display across the country and continent.

I will give the “new” HNIC marks for trying something different with George Stroumboulopoulos, et al, but almost two full seasons in it’s clear that the shtick just isn’t working in this sport in this market. Not saying Gorgeous George is a bad broadcaster or that the cool-cat thing couldn’t work in another place at another time, but it’s almost gotten to the point of parody. I’m almost expecting (and would love it) if Joe Flaherty was hosting HNIC as Sammy Maudlin and Eugene Levy would appear as Bobby Bittman.

Steve Jones
Steve Jones
March 10, 2016 2:15 pm

Clearly the single source broadcasting situation has become an issue. What league gives one company the prime sports property as a monopoly? One, the NHL. You need a variety of approaches to meet the market. Personally I am sick of having to watch SN for almost all the games I take in. I refuse to watch the pre game and intermission shows. Same awful content coming from guys j have little time for. If I only has to see them even half the time maybe I would feel differently. But the fact is I watch less hockey because there is no variety.

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 2:28 pm

Steve Jones,

I agree with you, It would be nice to have the NFL Model that includes 4 different networks and provides variety.

I am sure the NHL that some variety is provided through the regional deals. TSN does still broadcast Leafs and Jets games. And in Montreal RDS has 60 regional games with TVA Sports providing coverage on Saturday Nights. Ofocrse in English it is all Sportsnet, but at least I as a fan have a choice between a French and a English broadcast.

I think Habs fans are better served by having choice and by having a variety. And to some extent Leaf fans have that with some regional TSN games.

But as a whole the League would be better served if we simply added Sportsnet to the National broadcasters along with CBC and TSN rather than just handing Rogers the entire deal.

Ofcorse 5.3 Billion dollars is probably pretty hard to say no to.

Rob J
Rob J
March 10, 2016 2:35 pm

@Steve and @Art
Don’t forget the added wrinkle that in this monopoly, Rogers actually has ownership in one of the teams! Imagine if TNT owned a terrible NBA team and gave it top-billing week after week as HNIC gives to the leafs

Asher
Asher
March 10, 2016 2:35 pm

In my opinion, the talent on Sportsnet has nothing to do with the hockey ratings. As a Leafs fan, I have steadily watched less and less hockey since the Cujo/Belfour days, because the product was awful to watch.

People can bitch about the analysts all they want, but the reality is, if the Leafs (or insert your favourite team here) were winning, the ratings would unquestionably be higher. The Leafs haven’t iced a talented, likable team in twelve years. And all the epic collapses did not help their case to stop viewers from jumping ship.

As for SN’s changes, I continue to be disgusted by these decisions. Cybulski is one of the most under-rated sports talents in this country. He lost his drive-time show on 1050 because he wasn’t Bob McCown (shocker, there), and now to let him go, what, three years later? Bush league. Thomas and Burrill deserve better too. They weren’t my favourites, but they were steady.

Combine this with the changes at 590 and I really question the decision making upstairs. There was nothing wrong with the lineup pre-Blundell. It’s an awful morning show – essentially fodder for hung-over people who like to hear a host that reminds them of their casually interested sports fan who makes unfounded, uninformed comments and pretends he has inside information. Brady wasn’t my favourite, but he was far better.

As for Tim and Sid, I’d be intrigued by them on a morning show. I was a big Landry and Stellick fan back in the day. People like a summary of the night before on a morning sports show, but they also want to laugh. Blundell’s impressions all sound like a bad Borat impression that borders on racist.

Tim and Sid were completely in their element on the 1-4 slot. I loved the bits, the interviews were great, and the guys were naturally funny. Best part was it was tailored for the radio listener, but I still enjoyed watching. The problem with the TV show, apart from the fact that it airs at a time that I’m driving home, and thus cannot watch/listen, is that it feels like they’re trying really hard to be themselves. The bits are too scripted, and each of them are like more exaggerated versions of themselves. Sid’s rants used to feel natural, now they’re ratings grabs. And Tim sounds bored, imo.

Finally, for me, the TSN Overdrive show is a slap in the face to the countless Canadian journalists who have lost their jobs, only to see two former players take two of three slots that could have gone to actual radio guys. Noodles admitted on the Jay and Dan Pod that he isn’t as comfortable talking about sports that aren’t hockey, and O’Neill sounds perpetually hungover and exhausted.

To me, 1050 has been an afterthought compared to the TV side, and that needs to change. Since radio is more about conversation and tv is so scripted, why not give the long time guys the radio slots? Would Rod Smith/Dutchy/Duthie/Beirness/Hedger be better suited on radio than as talking heads? Would they be open to it?

Bear32
Bear32
March 10, 2016 2:41 pm

@Rob in Aurora First of all, I considered it a good start when they let Brady go. Between the shouting at TSN and the caps in his Twitter feed, he was well past his expiration date. Agree with your about Ken Read, P. J. Stock and John Shannon. Read is a lightweight who is continuously exposed when on with Bobcat. Cringingly inept, particularly in Friday roundtables.
I have never liked John Shannon, who never met a conversation he couldn’t interrupt. And always comes off as patronizing and condescending. Stock tries hard, but I can’t shake the idea he has a naked picture of somebody somewhere. Finally, I have to say it again. The morning show with Blundell and Rusic is an embarassment.
I happen to like Cox, but apparently I am in the minority. Like Brunt, I enjoy PTS when he is on.

John
John
March 10, 2016 2:53 pm

Would love to see Tim and Sid do the morning show at the FAN. Cannot listen to the constant Leaf lovein with Dean and team. And btw morning show, the Raptors exist and are very good. Try talking about them

Art
Art
March 10, 2016 2:55 pm

@ Rob J,

I agree with what you just said in spirt (especially as a Leaf hater)… but regardless of who owns them or how bad they are, The Leafs are still the team in the biggest market in the country. They have one of the two biggest fan bases accross the country. You can debate all day over who is Canada’s team the Leafs or Habs.. but the catch is that even if the Habs have a equal or bigger following than the Leafs… That audience is still split by language.

So in the end there are more Leafs fans watching hockey on Rogers than Habs fans or any other team.

I hate it personally. I wish they would give all 7 Canadian teams the same attention and respect. I wish I there wasn’t a clear Leaf bias. i think it shows a lack of professionalism, integrity and objectivity…

But at the end of the day as much as I hate it, I get it (kind of).

That said it sucks screw the Leafs and screw Rogers lol.

trackback

[…] According to this article released yesterday, television ratings are plummeting around the country, and ticket sales aren’t as lucrative as they once were. Blame the weak Canadian dollar, and blame the weak product on the ice. It’s a perfect storm. As the article cited, Gary Bettman has put all his energy into helping American markets thrive, and hasn’t paid much attention to the Canadian markets. In his defence, he usually wouldn’t have to, because for the most part Canadian teams have always been good business. But for a variety of reasons, it’s not a guarantee anymore. […]

Gerry
Gerry
March 10, 2016 3:46 pm

Tsn have mishandled overdrive so far.
With taylor ? as guest host, unlistenable.
Surprised he hasn’t been ‘Buttoned’

and for rogers to have a chance, they need to rebuild with Ron Maclean and to a lesser extent jeff marek at the hosting helm

Interesting to note the rogers mid week simulcast featured gord miller and pierre maguire doing play and analyst duties.. sorta funny 2 tsn personalities prime time

iratheweatherman
iratheweatherman
March 10, 2016 5:55 pm

If Bryan Hayes listens to this Goose Gossage interview he may never take a vacation again. Without a professional broadcaster in the studio no one was able to keep Goose in line. Missed opportunity for sure.

Mike
Mike
March 10, 2016 6:09 pm

Look

Here’s the deal

The entire HNIC staff is from Fan590.
While their Toronto centric drivel may be fine in Toronto – the rest of Canada said: STICK IT!

Toronto hacks Repeated attacks on Vancouver, coupled with office closures in Vancouver pre and post game made Canada’s largest undivided hockey market (and yes that’s Vancouver) CLICK off.

Instead of embracing the country – Toronto took the CBC’s Toronto focus and thus hatred to a new level.
Vancouver was a 100 point team last year but ratings dropped.

Georgette Stromboulpolos is a nobody in Vancouver. A virtual unknown.
Yet here he is – prancing around in girl’s tights – lisp and all.
Nick ’94 NYR & ’94 Kelly “I didn’t leave the bench” does not and will never work in Vancouver.

And as Vancouver goes – the NHL goes in Canada.

You love to hate them.

You do.

Toronto Star Damien Cox & Fan590 Elliotte COD Lips Friedman don’t work in Vancouver.

Once that market turns off in disgust … You’re doomed.

Then there’s the ridiculousness of the Leafs & Sportsnet Toronto / HNIC relationship.

You don’t think that disgusts people further?

You think ratings are bad now?

You haven’t seen nothing yet.

Marc
Marc
March 10, 2016 6:09 pm

Just listen to goose gossage on tsn man those guys are in over their head when the don’t have someone from hockey on. And the worse thing that bugs me is when someone hangs yo the phone then they start talking tuff about him. They just had him on air why not day what you wanted to then? I’ve been listening to them more since they moved but going back to prime time for a while, give them a chance to improve.

Kamlesh
Kamlesh
March 10, 2016 7:16 pm

TSM writes, “I’m told that Tim and Sid’s TV numbers are awful.” It’s funny because a while ago I remember Bob saying something to the effect that Tim and Sid left the spot ahead of his show ‘to go fail somewhere else.’ Then he did that exaggerated clearing of the throat and quickly moved on to another topic. At the time I didn’t know if he was joking or not. Now we know he wasn’t kidding.

Mark
Mark
March 10, 2016 9:05 pm

Re: Tim and Sid….as a few others have mentioned..who watches tv between 5 and 7? Most people are driving home from work at that time (stuck in traffic). The show should be simulcast on both tv and radio, like Prime Time Sports is.

Brian Harvey
Brian Harvey
March 11, 2016 6:52 am

I guess Keith Pelley saw the writing on the wall and got out at the right time!! Disagree with your comment on Mike & Mike, in my opinion they talk too much NBA, I think you were listening during the first two days of Free agency.

Matt
Matt
March 11, 2016 7:38 am

It’s not rogers fault the ratings are down?!?!?!?

Have you even watched HNIC?!?! The ONLY thing about the broadcasts that is even tolerable is Friedman. Strombo, kypreos, maclean, healy, the bunch of them are USELESS and unwatchable.

Sportsnet … you want to fix it … clean house.

MattK
MattK
March 11, 2016 8:15 am

Stop giving publicity to Goose media, I could care less when a retired athlete tells me why things were better back in the day, because they aren’t.

mario
mario
March 11, 2016 8:17 am

Is it just me or did I miss something no where other than on this site or on twitter not much has been written or said about the layoffs. And not even a word from Rogers on why or any type of plan moving forward.

yaz
yaz
March 11, 2016 9:07 am

In other news, Wheeler isn’t laid off and continues to ruin my 9-12 listening pleasure. Cauz is still out with a lower body injury.

rob
rob
March 11, 2016 9:07 am

Mike

Look, here’s the deal…Your comment is full of personal attacks on the individuals you mention, so it’s very hard to take you seriously. If you’re saying the ratings across the country are bad because people such as yourself hate Toronto, then I get it. (I guess). If there is anything that unites this country, it’s the unadulterated hatred of Toronto. (I’ve found that even includes people who’ve never been here).

I am not sure about the “And as Vancouver goes – the NHL goes in Canada. You love to hate them”. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. I’m definitely “indifferent” to the Canucks as are most people outside BC. They don’t matter to me. They don’t matter to most people outside BC. (I like the twins, but I do hate Alex Burrows if that helps make you feel better). First of all, you need to look at the population of BC, then you have to take into consideration the number of Canucks fans in other Canadian markets. Sportsnet has the rights to show Canuck games. I believe they employ local personalities to cover the games, no? As for the National coverage, its awful across the board. Non Leaf fans resent all the Leaf talk. Leaf fans don’t like the quality of the production. HNIC is generally a dog pile.

As for the Canucks’ 100 points last year: Good luck with that. You’re experiencing the years of mismanagement Leaf fans went through with JFJ, Burk and then Nonis. They did lots of damage here. Now the Canucks have some catching up to do to keep up with the Leafs. They are at least two years ahead of the Canucks and the Habs because just like the Leafs, they both need rebuilding – but they don’t realize it yet and have the wrong managers in place who want to keep the owners happy and hang onto their jobs. Leafs have good people running the show with long contracts and they finally started down the rebuild path last summer.

bob
bob
March 11, 2016 9:22 am

Rogers is the worst thing ever done to hockey!! They are ruining the game!!! When you have idiots like kyprios Healy gally Tim did and all others you are going to fail! Sn tries so hard to be sportscentre and TSN but are no where close cause bell and TSN have the best in the business and knows what ppl like!! Sn has been trying to copy TSN for years ever since Jay & Dan, Sn has gone into over drive in dumbest, there highline reel and”oooo you know the beat” bs. TSN picked up their 1 good talent in dreger while Sn gets 1 of TSN worst in sybalski.

Rogers your “hightech” make over of the game and crappy ppl have failed big time and make the game worse!! Give our game back to the ppl and to cbc sportscentre and TSN so that we can get our game back that is more enjoyable to watch with ppl who know what their talking about and are fun!! Sn is nowhere near the level of TSN and it’s ppl!!!

William D
William D
March 11, 2016 9:51 am

The three worst investments in Rogers Media 2015 which will come back to bite.

1. NHL Rights for 5.2 billion dollars- (The entire inventory is a huge gamble especially when consumer viewing habits have been changing for the last few years)

2. Shomi-(Netflix has a lion share of this market in Canada and U.S and also consumers are downloading to get there content for free.

3. Dean Blundell-(Not a sports radio personality)

William D
William D
March 11, 2016 9:52 am

My mistake I should say In the last few years.

Mike V
Mike V
March 11, 2016 9:56 am

Overall demos from the latest ratings book here: http://kowchmedia.com/toronto-winter-2016-ppm-ratings/

Have to see the show breakdowns but it looks like ho-hum. FAN590 falls back to earth with no Jays, TSN1050 still has no traction in the market.

GreyCountyMike
GreyCountyMike
March 11, 2016 10:03 am

Toronto sports media members, enough with the “Gibby” references already! It’s only the second week of March and it’s already too much.

The buddy-ol’-pal rhetoric is completely bush league. For a city that wants so badly to be considered world class, the media’s love-in with its sports bosses (i.e. “Burkie” “Alex” and “Gibby”) is completely amateurish. There are kids writing for college newspapers who demonstrate more integrity than what the professionals in Toronto do.

yaz
yaz
March 11, 2016 10:03 am

People presume that with the old HNIC CBC staff the ratings would be better. You think that with all the Canadian teams out of the playoffs people would be rushing to the TV to watch a Blues vs Wild playoff tilt just because Ron Maclean is on the air? Hockey is becoming boring. Analyst after analyst keep saying it. NOTHING is happening on the ice. Rogers went all in at a time in the NHL when the players checked out.

Remember the Leafs game in St Louis? There was an unwritten agreement in that game between the players to just chase the puck around and don’t hit anyone and do absolutely nothing. More and more hockey games are de facto ‘friendlies’. You just touch a guy with a pinky and there’s a penalty. Penalty or not, if you just brush by a guy these days you get bludgeoned to death on social media then face endless daft scrum questions about a nothing hit. Who needs it? Stay in your lane, cash the checks and go home.

And the dinks that are the first to say ‘I’m happy to watch more skilled players.’ Really? Which ones? O’Neill quoted an unnamed NHL player as saying ‘The bottom six aren’t any more skilled than they were ten years ago, they just skate faster and don’t fight.’

Ray Ferraro said a lot of nights he really has to dig and be creative to find ANYTHING to say about the inactivity on the ice. More and more analysts are saying what is nakedly apparent, the game, regardless of who is playing, is rote, passionless and BORING. And Ray said it best: ‘A lot of nights I feel like I’m watching a soccer game on ice.’

Hockey is the new tennis. The old school guys are almost gone and the generation of over processed, characterless, rich robotic kids scared shitless that anything they say or do ends up on social media has taken over. That, combined with the fact that a barely capable, 3rd pairing D Man makes fuck off money on his first contract, means there is little to motivate these guys. Just float around, don’t hit anyone, don’t offend anyone, then walk away when you’re thirty and retire.

Guy Laurence didn’t make this deal. You can only layoff so many people. He will be forced sooner rather than later to sell part of Nadir’s deal to TSN.

Art
Art
March 11, 2016 10:12 am

@Rob and Mike

I tend to agree with Rob on your comments. Although many of us are guilty of somewhat personal attacks on personalities we don’t like, the comments about Strombos girl pants and lisp came off as well, somewhat homophobic (even though he’s not gay).

I agree that type of stuff does devalue your entire argument. But in to address the Canucks stuff. I don’t know that the Canucks that different than the Flames,Oilers, Sens or Jets. I think all Canadian teams need more respect from Rogers. I think all Canadian teams need more coverage and focus. I think the broadcast is absolutely too Leaf centric although I somewhat understand why.

but the idea that as the Canucks go, the NHL in Canada goes? I don’t see it. I just don’t see what makes the Canucks all that special? no offence but they just don’t have the following that the Leafs and Habs do. Vancouver is a great market but it’s not Toronto or Montreal. The Canucks don’t have the nation wide following that the Leafs and Habs do. nor do they have the history.

As Rob said i don’t think that many fans out side of Calgary or Edmonton hate the Canucks either. I think most fans just don’t care one way or another. I know I don’t even think about them much to be honest. If there is a team every loves to hate I would argue it’s the Leafs. I think if you are a fan of any Canadian team other than them you probably hate them. The Habs are in that same relm for a lot of people too.

While I think Rogers would be wise to give the Canucks more attention. I don’t see them as the key to the success of hockey television in all of Canada. I just don’t see it.

William D
William D
March 11, 2016 11:37 am

@yaz

Correction, Pellys Deal.

Art
Art
March 11, 2016 11:49 am

@ William D

It’s Nadir’s deal. Pelly may have brokered it but you don’t spend 5.3 Billion dollars with out approval from the CEO of the parent company.

trackback

[…] With NHL ratings down on Canadian television, and no Canadian teams likely to make the playoffs, Sportsnet has laid off some of its broadcasting staff. [Toronto Sports Media Blog] […]

Cirroc
Cirroc
March 11, 2016 12:47 pm

@yaz

I feel the same way as you about the state of the game. One of the reasons I love sports is the pure competition. Without that, we might as well be watching the All-Star game, which as we know, nobody really enjoys anyway. I can’t stand the Rogers coverage and there are times where the TSN intermissions are more entertaining than the games themselves.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
March 11, 2016 12:56 pm

I am listening to Andi Petrillo hosting Leafs lunch lately. She is using really feminine theme music for the bumpers and often talks about shoe shopping and other “hen party” chit chat – She needs to remember that her audience is primarily male – and the females probably don’t need this (it isn’t cute or appropriate for the show). I don’t want to hear girlie music for all the bumpers, or “coffee clatch” type chit chat. I know it makes her co-hosts and guests feel awkward too, so I am not making this up. If you’re the first woman to do this type of a show, with this type of subject matter and audience, then you need to hang on to it and avoid becoming a stereo type – it is important to be taken seriously while you’re gaining the confidence of your audience.

Andi also needs to work on her diction: Words like “meeting” are spoken as “meedeen” or “doing” is “do-een” and “coming” is “com-een”…(its really distracting and tends to sound like Seneca College radio) – All that we, the audience have is the spoken word to listen to. Proper pronunciation is as important as proper grammar and an adequate vocabulary.

I am being picky, but I can imagine I am not alone in this…

Curt
Curt
March 11, 2016 12:58 pm

“No fault of their own…” LOL! I don’t know where to begin after that whopper.

yaz
yaz
March 11, 2016 1:19 pm

Gossage hour two of Naylor Landsberg today was great radio. TSN should hire him and go with Wheeler/Gossage 9-12.

Tighthead
Tighthead
March 11, 2016 2:03 pm

Canucks fans are the craziest fan base going. They are obsessed with what the rest of the country thinks of them, refusing to accept that it is generally indifference.

Their regional broadcasters are third rate homers, so the fans go nuts when a national broadcast doesn’t provide the same candy cotton wrapping. Shorthouse and Garrett might as well be waiving their pom poms in a hockey wasteland like Arizona.

I’m glad Mike reference 1994. No fan base on earth, any sport, has been so nostalgic about not winning a title as Canuck fans are about 1994. Nobody else remembers, but they revere that non-banner like it is the holy grail.

The chip on the shoulder they all carry is wonderfully entertaining.

Henry Spencer
Henry Spencer
March 11, 2016 2:52 pm

“So unless you hate the hipster host that much and he’s responsible for a 20%+ drop you have to see there are bigger things involved.”

“I wouldn’t discount this factor. Strombo was brought in to widen the kind of audience that tunes in. There is no evidence that he has done that, and some evidence that he is driving established viewers away. Obviously the quality of the game is the most major factor though.”

Strombo and Healy are the sole reasons i don’t watch anymore. It is sad 2 people could accomplish this

Simulcast in Mississauga
Simulcast in Mississauga
March 11, 2016 3:26 pm

As a very long time HNIC viewer, I surprised even myself by gradually stopping watching it since Rogers took over.

If Rogers had brought back the entire cast/approach and then phased in modifications, many viewers may have just continued watching as old habits die hard. Instead the highly visible changes encouraged viewers to reassess the new HNIC and the result was watching or doing something else.

The reasons are many. Old Faithful Ron, a master host who kept things on track and created unity in the show, was tossed aside to Sunday purgatory. And Strombo….does he even like hockey? What’s with his tight suits and oversized shoes in the context of a traditional sport? Does he intentionally want to alienate his audience? The new studio sets are as ridiculous as say men in suits with hockey sticks trying to demonstrate situations on fake plastic ice. Some of the cast are the same but the chemistry is bad and they talk down to viewers.

Don Cherry sadly has lost his relevance and it is time that he and his Gerry Cheevers/4th line hero grinder stories are retired both on HNIC and the Fan590. Yes, the Leafs are terrible but Rogers may well destroy a Canadian institution in HNIC before the Leafs contend again. I’m a Rogers customer and spend about the same time as others listening to TSN1050 (i.e. not much in comparison to the FAN as per ratings) but in regards to HNIC and its NHL investment, Rogers should be thinking hard about how to reengage the audience.

Ken B
Ken B
March 11, 2016 3:45 pm

No surprise that Scott Moore is the common denominator in all of the Rogers layoffs. Those in the West are victims of Moore and his fellow Toronto-centric suits. In terms of hockey, Moore has shown himself to be completely tone deaf to the viewership by arrogantly refusing to tweak some of Rogers’ miscalculations. As a former TSN producer (as was K. Pelley), one would think Moore could have poached at least one of TSN’s primary talents prior to launch, but no such luck. Then he trotted the same group out again this season.

My wife, who admittedly doesn’t watch much hockey, looked at the tv one Saturday night to see Strombo and asked: “what’s he doing on hockey?” She shook her head at his funky attire in comparison to the rest, of course not knowing that it’s the second year of this act.

As was mentioned by @Gerry, Gord Miller and Pierre Maguire were reunited on NBCSN’s feed on Sportsnet earlier this week, and showed again what an excellent PBP team sounds like. Miller is the kind of top-level PBP caller Sportsnet lacks other than Jim Hughson, as Bob Cole is now relegated to spot duty. With Miller, Maguire provided solid analysis, and I didn’t notice him going over the top as he sometimes has a tendency to do when between the benches on NBC.

Finally, reading @MIB’s retweets from Blundell’s twitter wars, just how long is it before the Fan puts him out of his misery?

Art
Art
March 11, 2016 3:46 pm

@SimInSauga

Yes Strombo does like hockey. I know people want Ron back and I get it. But this idea that Strombo doesn’t watch/like/or know about hockey is wrong. Strombo started his career at the fan590 doing late night sports with Macko and Marek. He has a background before branching off into music and pop culture.

Also he is a long time diehard Habs fan, and his been very vocal about that well before the HNIC gig. He hosted a Habs centennial special produced by the team and also appears along with other Hab fans celebrities in the Rock the Sweater video by Montreal Rapper Anakin Slyad. (Habs fans know who and what that is)

You can name a million reason why he isn’t a fit or Ron should still be there. But yes he does like hockey and always has.

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