It’s been a crazy couple of days and just like old times, yours truly has been on the road a lot..and am going back again tomorrow
So here are some things I am hearing.
Back in February 2014, Sportsnet announced a 12-year multi-platform rights agreement with the Canadian Hockey League that would have run through the 2025-2026 season. Well, lawyers being lawyers clearly built in an escape clause as multiple sources are telling me that Rogers Sportsnet has pulled the plug on the deal and is buying its way out of the deal!
Word is that Bell through TSN will be announcing a new 3-year agreement with some other entity involved carrying other non “primary” games. While not confirmed, that third party could be, sources believe to be the CBC in some fashion similar to the deal Bell originally pitched Bettman before he shopped it to Rogers for the NHL deal. This part is purely speculation, but tongues are wagging for sure. Sounds like we could see the return of weekly games though, which judging from your reaction on Twitter is sorely missed.
Consider me stunned. Pleasantly stunned. When I tweeted this story I expected one or two likes or other engagements and wow was I wrong. Clearly, there is a massive interest in the CHL that I was unaware of. Given the response to my tweet, it is apparent that those who love the CHL are overjoyed at the news so I am hopeful that this results in renewed focus and attention on the games in those markets that love Jr. hockey.
Let’s see what happens in the coming days and weeks.
Hat tip to the folks at Sportsnet by the way who cleared the way for Scott MacArthur to return to the TSN 1050 airwaves to honor the 10 year anniversary of the station. Great move by all involved – especially Scott for going back for an appearance. That is a class.
I am told by the way that neither Toronto sports radio station is achieving any sort of audience on its morning drive. Both stations continue to struggle to generate a morning drive audience of any substance. Not entirely surprising given the lockdown and current state of the country due to Covid.
On the flip side, 5 weeks into the most critical book of the year, Sportsnet’s Fan is lagging far behind OD in the afternoon drive slot. In both key demographics, the numbers thus far are around 7.4 to 2.4. While 5 weeks does not make a 13-week book, the numbers do tell the current story (as bad a system as Numeris is.) If you take the Blue Jays games out of the ratings, the fan slips below a 2.0.
Still, on the radio side of things, word has it that the search for a new program director for the Rogers sports radio network is ongoing with several people having been interviewed. Numerous folks claim that the dark horse in the race could be none other than Greg Brady. How ironic would that be? Could the third time be the charm for Brady who was first an on-air host, then paid by Dave Cadeau to sit home for a year, only to return again and then part ways? Brady for what it is worth has no PD experience that we are aware of, but by all accounts was one of the few on-air folks who really cared deeply and paid attention to the business side of things while he was on the air. On the state’s side of things, many on-air folks transitioned from on-air talent to PD. I am not sure if that is the case in Canada as well. This was the case at Brady’s old station WDFN in Detroit.
It’s hard to believe that in Canada in 2021 Rogers would not be able to find someone with prior experience to be the sports radio PD, but then again maybe that is just me being naive about the apparent prestige of the gig. I’d love to think that a job like that would attract top talent, based on what I am hearing on the so far interviewed list? Not so much.
Do you remember Andrew Walker? Well, he joined me in the Pressrow a day before being exited from the Fan in Vancouver. That Podcast is here.
Twelve years ago the notion of replicating a radio-like interview was something aspirational to me. The idea that I could interview someone and have people listen in and ask questions radio-style seemed very cool. Not knowing what the hell I was doing, with literally no interview experience at all, I was fortunate enough to land Mattew Sekeres as a subject, and he agreed to be guest number one. At the time Sekeres was a sports reporter for the Globe and Mail out in Vancouver. Fast forward 12 years and he is now embarking on a massively important and foundational new career, launching a live streaming radio program sans radio, as for me, well I am in Seattle still learning how to interview people.
Sekeres has the unique distinction of being part of a radio station that was actually winning the local battle against the competition only to have the mothership pull the plug. TSN Radio Vancouver was beating the completion when Bell decided to change the format, giving up on sports talk in Vancouver, ceding the market to Rogers. Sekeres and his partner Price were the drive home show hosts and they are now moving into the digital era.
In this episode, Matt talks about getting the boot while winning, what the landscape may mean in a digital era when people return to work and how live content is still critical in this day and age. Jonah and Matt then discuss the changes that are coming in the rating world; what it means for advertisers when they have real, timely data to sell, and how listener engagement, specifically women will benefit.
Finally, the CFL is currently in a quiet period as their fans await what a partnership with the XFL will look like. Sekeres is a HUGE supporter of the league and he is having to consider the possibility that 3 down football could be dead in order for the league to survive in Canada.
My chat with Matt is here:
Till next time!