Thursday, April 23, 2009

TSN pulls power play with Rogers Jays?

This has a holy flurking schnit quality about it: Rogers customers won't able to watch the Rogers-owned baseball team play in the Rogers-owned ballpark against an archrival:
"Blue Jays coverage on TSN2 gets underway on Tuesday, May 19 with the Jays
taking on the Boston Red Sox in a key three-game series. TSN2 is readily available in the GTA in both Standard Definition and High Definition on Bell TV (Channel 401, 851 HD), Shaw Direct (Channel 401, 269 HD), and Cogeco Cable (Channel 156, 729 HD)."
None of you need any reminder what cable provider is still not carrying TSN2, especially if you're also a Raptors fan, or that Red Sox-Jays games tend to attract the highest ratings. This is bad news to go along with the injuries to pitchers Ricky Romero and B.J. Ryan.

The FAN 590's Bob McCown, at this very moment, is going high dudgeon about "what maroon brokered this deal?" It is possible this forces Rogers to come to terms about carrying the spin-off network, which launched in August. Or they could go el cheapo. Someone who knows can field this one: Would Rogers be able to air the visiting team's broadcast, particularly NESN in the case of that April 19-21 series vs. the Red Sox, on its four regional channels? It would be an easy way out, but given that they often stick the other team's broadcast of games which aren't being carried by Sportsnet or TSN on that Channel 399, don't put it past them.

The point is it is a blatantly anti-fan decision to stick games on a digital channel which is still unavailable to a wide swath of consumers, if it comes to that point. (Chris Zelkovich at the Toronto Star is saying it will get resolved, finally). However, let's stay on the up-and-up and presume the principals here must know this. Let's believe, in the heart of hearts, that reasonable people can always come to a reasonable solution. Times are tight in the Canadian broadcast industry, so you're going to see this pitched battles for customers, but this is going too far. It lasted through the entire Raptors season, but it might be different with the Jays, whose following is more national, more Boomer.

Really, only in Canada could you see this happen, Rogers owning the team and the ballpark, but being party to its fans not being able to watch. It is awfully curious that a Red Sox series was earmarked for TSN2 (TSN would still have hockey commitments in mid-May). TSN does not mess around and as Ottawa Senators fans can relate, the games won't be on the MLB Extra Innings package (just as local broadcasts aren't put on NHL Centre Ice).

The only other games scheduled for that channel are two Sunday afternoon games in September, presumably when there is an a priori commitment to the CFL. It should be pointed out Edmonton Eskimos fans raised a stink over this last fall and got a game aired when it wasn't going to available in Edmonton. Hopefully Jays fans can mobilize over at The Tao of Stieb and Drunk Jays Fans and elsewhere and do the same.


Anonymous said...

I think this may be a move to get more fans at the games.If you think about it makes sense the jays have had not large crowds and for a team that is 11-5 they should be getting much larger crowds then they are.

Grant said...

I think, and please correct me if I'm wrong Internet, but I think that once TSN wins the rights to the Jays games it can put them wherever it wants. Including on its new spin-off channel.

Don't forget that Rogers owns TSN's direct competitor: Sportsnet. TSN is trying to turn the screws on Rogers by loading TSN2 with premium content so that enough basketball, baseball and soccer fans phone Rogers and demand TSN2 in their cable packages.

Anonymous said...

While tsn can put some game on tsn2 there are still requiremeants they have to go by.Take nhl hockey per there contract with the nhl they could not put all games on tsn2.I beleave it something like 15% could be on tsn2 while the rest has to be on tsn.

Anonymous said...

Rogers does a pathetic job of baseball, if it's not Toronto (ie: Seattle, a team with much interest here in BC at least), they'll cut in mid-inning, mid-whatever in the 2nd, 3rd, whenever "Connected" or some other dumb hockey-ad-nauseum half-hour program. The ads run into the first batter of the innings, and when the final out is made, cut immediately to hockey, no wrap-up, goodnight or anything. Bush league production values. 1st year Loyalist or Niagara students would do better. Please, please, do we HAVE to kill baseball totally in this country?

sager said...

Grant nailed it -- it's a power play by TSN, one that's completely understandable (even if fans who are Rogers customers are left with the short end) because this has gone on since August.

The Jays' hands are tied somewhat, which stinks, because 5 games have been removed from the airwaves. It's egg on the face for Rogers, and they really should try to make a deal.

(Rogers covers most of Toronto and Ottawa ... you're stuck with them unless you get a ExpressVu and Star Choice. I work nights, so it's not worth it for me, full disclosure.)

Andrew Bucholtz said...

I think Rogers has to take their share of the blame for this too. Every other provider has worked out a deal to carry TSN2, and there's enough content on it to make it worthwhile. Rogers is being stubborn because they don't want Sportsnet's audience to diminish even more, but they're offending their own customers in the process. Yes, TSN has to take some of the blame too, but I think Rogers is making the wrong stand here. They should simply treat TSN2 the same way Shaw and Cogeco are handling it; those terms can't be that unfair.

sager said...

I'm not blaming TSN for playing its trump card. They're doing the right thing from a business standpoint and making Rogers wipe egg of its face. The fans lose out, though, and hopefully the media realize what their role is in conveying that reality.

Anonymous said...

I really do not think there is any chance of sports net suffering due to tsn2.I know alot of people are up set with tsn and at the start people thought it was going to be great yes to a point some games such as nba and nhl have been on but not nearly waht people expected.

While they may be doing the right thing they did give short notice which has alot of people fumeing.

Tao of Stieb said...

Well, here's what we had to say:

It's kinda depressing at this point to see these machinations going on. By the time the series is here in mid-May, we're sure that our dander will be up.

Keith Borkowsky said...

Here's an honourable way out. Package SpoNet's regionals (all of them) with TSN2.

sager said...

That would make too much sense.

You get all four Sportsnets if you have Rogers, although they black out the regional NHL games.

Anonymous said...

What i am shocked with is toronto attendance has dropped off big time.This time last year they were avg 28,000 a game with a so so team.This year with a good team there avg 20,000 per game thats a very big drop off.