Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Helping baseball fans tune in to the magic ... of radio

Make what you will of a press release hyping TSN2's coverage of next week's Blue Jays-Red Sox series at Fenway Park. So much for that season-long spitting contest between Bell GlobeMedia and Rogers Communications, Inc., being resolved by next week, eh?

It is insanity that the two telecom giants are shafting Jays fans who are Rogers customers. It is still weird that this is persisting, especially when Rogers is also the main culprit for the MLB Network being unable to get carriage in Canada. It runs counter to Sportsnet trying to be the baseball network (at this writing, their main story is about former Jay A.J. Burnett's return to Toronto, while TSN and The Score's page-topper is the Stanley Cup playoffs.)

Granted, this should not matter so much. Baseball is sometimes best imagined, which can be facilitated with the radio and live scoring, especially since you can keep the lightweight commentary of the TV announcers intruding on your bliss.

However, Shaw Cable in western Canada managed to get something worked out last fall when TSN bumped a Sunday afternoon Edmonton Eskimos-Montreal Alouettes game to its companion channel. TSN and CBC Sports traded off NHL playoff coverage to better serve hockey fans. (Game 1 of the Anaheim-Detroit series back on May 1 was originally slotted for TSN2, but CBC aired the game opposite a Carolina-Boston matchup on TSN. Of course, if both series go to a Game 7 on Thursday, there will be a conflict.)

Point being, the powers-that-be did right by hockey and football watchers. Baseball deserves similar consideration. It as at least somewhat understandable from a dollars-and-cents point of view when this was inflicted on Toronto Raptors fans during the NBA regular season. Nationwide viewership for the Raptors has always been lukewarm (it's a poor metric for judging the Raptors' following, but try telling it to people who believe ratings are everything).

TSN will presumably have hockey commitments on at least one of those nights, depending on the schedule for the NHL's semi-final series. Otherwise, they're airing the NBA. Sportsnet will be showing the Memorial Cup. Its commitment to major junior hockey is admirable. It just doesn't make sense when it comes to how many people are actually watching the games.

TSN pulls power play with Rogers Jays?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even though I hate the Jays (I was an Expos fan in the middle, the type who loved one and hated the other). That said, they are KILLING the game in this country. Same thing that did Montreal in, NO ACCESS to radio/tv. I was in the States a few weeks back, and ESPN is WAY better (and yes, that includes the hockey coverage), they devote time to ALL sports. We don't, it's hockey-hockey-hockey, and that get's old, to the point some of us can't stand it anymore.........and it's too bad, used to love it (in between baseball seasons).