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Sports Media Layoffs Continue
#1
http://torontosportsmedia.com/sports-and-toronto/sports-media-layoffs-continue/20626

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!
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#2
I will be perfectly blunt about this...the whole production of HNIC is shit.

It used to be perfectly not-too-big, not-too-small...and you felt like you were sitting down with the regular cast of characters once a week. To draw a comparison that maybe applies only to me, it's like RATW is the old HNIC, and HFBoards is the new Rogers version of it. Bigger and busier isn't always better...in fact, to me, it rarely is.

HNIC lost its timeless Canadian tradition feel the moment they plopped way too many people in a trumped up ultra-modern set, added way too many gimmicky graphics/3D effects/etc etc etc.

It's no secret that the poor performances from Canadian teams are going to affect the ratings...so there's a bit of a perfect storm going on here. The performance of their product (the teams) IS out of their control. Sympathy? Not an ounce.

To that point though, I have found this Leafs team post-trade deadline day to be the most entertaining and engaging team in recent memory. The kids, our homegrown guys coming into their own in Rielly and Kadri, vets like Brooks Laich, watching Babcock handle/coach/teach a team that is unlike any team he's had in his pro coaching career...this is such an easy team to want to root for. I have watched every second of every game recently, and while they haven't won, I have found every game to be incredibly enjoyable to watch.

On Saturday night, I will be watching again, despite how much I dislike the presentation of HNIC. I will (as I always do) make a point to watch Coach's Corner, not because I love Don Cherry, or agree with what he says...but because that's the one and only small piece of the tradition of HNIC that I grew up with that remains in the current structure.
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#3
So SN Leafs broadcasts brought in 379K, and the TSN Leafs broadcast brought in 500K, and they dont think its at all an issue with the SN product?

I would watch TSN over SN any day of the week given the choice. Im glad to see Rogers bleeding money on this stupid deal.
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#4
Rogers or whoever it is has ruined hockey broadcasts.

HNIC with George S SUCKS! Way to much BS graphics and gimmicks. BRING BACK RON!

Regional broadcasts ALL the time suck. TSN has FIVE channels so USE the f-ing things!!!! Put on five games FFS!

FEMALE sports reporters! Yes most of them are beautiful and some of them actually know sports but we all know why they were hired.

Radio broadcasts on TV???? Seriously, WHO wants to watch guys sitting in a radio booth talking????
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#5
They have let the wrong ones go. Wed. night hockey crew sucks, HNIC needs an extreme makeover. I am not wanting people to lose their jobs but those 2 brands suck. Is this the final year for CBC broadcasts? TSN does a much better job on par with NBC but SN is worse than Fox Regional games!
After All, Life Goes On!!
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#6
TSN >>>> SN

Duthie and the crew are awesome...
"Oh mischief, glorious mischief...I do so love it!"
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#7
(2016-03-10, 10:07 AM)MisterZ Wrote: TSN >>>> SN

Duthie and the crew are awesome...

They are better but over the years I've come to loathe them because of their blackouts. There was a service before called Leafs TV Interactive, you paid for 51 games, and every time a game was on TSN, they blocked it, more than once I missed either the whole game or half the game, because they wouldn't turn it on even though the NHL sold this package and they were required to show it.

oh ya, **** Bobby Mac and his TV dollars for Digital Dimes
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#8
(2016-03-10, 08:55 AM)tmleafer Wrote: So SN Leafs broadcasts brought in 379K, and the TSN Leafs broadcast brought in 500K, and they dont think its at all an issue with the SN product?

I would watch TSN over SN any day of the week given the choice. Im glad to see Rogers bleeding money on this stupid deal.

Agreed! TSN guys Gord Miller and Cuthbert both work sometimes for NBC so I ask how many SN guys work for another US network, zero I believe! Says volumes about the TSN guys!
After All, Life Goes On!!
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#9
(2016-03-10, 09:57 AM)zapzac Wrote: Rogers or whoever it is has ruined hockey broadcasts.

HNIC with George S SUCKS!  Way to much BS graphics and gimmicks.  BRING BACK RON!

Regional broadcasts ALL the time suck.  TSN has FIVE channels so USE the f-ing things!!!!  Put on five games FFS!  

FEMALE sports reporters!  Yes most of them are beautiful and some of them actually know sports but we all know why they were hired.

Radio broadcasts on TV????  Seriously, WHO wants to watch guys sitting in a radio booth talking????

Zap I understand your frustrations, but TSN has to play by the Bettman "bible", they can only show certain contracted Leaf, Sens one Jets games and must be shown only in those regions It's a money grab for the NHL and Rogers but it seems Rogers is losing, Grin What will they do with no Canadian teams in the playoffs!
After All, Life Goes On!!
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#10
A concern is that Rogers may start pushing MLSE hard to push on the Leafs to make the playoffs ASAP.

Thankfully they dont have a majority share, and Bell is probably willing to watch Rogers bleed money on the Leafs not making the playoffs for another year or two.
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#11
(2016-03-10, 10:26 AM)WTTM Wrote:
(2016-03-10, 10:07 AM)MisterZ Wrote: TSN >>>> SN

Duthie and the crew are awesome...

They are better but over the years I've come to loathe them because of their blackouts. There was a service before called Leafs TV Interactive, you paid for 51 games, and every time a game was on TSN, they blocked it, more than once I missed either the whole game or half the game, because they wouldn't turn it on even though the NHL sold this package and they were required to show it.

oh ya, **** Bobby Mac and his TV dollars for Digital Dimes

Loath the NHL, it's their regulations, not TSN, not your provider, but the NHL.
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#12
Agree with everything said about HNIC. SN has managed to do the impossible and make the staple of Canadian sports broadcasting unwatchable.

Not to mention Paul Romanuk doing the play-by-play for the Leafs mid-week games. This is the biggest market in the country, and you have the weakest personality calling the play? Talk about ruining a brand.

The layoffs should really start with whomever is running the show, literally.
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#13
I rarely hear Joe Bowen call the games on TV..What's up with that?

Welcome, Bueller!
"Oh mischief, glorious mischief...I do so love it!"
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#14
Thanks Z, but I'm here pretty much everyday.  Lurking and very rarely posting.

As far as I know, Joe Bowen hasn't done a TV broadcast all year, just radio.  Another awful call by Sportsnet.
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#15
(2016-03-10, 10:51 AM)theDC Wrote:
(2016-03-10, 10:26 AM)WTTM Wrote:
(2016-03-10, 10:07 AM)MisterZ Wrote: TSN >>>> SN

Duthie and the crew are awesome...

They are better but over the years I've come to loathe them because of their blackouts. There was a service before called Leafs TV Interactive, you paid for 51 games, and every time a game was on TSN, they blocked it, more than once I missed either the whole game or half the game, because they wouldn't turn it on even though the NHL sold this package and they were required to show it.

oh ya, **** Bobby Mac and his TV dollars for Digital Dimes

Loath the NHL, it's their regulations, not TSN, not your provider, but the NHL.

No, Leafs TV Interactive was a package sold by the NHL, TSN was not supposed to blackout the games in that package they just did it anyways. People in the chat would be complaining and the TSN guys would be replying that it's blacked out, once they finally turned it on during the 3rd period. I've hated TSN games ever since. Rogers internet users get the NHL package free, it's great right up to a TSN game, sorry Blacked out.

Aside from that I like Leafs Lunch now Overdrive, I do like most of the on air personalities, but still remember Bobby Mac a few years back, "Why give up TV Dollars for Digital Dimes", I get that but as a cord cutter, Ef TSN
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#16
I mostly pay very little attention to the 'production' of the game. I watch the game, and spend almost no time or effort following their content between periods or before or after the game. Perhaps that's a function of production value, but they'd have to be doing cartwheels or something to actually grab my attention.

I just watch the games.
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#17
(2016-03-10, 11:34 AM)colonel mustard Wrote: I mostly pay very little attention to the 'production' of the game.  I watch the game, and spend almost no time or effort following their content between periods or before or after the game.  Perhaps that's a function of production value, but they'd have to be doing cartwheels or something to actually grab my attention.  

I just watch the games.

For me this started with Coaches Corner, then switching to NHL.com, they always blacked out the intermissions so I never watched anyways.
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#18
(2016-03-10, 11:36 AM)WTTM Wrote:
(2016-03-10, 11:34 AM)colonel mustard Wrote: I mostly pay very little attention to the 'production' of the game.  I watch the game, and spend almost no time or effort following their content between periods or before or after the game.  Perhaps that's a function of production value, but they'd have to be doing cartwheels or something to actually grab my attention.  

I just watch the games.

For me this started with Coaches Corner, then switching to NHL.com, they always blacked out the intermissions so I never watched anyways.

Lately I've been streaming the games on an android box and it also cuts out the commercials and intermissions, except for last night for some reason the extras all played.  Either way, I don't feel like I'm missing anything with the blackout.

I'll be curious to see if they do anything with Tim and Sid.  Those guys were great on the radio, and are basically wasted now in their time slot on TV.
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#19
(2016-03-10, 11:54 AM)colonel mustard Wrote:
(2016-03-10, 11:36 AM)WTTM Wrote:
(2016-03-10, 11:34 AM)colonel mustard Wrote: I mostly pay very little attention to the 'production' of the game.  I watch the game, and spend almost no time or effort following their content between periods or before or after the game.  Perhaps that's a function of production value, but they'd have to be doing cartwheels or something to actually grab my attention.  

I just watch the games.

For me this started with Coaches Corner, then switching to NHL.com, they always blacked out the intermissions so I never watched anyways.

Lately I've been streaming the games on an android box and it also cuts out the commercials and intermissions, except for last night for some reason the extras all played.  Either way, I don't feel like I'm missing anything with the blackout.

I'll be curious to see if they do anything with Tim and Sid.  Those guys were great on the radio, and are basically wasted now in their time slot on TV.

I've noticed that the Sportsnet broadcasts don't blackout the intermissions or commercials,
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#20
(2016-03-10, 11:34 AM)colonel mustard Wrote: I mostly pay very little attention to the 'production' of the game.  I watch the game, and spend almost no time or effort following their content between periods or before or after the game.  Perhaps that's a function of production value, but they'd have to be doing cartwheels or something to actually grab my attention.  

I just watch the games.

This.
"I've been obnoxious.....I've been unconscious.......I've been all kinds of things that are hard to spell."

Stephen Bruton
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