Posted on

Curling media: CBC basement tapes and Brantford hopes

Curling athlete union boss Pierre Charette has a deal. The NHLPA hockey union bosses do not (yet?)

In case you were wondering, Thursday’s big announcement has received a ton of media play – and not just on Sportsnet or other Rogers-owned platforms.

It is somewhat amusing to see how incredibly small the CBC Sports story (bottom link) actually is. After all, if not for yesterday’s deal, the CBC’s amazing streak of 50 consecutive years of curling coverage would have been destroyed as of this coming December.

It almost appears that a CBC sportswriter or web editor saw the news online, and made a phone call upstairs to management. If so, imagine how his or her end of the conversation might have gone:

Um, hi there, this is XXX down in the basement. Um, we don’t know anything about this… do you know anything about this?

Really? Okay, er, can you give us a quote?

Point of order regarding the Weeks blogpost – although unconfirmed, it sounds as though the existing World Curling Tour stop in Brantford will do just fine despite the big-league Slam dropping in, virtually, on its head. Scuttlebutt says that two pools will be created – A and B – and the B-pool winner, presumably the champion of the standard WCT tournament, will then leap directly into the Masters quarterfinals.

And if it’s done correctly, that would be quite awesome.

Here are some of the stories and videos. Believe it or not, they’re all different…

• Sportsnet purchases Grand Slam of Curling (Sportsnet video/Canadian Press)

• Sportsnet forms event division, slides into curling (Globe Investor)

• Why Rogers hurried hard (Globe Business Video)

• Grand Slam series is back! (Team Kevin Koe)

• What the Sportsnet announcement means for curling (Calgary Herald)

• Rogers stokes Sportsnet growth with curling bid (Financial Post)

• Sportsnet strives to take curling to new heights (National Post)

• Sportsnet purchases Grand Slam rights (Sun Media, Winnipeg)

• Sportsnet takes a chance on Grand Slam of Curling (Toronto Star)

• Sportsnet buys Grand Slam of Curling circuit (Edmonton Journal)

• Martin: Sportsnet deal to help curling’s youth (

• Brantford hits a Grand Slam (Brantford Expositor)

• Rogers gets back into curling (Bob Weeks on Curling)

• Sportsnet grabs Grand Slam of Curling; shares coverage with CBC (Mediacaster)

• Grand Slam of Curling returns to CBC (CBC Sports)


Posted on

Sportsnet new owner of Grand Slam curling

L to R: Scott Moore, Rob Faulds, Pierre Charette and a jet-lagged Kevin Martin at today's announcement

TORONTO – This is truly a “Real” Sports Grill.

Immediately adjacent to the Air Canada Centre, home to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, the Grill is Canada’s biggest sports bar and restaurant. We’re talking about 25,000 square feet of space (not including another 9,000 square feet of retail) with a enormous 39-foot HD TV surrounded by 199 additional HD TVs.

No hockey today, folks. This place is full of curling stakeholders, athletes, fans and media members.

Indeed, Sportsnet made a big announcement today – and it’s not limited to their new broadcast plans for the Grand Slam of Curling series. Sportsnet is now the new owner of the series, having purchased it from Toronto’s Insight Sports Ltd., and will be establishing a new in-house events division. As such, the purchase marks a significant milestone for Sportsnet, as the multi-platform media brand will now expand its diverse portfolio into the events category.

That’s right: Sportsnet will now wholly own and operate the Grand Slam of Curling – the elite series of men’s and women’s curling events, which are part of the World Curling Tour and feature the “best teams from across Canada and around the world.”

“Curling is an essential part of our Canadian sports fabric, and the Grand Slam of Curling is the cream of the crop in international curling events,” said Scott Moore, President, Broadcasting, Rogers Media. “We are proud to own and operate the Grand Slam of Curling, as it furthers Sportsnet’s commitment to producing world-class content, anyplace, anyhow and anywhere and allows us to integrate and engage the sports fan in new and innovative ways. Sportsnet’s new events division intends to grow the Grand Slam of Curling like never before.”

There is clear relief on the face of Pierre Charette, the President of the World Competitive Curlers Association.

“On behalf of the Grand Slam players, we are thrilled to welcome Sportsnet as the new owners of the Grand Slam of Curling,” said Charette. “This is great news for the Canadian curling community as a whole. Sportsnet will operate events that are second-to-none, broadcast more games and take the Grand Slam of Curling to another level.”

The 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling series kicks off with The Masters, taking place in Brantford, Ontario from November 14 to 18. The series will air on Sportsnet and CBC, through a sub-licensing agreement. Additional details regarding the full 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling schedule and broadcast details will be announced in the coming weeks, although Moore did mention negotiations to bring the season-ending Players’ Championship to metro Toronto.

As we predicted yesterday, Kevin Martin is here, and bleary-eyed from an overnight flight from Edmonton. Also on hand is a dapper Brent Laing from Team Glenn Howard, and the defending Players’ Champion winning skip, local boy John Epping.

Mark your calendars. It’s game on!

Posted on

BREAKING: Sportsnet, CBC back on curling ice

Sportsnet debuted this new look in October 2011

Oh, what a wild ride it’s been.

But this is the sport of curling. Would you expect anything less?

The news is poised for official announcement tomorrow morning at the mammoth Real Sports Grill in Toronto. After months of negotiations, Sportsnet and CBC are teaming up to broadcast the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series.

And in the nick of time, too. Three events are confirmed for 2012-13 and the first one gets underway very soon – November in fact – in southern Ontario. Then the Glenn Howards, Niklas Edins, Mike McEwens and Kevins (Martin and Koe) of the curling world will jet to Saskatchewan in late January, before ending the series in southern Ontario in April – in downtown Toronto, of all places, according to sources.

This is amazing news for curling fans. Just a few months after a nasty public fight between CBC and previous Slam rights holder iSport Media and Management, the CBC is back in the curling TV game. But they’re not the big cheese on this particular sheet of ice – that would be Sportsnet, the original broadcaster of World Curling Tour action (circa 1998/99) and the Grand Slam series (circa 2001)… and the same Sportsnet that is embroiled in a teeth-and-nails sports television war with TSN, the official broadcaster of Canadian Curling Association events.

Competition is fun, is it not?

We’re expecting to see Howard in T.O. for tomorrow’s announcement, and perhaps Martin as well – bleary-eyed from a last-minute flight from Edmonton.

Stay tuned to the blog tomorrow for the official word…