OTTAWA – Stunning news today from the Canadian Curling Association (CCA) and The Sports Network (TSN) as a new TV curling broadcast deal has been signed.
TSN will replace the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as exclusive TV rights holder for CCA properties from 2008 through to the 2013-14 season.
CBC is the present rights holder and currently subcontracts TSN for round-robin coverage of the "Big Three" Canadian events: the Tim Hortons Brier, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and the Ford World Championships (alternating men's and women's championships in Canada).
It's a six-year broadcast and multimedia deal, crossing platforms such as broadband, mobile, video-on-demand, interactive television, podcasts and even rights for radio broadcasts. TSN "intends to fully leverage these rights to continue in its efforts to build and grow Canada's curling audiences, reaching out for the first time to new and existing fans on multi-platforms."
The deal also includes – as of 2008 – the return of morning draw action. In addition, TSN's parent network, CTV, may carry selected matches.
Phil King, TSN President:
TSN has always been a staunch supporter of curling in Canada, and this deal further establishes curling as a cornerstone of the network's programming leading up to the 2010 Olympic Games and beyond. TSN's commitment to the sport for the past two decades has been paramount in making curling the TV-friendly broadcast it is today and helped put curling on the map in Canada.
Dave Parkes, Canadian Curling Association CEO:
Unprecedented coverage and the return of morning draws will be embraced by our fans and viewers across the country and around the world. This agreement and a strengthened relationship with TSN ensures a positive, exciting and long-term future for our sport.
Other partners, from the CCA's Season of Champions sponsor family to the World Curling Players' Association, have weighed in with words of media support.
Les Harrison, World Curling Federation President:
The World Curling Federation recognizes the value of securing long-term predictability in a broadcast partner and is very pleased that the CCA's agreement with TSN will span two Winter Olympic Games.
Paul Boutilier, WCPA President:
When a major national broadcaster like TSN commits to a 50 per cent increase in the amount of live curling coverage, it's clear that the players are extremely happy.
Unhappy is the CBC, which apparently received a "perfunctory courtesy call" on Thursday morning, and was not involved in any negotiating processes. CBC was Canadian curling's first broadcaster, and has been involved in the sport for 40 years. Meanwhile, TSN has been involved in the sport since 1984, with the current (and continuing) broadcast tandem of Vic Rauter, Linda Moore and Ray Turnbull developing a devoted following.
Let the debates begin anew!