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Thread: Sportsnet Falls Short...Time to change the channel?

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    May 2007

    Exclamation Sportsnet Falls Short...Time to change the channel?

    Certainly, they haven't helped CIS Football, they made many promises which all fell flat.
    So now what...

    Scott Hastie • Mar 31, 2017

    The governing body for university sports in Canada signed a long-term contract with Sportsnet in 2013. U Sports was hoping to boost the profile of the league with expanded coverage and a refreshed approach. Instead, ratings are down, fewer events are being broadcast and questions surround what comes next for U Sports on television. The Silhouette looks at how we got here and what may lie ahead.

    There are a number of problems facing university athletics – now known as U Sports after an organizational rebrand in 2016 – but none are bigger than the current television situation. In 2013, Canadian university athletics and Sportsnet joined forces, shifting the broadcast rights from TSN to the other sports channel. The agreement was met with some fanfare because of what it promised. Instead, the next four years would see significant changes, both with U Sports and Sportsnet, casting doubt on the viability and potential of Canadian university sport.
    Sportsnet swoops in

    A reread of the May 2013 press release announcing the six-year Sportsnet television contract reveals how much has changed.

    The Sportsnet executive quoted in the release, Navaid Mansuri, has not been quoted about Canadian university sport since then. The CEO of U Sports, then called Canadian Interuniversity Sport, abruptly resigned in Jan. 2015. That release also boasted that the Score – a television channel bought by Sportsnet – would “be one of the main hubs of CIS coverage”. The Score was renamed “Sportsnet 360” later that year and ditched their coverage of Ontario University Athletics football and basketball in the following year.

    The release ends with a bold claim: “by the end of the six-year partnership in 2018-19, as many as 27 CIS events could air annually on Sportsnet.” Some new sports could get a national spotlight. For athletes and coaches competing in sports like volleyball, rugby and soccer, it felt like their accomplishments would finally be recognized.


    The Sportsnet deal was met with cautious optimism by most followers of the league. That optimism has faded. Instead of galvanizing a league and putting it in the national spotlight, U Sports’ relevance has faded through the contract. Viewership is down, Sportsnet has not broadcasted more events even though that was advertised in the original press release, and the total visibility has been limited to three weekends a year. What, if anything, comes next for U Sports on TV will provide more detail on the property’s long-term viability.

    Last edited by Spud's cyclesguy; 2017-03-31 at 16:19.
    Everything goes in cycles!

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