Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mullin View Post
I'll say this. We are placing Canadians in the NCAA and USports side by side on a network which does not have the latter. I see that as a major victory in terms of delivering a point of contact to a new audience. Quite frankly, I'm disappointed but not surprised by the reaction to the new format in this space. However, the core audience needs to realize (and TV numbers have proven this) that in English Canada, the base audience for the USPORTS product at this hour is the one percent of the one percent. At this stage, we are at a point of reintroducing the basics around the sport after lacking weekly national exposure on national broadcast TV. If that's not good enough for some here, so be it. The folks here are already fans, we are just trying to engage new ones and a USPORTS-only show would not have been entertained on our current platform.
I understand the reaction, because Canadians tend to be protective of their culture. They need to be, given that our own institutions are constantly under threat of being overshadowed and overtaken by larger US competition.

I imagine a lot of CFL fans would react similarly if a weekly show about Canadian pro football spent a lot of its time talking about Canadians in the NFL rather than talking about the CFL. A lot of CFL fans see the growing attention towards the NFL in Canada as a threat to the CFL's long term existence. NFL fans who consider it the only "real" football don't help. These attitudes make it harder to make a show that caters to those who are just fans of football in general.

Still, I tend to agree that any coverage of USports football at all is better than none. This isn't like NFL vs CFL, where both have large audiences in Canada. NCAA football is so far ahead of USports football in the Canadian media landscape that we don't really need to worry about USports being threatened by a slight bump NCAA may get out of this added coverage. That part is ultimately insignificant to USports. We need to worry more about building up a viable TV audience for USports period. We can worry about competition from NCAA later, if/when USports gets itself into the discussion.

For TSN, this format makes a lot of sense, because it is highlighting players from both sides of the border who are likely to factor into the CFL Draft and future CFL rosters. The CFL is their biggest exclusive property, so everything that feeds into it is good for them. What'd be even better for TSN (and probably us) is if TSN could get the broadcasting rights for USports football. Then they could start making promotional links and growing the USports audience through their CFL audience. They clearly have a desire to cover the whole gamut of football in Canada given that they now cover a Canadian high school prospects games.