The Los Angeles Kings hoisted their second Stanley Cup in 3 years on Friday night. Their victory over the New York Rangers in the finals not only marked the end of the 2013-2014 NHL season, but also marked the end of Hockey Night in Canada. At least, as how we know it.
There’s been a lot of talk about the future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (or as some would call it the Communist Broadcasting Corporation) after the loss of national NHL broadcast rights earlier this year. The CBC will continue to air hockey games on Saturday nights but the new deal will see them relinquishing their rights to content and advertising revenue to Rogers Communications.
Much as been made about the amount of tax dollars being poured into the CBC over the years. Critics have rightly pointed out its left-leaning content and journalistic approach. But one area I do feel the CBC has a purpose is in sports programming. Forget about Dragon’s Den, Rick Mercer or George Stroumboulopoulos. Sports, particularly hockey, is the only reason the CBC exists today.
The CBC’s approach to sports programming is impeccable. No one other broadcaster, public or private, has been able to capture the moment and present it to the viewer better than the CBC. I mean, what other program can get hundreds of thousands of people to gather at homes, bars, and even shopping malls like the Stanley Cup finals or the Olympic Men’s hockey gold medal game? I don’t think David Suzuki can attract even a fraction of that number.
Outside of sports, the CBC is dull. It has become nothing more than a pet project for people with liberal or socialist ideas. I’ve heard some say the loss of the CBC would kill a piece of Canada, whatever that really means. But it’s kind of ironic that the most popular personalities on the CBC are Kevin O’Leary, Rex Murphy, and Don Cherry, three men who are capable of turning Bill O’Reilly into Keith Olbermann.
So if the CBC wants to stay in business, the executives at the public broadcaster better find a way to strengthen its sports assets. Because right now, it’s the only area that’s pulling its weight.