Nobody is Watching Sports Channels


Nobody is Watching Sports Channels
It was a sad time in Canadian broadcasting last week when about 380 people at Bell Media outlets lost their jobs. These moves are devastating not just for those affected by the cuts but the overall quality of radio and television programming. While some are blaming the latest layoffs to corporate restructuring, I have another theory that is highly more accurate.

For the purpose of this forum, I’m focusing on Bell Media’s only sports property, TSN. Contrary to popular belief, the real reason the powers that be made these cuts is because of a decline in viewership. And the reason there is a decline in viewership is because there is hardly any sports on TSN. You see, there was a time when TSN (or The Sports Network) used to be the home of everything sports. And what I mean by sports is talking about the struggles of the Maple Leafs, the success of the Kansas City Royals, and whether Stephen Curry can duplicate his MVP season. Not anymore. In its place are stories about racism, violence, and lifestyle choices. They may involve athletes, coaches, and other sports figures but it has nothing to do with sports. Even on issues like drugs, gambling, and concussions, there is a sense people want to point the finger at the game rather than chalking it up to the actions of the individual. For example, if a hockey player gets knocked down with an open ice hit, the focus will be on the player being allowed to deliver that hit instead of the other player putting himself in a vulnerable position.

For the last number of years, channels like TSN and Sportsnet, and their American counterparts ESPN and FOX Sports, have shifted their focus more towards social issues rather than sports. There are a number of broadcast executives who bought into a false impression that putting on this kind of content will result in an increase in viewers. What it actually did was turn off the true sports fan and made them go elsewhere for their fix. Why do you think Off the Record is now off the air? For the amount of money subscribers are paying to get these channels, many believe it is no longer worth it and have decided to pull the plug on cable.

While Off the Record is gone, shows like The Reporters continue to avoid the axe. It has done nothing to promote sports and too much focus is on the problems going on in our society. Prime Time Sports is another show that has long passed its shelf life. That fact that there is little stuff about sports on these shows should be sufficient grounds to terminate them. You could say Don Cherry does the same on Coach’s Corner. But I would argue that Grapes brings these issues up to respond to the critics while staying true to the subject of hockey.

The decline in television viewing is everywhere whether it is news, sports, business, or entertainment. The media has become a cesspool of liberal junk. You don’t have to listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch FOX News to understand what I am talking about. If we continue to see more of this on TSN or Sportsnet, we will continue to see more people in broadcasting out of work. But as our current Prime Minister would say, it’s 2015, right?

UPDATE (April 28th, 2017):

ESPN have laid off 100 people. This time, many who have been shown the door are reporters and hosts. The announcement comes as the network was about to host the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s been almost two years since I wrote this piece but it seems it’s been only recently that people are starting to realize the real reason there has been a decline in the network’s ratings.

Here’s link to a piece where it pretty much echoes what I have said in this article:
‘SportsCenter’ anchor agrees politics is hurting ESPN.

There are some, however, who are still in denial. Here are just a couple of them:
Conservative Media Is Wrong: Cord Cutting – Not Politics – Led to the Massive Layoffs at ESPN
No, ESPN’s Layoffs Aren’t A Result Of Its ‘Politicization’ Of Sports

Also see:

Sports is the Only Reason to Keep the CBC
Sports Media is Becoming Boring
People Don’t Watch Sports, Fans Do


Nobody’s Perfect

Nobody's Perfect

Photo: AP

My first post in nearly a month. Got lots to catch up on. I like to think I’m perfect. I strive to achieve perfection every day. But I know that I will never reach it. Everyone has flaws. Some more noticeable than others. Which brings me to Ronda Rousey and her first career defeat at UFC 193.

It may seem surprising to some of you but Rousey was never going to run the table. She eventually was going to lose. The question is when and to who. The when was on Saturday. The who was Holly Holm. There is always someone or some team that has another’s number. And more often than not it is the one that is least likely to do it.

It is interesting that the upset victory comes on the same weekend the New England Patriots squared off against the New York Giants. It was the Giants that won Super Bowl 42 and ended the Patriots’ quest in 2007 to become the first NFL team to go the entire season without a loss since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. If Rousey was Tom Brady, Holm became Eli Manning.

After the loss, there have been quite a number of those on social media who were quick to pile on Rousey. But her performance in the fight should not diminish what she has accomplished. Add to that, Holm is probably pissed off that no one is giving her the credit she deserves. Perfection is great but it is hard to achieve. This is what makes sport great. It is about dealing with failure. And down the road, Rousey will dust herself off and get back to what made her successful.

Let this be a lesson for those who think they were born perfect or those who think everyone is perfect. We do expect a lot from those we look up to. But if you actually think everyone is suppose to be perfect you are no smarter than the Kardashian clan. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody.