Sports and the CBC

The senate transportation and communications committee released a report (see CBC story here) today in which they recommend, among other things, that the CBC get out of pro sports and the Olympics. They say these should be left to the private broadcasters. I disagree with this, partially.

I think Hockey Night in Canada should continue to be shown on CBC because it is a tradition. It is something that you can count on. I want to know that I will be able to watch hockey games on Saturday night and that I will be able to see most, if not all, of the Canadian teams in the playoffs. Private broadcasters are not this reliable. In the states most of the Stanley cup playoff games shown were on OLN, a specialty channel. By keeping hockey on the CBC, we can ensure that a large portion of the population has the option of seeing it, if they so please. Before I had cable I could happily watch the games with my bunny ears (actually, it was a paper clip attached to alligator clips but it worked the same), but if the games were left to the private broadcasters, I might not get to see any games.

However, hockey is the only sport that I think should stay on CBC. CFL doesn't really matter to me. I'm sure other people want to see it, but CBC usually only broadcasts the second half of the season, which is what you might find with any private broadcaster. They hope that fans stay interested during the summer and those that do will come to watch come fall.

The main argument against dropping all sports from CBC is that private networks won't want to juggle their prime-time line-up to fit in sporting events. An example of this is the World Cup, which is being shown on TSN and Sportsnet, specialty channels, for all but the final game. The final game will be shown on CTV because it is on a Sunday afternoon, thus not interfering with the precious American imported prime-time slots. Another example is the lack of any mid-week broadcasts of hockey in Calgary or Edmonton. These teams just don't have the possible huge market share that Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal might, but usually don't, draw, so it isn't a good idea to play these games when American Idol or Desperate Housewives will give much higher advertising dollars.

I think that is enough for now, but you should be wary that the Conservative government doesn't think citizens should have to pay for things they don't use, like the CBC, and will jump at the chance to reduce funding even further.