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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
CTV, Rogers score TV rights to NFL
Goodbye to Canwest Global

GRANT ROBERTSON AND KEITH MCARTHUR
With files from reporter William Houston

May 23, 2007 at 8:22 AM EDT

Canada's biggest networks have yet to reveal their fall television schedules, but the ratings war has already been ratcheted up after CTV and Rogers grabbed the rights to National Football League games away from rival CanWest Global Communications Corp.

After several weeks of negotiations, CTVglobemedia Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. announced yesterday they had won the NFL rights for Canada and would split the league's Sunday and playoff schedules for the next three years. According to sources, CTV and Rogers will pay between $10-million and $15-million per season.

CTV will broadcast the early games while Rogers has secured the late afternoon matchup on its Sportsnet and OMNI cable channels. The Super Bowl, which is among the biggest draws on Canadian television, will be shown on CTV after 25 years on Global.

"It's been 25 years and it's like a divorce almost. You don't leave your partner of 25 years very easily. It was a very tough call for us," said Charles White, vice-president of international media for the NFL.



Mr. White said the deciding factor in CTV's favour was that its TSN affiliate already airs the NFL's Monday Night Football games, as well as some of the Sunday night schedule.

The new agreement comes as CanWest and CTV are in Los Angeles bidding on the top new U.S. shows to fill out their upcoming season schedules.

Industry observers suggested the deal is part of an escalating battle in the industry that saw the networks spend record amounts on U.S. programming last year.

However, Mr. White said "money was not the determining factor."

In addition to the CTV-TSN synergy, the NFL had other concerns, including the rebranding of CanWest's secondary CH network under the entertainment banner E! Some NFL games had been carried on CH.

"At first blush, it doesn't strike you as the best fit. We did think about that," Mr. White said, although he stressed the rebranding wasn't the determining factor. The NFL also was concerned that Global missed part of some playoff broadcasts last year because of the insertion of commercials.

CTV president Rick Brace said his network was approached "a few weeks ago" by the NFL about its interest in bidding for the contract. CTV had concerns about the late afternoon game, as it would potentially disrupt its Sunday evening schedule. The league told CTV it already had an interested bidder for the late games, which CTV assumed was Rogers, and could parcel out the early afternoon game.

CTVglobemedia, which owns CTV and The Globe and Mail, teamed up with Rogers to outbid CBC for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics two years ago. However, executives at CTV said they negotiated the NFL deal separately from Rogers.

In a statement, Canwest said it wanted to keep the NFL rights, but indicated the price may have become too rich to justify. "The business reality presented wasn't one that we deemed economically sound in the long term for our networks, or our advertising partners," said Barbara Williams, CanWest's senior vice-president of programming and production.

Sportsnet president Doug Beeforth said his network already carries plenty of football, baseball and basketball games, but wanted more football. "Football was the one piece of the pro North American sports menu that we really hadn't had the opportunity to get involved in. So that's why this was so important to us."

While a typical Sunday NFL game drew 300,000 to 500,000 viewers on Global, the big prize is the Super Bowl, which drew 3.4 million viewers in English Canada in February. Ad rates for the Super Bowl are higher because advertisers pay a premium to be in a program where viewers have been trained to watch the ads. A 30-second commercial in the most recent Super Bowl broadcast cost just under $100,000, and at about $65,000 for the Grey Cup.

"What it gives us, especially in the playoffs and the Super Bowl, is among the highest-profile sports properties that's available out there," Mr. Brace said. The move comes a few months after CBC locked up a six year-agreement for the rights to Hockey Night in Canada, which CTVglobemedia was said to be coveting. The public broadcaster paid an estimated $100-million per season.

"I guess they had some money left over because they didn't win the Hockey Night in Canada rights, CBC ended up keeping that," said Carl Bayard, an analyst with Desjardins Securities in Montreal.

***

CANWEST GLOBAL

Close: $10.12, down 22 cents

ROGERS COMMUNICATIONS

Close: $44.40, up 16 cents

***

Viewership for the big games

2007 SUPER BOWL

Global (English): 3.4 million

RDS (French): 816,000

Total: 4.2 million

2006 GREY CUP

CBC (English): 3.2 million

RDS (French): 810,000

Total: 4 million

2006 STANLEY CUP

Final: Game 7

CBC (English): 4.7 million

RDS (French): 961,000

Total: 5.7 million

2002 OLYMPIC MEN'S HOCKEY: GOLD MEDAL GAME

CBC (English): 8.7 million

Radio-Canada TV (French): 1.6 million

Total: 10.3 million
 

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It's amazing how far football has fallen in favour or a foreign league with not a single team in this country. The 1982 Grey Cup was watched by 1 in 3 Canadians. It holds the record for the biggest television audience in Canadian history. It would translate into almost 11 million viewers today.

What a coup for the Americans. In 25 years, they got Canada to abandon a game Canadians invented in favour of an American version of it despite playing zero games in Canada. Can you imagine Americans abandoning the SuperBowl to watch the Grey Cup? Yes, it would be ridiculous. Americans support their teams and culture, Canadians gaze at how green the grass is on the other side of the fence.

Football got eclipsed by US Football simply because of the size of the television market in the US versus Canada. Football's only hope is to close that gap and continue to sign tv contracts overseas. Perhaps in 42 years, the CFL can claw it's way back to become the dominant league it once was.

42 years ago, there wasn't even a SuperBowl. The Canadian Football League was the world's premier gridiron league.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
^ yup, the Grey Cup has been around since 1909.



well, Grey Cup and Superbowl ratings in Canada are leveled with each other.

2007 SUPER BOWL
Global (English): 3.4 million
RDS (French): 816,000
Total: 4.2 million

2006 GREY CUP
CBC (English): 3.2 million
RDS (French): 810,000
Total: 4 million


I believe the 2005 Grey Cup here in Vancouver drew a 10-year ratings high of 3.7 million viewers on CBC, after seeing huge losses in previous years. But for some reason, it dropped in 2006.
 

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Hopefully, we'll get 5 million+ Canadians watching our national championship. Hopefully, we'll one day get back to 1 in 3 watching and make it as integral to the national fabric as it once was.
 

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The thing that's funny is the NFL is not by any means a better brand of football than the CFL. In my opinion, the CFL is more exciting to watch than the NFL. Pass-focused offenses, faster-paced games, and an overall better offensive show are three things that characterize the CFL. Run-based offenses, a lethargic style of play, and commercial-flooded broadcasts are what the NFL is all about. The Superbowl isn't even a football game. It's an advertising bonanza.

I think people choose the NFL because they've seen one or two people do it and they're too insecure to choose what's really better football to watch over the star-studdedness of the NFL.
 

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The thing that's funny is the NFL is not by any means a better brand of football than the CFL. In my opinion, the CFL is more exciting to watch than the NFL. .
i think most football fans would disagree with this....the talent level is not even close, some ppl just want to see the best of the best.
 

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It's stickied at SSP. Although that was because for a couple weeks a lot of new concerning the media came out, and mods wanted to keep the amount of threads low for more important discussion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ticket sales brisk for 2007 Grey Cup
Upper bowl at Rogers Centre in Toronto sold out for Nov. 25 game

Last Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2007 | 8:27 PM ET
CBC Sports

The entire upper bowl at Rogers Centre in Toronto has been sold out for the 95th Canadian Football League championship on Nov. 25.

"We are overwhelmed by the pace of ticket sales for Grey Cup," Brad Watters, general manager of the 2007 event, said Thursday. "The Toronto market has embraced Canada's game and welcomed it back after a 15-year absence. This is sure to be the party of the year."

Details of the Grey Cup festival will be announced at a launch party on May 28 at 4 p.m. at Ultra Supper Club in downtown Toronto.

The Argonauts' home opener on June 28 against the B.C. Lions, the defending Cup champions, will have a special Grey Cup theme to give fans a glimpse of what to expect.

Toronto last hosted the Grey Cup in 1992 when Calgary defeated Winnipeg 24-10.

Lions kicker Paul McCallum nailed all six of his field-goal attempts in a 25-14 victory over Montreal in the 94th Grey Cup last Nov. 19 in Winnipeg.

The Montreal Alouettes will host the 2008 Grey Cup at Olympic Stadium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
CTV told to give up some TV stations in CHUM takeover deal
Fri Jun 8, 2007 1:05 PM EDT144


OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's broadcast regulator approved the purchase of radio and television group CHUM Ltd. by media conglomerate CTVglobemedia on Friday.

However, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) blocked the transfer to CTVglobemedia of five of CHUM's Citytv stations -- those in Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

CTVglobemedia is owned by Bell Canada (BCE.TO: Quote), the Thomson family's Woodbridge Co., Torstar Corp. (TSb.TO: Quote) and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. The decision allows it to acquire seven television stations, 34 radio stations and, in whole or in part, 20 specialty-television services, the CRTC said.

It currently operates 21 conventional TV stations, has stakes in 15 specialty channels and also owns the Globe and Mail newspaper.

It made a friendly C$1.7 billion ($1.6 billion) offer last July for CHUM, which is controlled by the Waters family.

CRTC Chairman Konrad von Finckenstein said CTVglobemedia had asked for exceptions to rules that a licensee may not operate more than one convention television station in one language in a given market.

It "asked for the exception using arguments based upon competitive equality and the impact of new media. However, the commission was not convinced by (its) arguments," von Finckenstein said in a statement.

CTVglobemedia released a brief statement saying it was "carefully reviewing" the CRTC's decision and would comment only after that review is finished.

In April, a unit of Rogers Communications Inc. (RCIb.TO: Quote) agreed to buy a number of TV stations from CTVglobemedia for C$137.5 million. CTVglobemedia had earlier committed to sell those stations to clear regulatory hurdles in its purchase of CHUM.

The deal with Rogers is subject to CRTC and Competition Bureau approval, as well as the CRTC's approval of CTVglobemedia's acquisition of CHUM.

($1=$1.06 Canadian)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here's some data from the week of March 25th - April 1st, 2007 (picked at random) for the Vancouver area:

1) Survivor: Fiji: 403,000
2) CSI: 355,000
3) HNIC Game 2 (Canucks vs. Calgary): 330,000
4) House: 319,000
5) Sportsnet Canucks (I think this is an average of the Tuesday and Thursday games that week): 268,000
6) American Idol (Tuesday): 257,000
7) News Hour: 251,000
8) American Idol (Wednesday): 246,000
9) 24: 227,000
10) Law and Order: SVU: 201,000



Now compared to other teams' markets, here's some data from Feb 26 - Mar 4, 2007:

Toronto:
Sportsnet Ontario -- Leafs: 340,000
CBC HNIC, Game 1: 316,000 (Leafs vs. Sabres)

Calgary:

CBC HNIC, Game 2: 135,000 (Flames vs. Oilers)
Sportsnet West -- Flames: 96,000


Vancouver:

Sportsnet Pacific -- Canucks: 249,000
CBC HNIC, Game 2: 166,000 (Flames vs. Oilers)
CBC HNIC, Game 1: 156,000 (Leafs vs. Sabres


Two other HNIC games in the Vancouver market (ones where the Canucks actually played):

CBC HNIC Game 2: 297,000 (Thrashers @ Canucks, Feb. 10)
CBC HNIC Game 2: 322,000 (Canucks @ Flames, Feb. 3)


Basically, Canucks hockey is doing tremendously well versus other TV programs, and given the market size, it does as well or better than any other team. The Leafs had 90,000 more viewers in this week on Sportsnet, but their market size is much larger than that of Vancouver's (As a means of comparison, in that same week mentioned above for Vancouver's overall ratings, CSI which had only 355,000 viewers in Vancouver had 804,000 in Toronto. That helps illustrate the difference in market size). Vancouver's numbers are also almost equal to Toronto's for HNIC. Compare the Toronto-Buffalo game with 316,000 viewers to the two Canucks HNIC games with 297,000 and 322,000. Clearly Vancouver has the edge given the difference in market size.

Also interesting is that more people watched the Flames vs. Oilers game on HNIC in Vancouver than did in Calgary (I know Vancouver has a much bigger market than Calgary, but it's still kind of funny).

The Canucks have been very popular the last few years. You go around other canadian cities and arenas and the presence of canucks fans is amazing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am very disapointed in CTV's position. They promised during their mandate of the 2010 and 2012 Olympic broadcasting contracts that they would increased coverage of amateur sports by 50% and you would think with the success of long trackers in Torino this would be a non-issue.

Maybe ISU is asking too much, but I wish CTV/Rogers would live up to its promise!



Skate events pose Olympic problem
Vancouver could lose international events before 2010 Games if deal with CTV not reached

Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun
Published: Monday, July 02, 2007

GUATEMALA CITY - A proposal by the International Skating Union to hold three major competitions in Vancouver in advance of the 2010 Winter Games is in jeopardy because of a dispute between the ISU and the city's games organizing committee and its television rights holder, CTV.

Octavio Cinquanta, the president of the ISU and also a powerful member of the International Olympic Committee's executive board, told The Vancouver Sun he is considering cancelling an offer to bring the three events to Vancouver in 2008-2009 because he has been unable to sign a $16-million, four-year broadcast contract with CTV.

The three events, world championships in figure skating and long-track speed-skating and a World Cup event in short-track speed-skating, are supposed to be used by the Vancouver organizing committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (Vanoc) as tests to make sure their venues are ready for the Winter Games.

But Cinquanta, who is also on the IOC's Vancouver Coordination Commission and was one of Vancouver's biggest supporters in its bid, said if he can't persuade CTV to pay for a package of up to 50 world events during the next four years, or at a minimum have Vanoc underwrite part of the cost of the three championships, he will have no choice but to pull them.

He said he even offered a similar deal to CBC, the outgoing Olympic broadcast rights holder, without success. Two years ago, CTV outbid CBC for the rights to the 2010 Winter and 2012 Summer Games with a $161.7 million offer.

"If I do not find a TV company interested in taking this signal, then you have the prospect in Canada that you will not see these events. I cannot impose on CTV or CBC to take these signals," Cinquanta said.

Cinquanta, who expressed considerable frustration during an interview with The Vancouver Sun, said the deal is the same one that the ISU has offered to the past five hosts of the Winter Games, and all except the Canadians have accepted.
"I am very much surprised. You have to tell me something. Were the other organizing committees crazy when we offered this deal to them and they took it? Ever since I have been president in 1994, we offered this to the host cities and they took it. But the Canadians are saying no, they can't afford it.

"If they do not, there will be no televised events in Canada. If the Canadians do not want to see these kind of competitions, then we will go to Asia, Europe and North America and not Canada."

But Vanoc CEO John Furlong expressed optimism that a deal of some sort will be worked out before fall. He said it was a complicated issue because Vanoc has no responsibility for providing broadcasts, but wants to have the prestige of holding the international events when testing the readiness of its facilities.

"We're in discussion with the ISU about test events, and I believe we are headed towards a solution that will see those test events happen in Vancouver and the financial considerations around those events will get reconciled," he said.

CTV president Rick Brace said in a telephone interview Monday that the ISU proposal was too expensive for his network. He said he wanted to broadcast the three Vancouver events, but not the rest, and would consider a deal if Cinquanta was willing to unhook them from the package.

"From the terms and conditions the ISU was offering, we couldn't make it work. From a financial point of view it was too expensive" Brace said. "I am not hopeful of anything. It's clearly up to Octavio to separate the test events from the rest of the package."

Brace said viewership for figure skating has been declining in recent years and CTV couldn't justify the expense of producing the broadcasts without guaranteed advertising revenues.

Furlong said Vanoc could use national championships to test its facilities, but prefers the ISU events. However, it can't be at an additional cost to the committee.

"The problem is this is a three-party situation and our only objective is to have good test events [so] that we can test that our systems are properly prepared for the games. That's our No. 1 objective. We need to be able to do these test events without having to take on an excessive amount of extra financial risk."

But Cinquanta said he offered to sweeten the deal, in which CTV would have exclusive advertising rights in return for producing the international broadcasts for the three championships. The ISU would pay all prize monies and contribute $250,000 to the Canadian sports federations involved, and Vanoc would keep ticket revenues.

In return, CTV would have broadcast access to a suite of about 50 events, starting with a number of races in 2007-2008. Most of those are elsewhere in the world. But so far, he said, the answer has been no.

"I kept offering. I offered that we would put up the prize money, and we would donate about $250,000 to the sports federations. I told the CTV they could keep the advertising," he said. "All we wanted them to do was to pay for the television production, and that was for only one of the four years. The other years they would get the signal from the other countries that host the other events."

The issue also arose during a closed-door briefing Vanoc gave to the IOC's executive board on its progress in organizing the games. Cinquanta complained to the board about the impasse, but IOC president Jacques Rogge quickly sidestepped the issue, saying Rene Fasel, the chairman of the Vancouver Coordination Commission, would try to resolve it between Vanoc, the ISU and CTV.

"This is not an IOC matter," IOC representative Giselle Davies said later.
[email protected]

Jeff Lee, The Sun's 2010 Olympics reporter, is in Guatemala for the IOC's 119th session. He'll be reporting throughout the week on the selection of the successor to Vancouver's Games.



© Vancouver Sun
 
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