William Houston, whose Truth & Rumours now comes in in blog form since his retirement from the Globe & Mail, reported earlier tonight the latter channel has been "sandbagged." The CRTC has been "blithely green-lighting an influx of American amateur programming into Canada" such as The Big 10 Network (which Rogers has launched), which only stokes the anger.
" 'It’s been two and half years,' said one of the organizers. 'We’ve spent over a million dollars hard cash, of investors' cash, and (CRTC chairman Konrad) von Finkelstein continues to push it to the side. It’s unbelievable.'There are a lot of angles which may be pursued.
" ... The speculation is von Finkelstein is rolling over for the distributors – Rogers, Shaw, Bell, etc. They’re opposed to the amateur channel, because it would be designated a must-carry and distributors would be required to pay a fee to the channel’s owners, a cost that would be passed onto the consumer.
"But the cost wouldn’t be much and a large amount of the profit would be transferred to Canada’s amateur athletes and coverage of amateur sports events."
Last fall, our own Andrew Bucholtz interviewed CBC Sports boss Scott Moore, who said, "We feel that Canada’s athletes, both amateur and professional, are underserved. ... I think CIS sport is something that’s under-televised at the moment, underserved perhaps, and it would be an area that we would be perhaps be interested in.”
As for CBCSportsPlus, a separate venture (just to be clear) it's not clear what's happening, but please keep in mind it's just hard to start a new channel in this economy. Either way, it seems like there's some major wheel-spinning with both applications.
Most who read this site would like to see more CIS games get a wider airing than simply on community cable.
Houston's word on this is gold, given his inside-and-out knowledge of the industry. If he says it wouldn't cost the cable companies much to add the channel the COC wants to start, then it really wouldn't cost them much.
Canadian Interuniversity Sport has to do more to get itself out there than hope someone else will come to the rescue, but that's another post.