Media: Channel which would showcase CIS caught in CRTC red tape

Some of you might recall hearing about CBC's proposed sports channel that would highly amateur and Canadian sports. There's also been talk of one started by the Canadian Olympic Committee

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.'

" ... 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."
There are a lot of angles which may be pursued.

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.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. It's unfortunate to hear this. I was quite impressed by Moore's plans for the channel when I spoke to him; it sounded like it could be a nice mix of Olympic sports and university sports coverage. In my mind, more Canadian sports channels would be a good thing even without CIS coverage. There are a wide variety of sports fans up here, and more sports channels means more programming. Even if the new channel didn't wind up showing CIS events itself, it might take a few other events from other channels, and they might then go to CIS content in response.

  2. No worries, Andrew, the dreams never die, just the dreamers! As soon as I saw that, I felt for you, because that was a great article for the QJ and the blog.

    I would point out it's usually a tough slog getting through the CRTC. Ask the people who worked to get a jazz station on air in Ottawa. It's a tough sell with anything that's "off the Top 40."

    We have tax credits for film and TV producers. Why can't we have them for sports broadcasting?