partnered up with EastLink TV, Shaw and NBA TV Canada to broadcast both upcoming Final 8 tournaments live is ... well ... okay in the end, provided that you happen to have the right regional channels.
From the release:
EastLink TV will have live broadcast of the men’s semifinals on March 10 and the gold-medal final on March 11. Dan Robertson (play-by-play) and Cecil Wright (colour) are set to call the action from the Metro Centre.
In addition, there will be a tape-delay (and multiple encore viewings!) on NBA TV Canada.
Coverage will be live, yes, but without knowing exactly what EastLink TV is, I can say Shaw is a cable channel in Western Canada that is so far down the dial that attracting new viewers to the sport or the product will be near impossible. Unlike previous years when the final was shown live (with Showron Glover providing quite a show at Scotiabank Place) to being relegated to tape-delay on TSN2, the Final 8's final games will now be in a spot where only a few die-hards will be able to even notice.
EastLink seems to be primarily a maritime outlet, which means that fans Quebec and west may be out of luck if we want to watch the game on an actual TV. But wait!
EastLink and Shaw will make their live feeds for all games available to all regional cable carriers in areas not served by the host broadcaster, ensuring fans across the nation will be able to watch the events live.
The deal allows the CIS to say that the Final 8 is being shown live cross-country, although both those terms come with an asterisk. If you miss any action, NBA TV Canada will have the tape-delay, which is of little comfort if you already know the result. Sports just aren't as fun when they aren't live or when you have to watch via a webcast (though as Rob has pointed out in our e-mail discussion before I wrote this, it likely wouldn't be webcast-level camera-work and commentary, but a more-palatable TV broadcast on your computer).
Compared to the Vanier Cup (an excellent event) and the national semifinals, as well as the OUA championship game, being broadcast live on national high-definition TV, the treatment of the CIS Final 8 is lacking for an event that ought to be just as big. Regional TV just won't attract any fans to the game, unfortunately.
On the plus side, however, check out who's doing play-by-play and colour for the Shaw broadcast for the women's semis and finals:
Shaw will provide live coverage of the women’s semis on March 18 and the title match on March 19, with Jim Mullin (play-by-play) and Howard Tsumura (colour) entertaining CIS basketball fans from the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.
So, there's that. But if you don't live in Western Canada (excluding select cities in Ontario) you won't be able to watch the women's games live.
I don't know why we can't just watch these games live, on TV and cross-country. It seems like a logical enough move.