Tuesday, February 08, 2005

CBC TAKING LOSS OF OLYMPICS HARD

Here's an article on the CBC's reaction to losing the whole Olympic Games to CTV. (Big heads up to Adam Daifallah whose site linked to this story, so that's how I learned about it. He calls it a blow to the CBC but a "win for freedom".)

It's really sad for the people who probably will end up losing their jobs at the CBC over this, there's been enough layoffs over there already because they bet the hat on the NHL, but on the flip side, they're going to have to create a bunch of jobs over at CTV in order to make a go of it covering the Olympic Games, and CTV's going to have to turn to the CBC's personnel, because among other things, CTV and Rogers are planning saturation coverage on several channels. So I'm sure most of CBC's Olympic people will find jobs. But keep in mind, in 2006 and 2008 the CBC still has the rights to the Games. This won't happen overnight.

As for whether or not to continue to show amateur athletics on Saturday afternoons: you know, I don't think it's a good reason for any television network to show amateur athletics on TV in order to promote amateur sports, or for nationalistic reasons or for the good of the country or for any silly reason like that. The only good reason is if people will watch. That's it! If the CBC thinks it can make money covering these amateur sports that they cover on Saturdays and people keep tuning in, they should keep covering them. Otherwise, put on the cartoons. You laugh, but heck, that's what they're doing on Saturday nights these days, they're showing cartoons! They should call it Disney Night in Canada. Yes, Movie Night in Canada is boring as heck, but at least the CBC is making money and people at home are watching. That's the bottom line.

It's too bad, I feel bad for the CBC because they've always done a great job covering the Olympic Games, but free enterprise is free enterprise, and the reality is that sports broadcasting is a big business. Rights to sporting events come and they go. CTV and Rogers put in a spectacular bid and they're promising 24-hours-a-day coverage of the Olympic Games on several channels, and they showed the IOC the money. From what I've heard, they're attempting the greatest coverage of the Olympics that the world has ever seen, and good on them. I hope it works out. It's too bad the CBC lost, but that's business. They do not have a God-given right to the Olympic Games. Besides, I don't want the CBC spending like crazy just to have the Olympics. By refusing to break the bank for the Olympic rights, the CBC did the responsible, right thing. Their bid got beat by a good 40 million dollars. They lost fair and square. If they had matched CTV/Rogers' bid and won the rights, the CBC could well have taken a bath on the Olympic Games and boy, what a scandal that would have been. At least if CTV loses their shirts it's all their own money.

There's speculation out there now that the CBC could wind up losing Hockey Night in Canada eventually to private broadcasters, that HNIC might be priced right out of the CBC's range. But I wouldn't worry. If the NHL keeps on destroying itself, nobody will want the games anyway. The rights for the NHL will be dirt-cheap! The league would be practically GIVING the rights away!

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