Tuesday, May 22, 2007

CTV GRABS THE NFL


The big news of the day is that CTV has made another big sports acquisition. Fresh off of robbing CBC of the Olympics and the CFL (to be shown exclusively on TSN), and having made a run at Hockey Night in Canada, now CTV have turned their sights on Global TV. They have successfully robbed Global of the NFL and have basically put that whole sports operation right out of business.

CTV will carry the early game on the full network and also the entire playoffs and Super Bowl, while Rogers will take over the 4PM broadcast that used to be carried on CH. Sportsnet will show the games in most of the country but Toronto station Omni 2 will air games on broadcast TV in Ontario. This is actually a return to NFL coverage for Rogers as their Omni 1/CFMT station carried the 4PM games for many years. These deals runs through 2009. Suffice it to say that for CTV this makes up for not getting the NHL. In fact, this is a much better fit for CTV because the NFL always gets big ratings, and they don't have to worry about pre-empting American Idol to make room for playoff games.

In addition, CTV's cable property TSN carries the Sunday night and Monday night NFL games, and of course will soon carry the entire CFL package. So CTV/TSN will be cleaning up covering football. As for Global, well, this is a death blow.

What the heck is Global going to carry now? Golf?! Auto racing?! Really, this is the end for Global as a major sports broadcaster. They got rid of their sports departments and cancelled what used to be Sportsline, and now they've lost the NFL which has been a bedrock of their programming for years. They scheduled Deal or No Deal Canada after the Super Bowl last year to take advantage of the big ratings from the big game. Now it's gone to CTV for big money. That's a complete meltdown, folks.

I know people were writing about all the problems CBC Sports was having when they lost the Olympics, curling and the CFL, but what just happened to Global today makes CBC's problems look miniscule in comparison. At least CBC still managed to land Major League Soccer and the World Cup, and were negotiating for Blue Jays games the last time I checked. And they still got to keep the only properties that really mattered to them, Hockey Night in Canada and the Stanley Cup! Those guys at the CBC are in great shape compared to what Global is going through right now, losing their top sports property to the arch-rivals. And not just any archrivals, but CTV!!!!

This NFL deal is a major coup for CTV, which now can brand itself as the football network in this country. What hockey is to CBC, football is to CTV.

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