Close to joint deal on coverage

The Canadian Curling Association is on the verge of signing an agreement to share television...

The Canadian Curling Association is on the verge of signing an agreement to share television coverage between the CBC and TSN. (Edmonton Sun File/Darryl Dyck)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 7:19 AM ET

The "Moose" is on the loose for some new ties.

You know, those flashy ones that grab attention whenever Winnipeg's Ray Turnbull appears on TSN's curling broadcasts. That's because it looks like Turnbull will be back on air with Linda Moore and Vic Rauter this curling year.

The Canadian Curling Association is expected to announce within days that both TSN and CBC will share curling coverage this season -- following the fiasco of CBC attempting to go it alone last year.

"There is nothing signed as of today," CCA president Jerry Shoemaker said yesterday. "But we do believe we are close. We are very close to making an announcement and that would in terms of days."

No comment

Although a TSN spokesperson issued an official "no comment," both Turnbull and Moore had been asked if they would be available to return "a long time ago."

"I knew there was something brewing but I haven't heard anything official yet," Turnbull added. "But my gut feeling is, yeah, I think it's going to happen.

"I'm more than anxious to get back. I've got to get some new ties. My clothier will be excited to hear it."

Slammed

Should the new deal indeed become official, TSN would share the broadcasts with CBC for the Canadian Curling Trials, the men's and women's national championships and at least one world championship. As before, TSN would broadcast the afternoon and evening draws during the week, with CBC finishing off with the playoffs and finals.

It would also mean that the Olympic trials would get TV coverage even if the CBC lockout extends into December.

Both the CCA and CBC had been slammed for the exclusive four-year deal signed a year ago. It meant less TV coverage of Canada's major events and CBC even attempted to show prime-time games on its digital affiliate -- at a cost to viewers. Curling fans were up in arms all last winter, with many even demanding that Dave Parkes be removed as CCA CEO because he was the one ultimately responsible for agreeing to such a reprehensible pact.

"We've been working hard all summer to get this resolved," Shoemaker said.

In fact, Parkes attempted to pull out of the CBC deal, only to be threatened with a lawsuit.

"The sooner we get the TV issue resolved, the better it is for everybody, including our fans and sponsors," said Manitoba Curling Association executive director Ian Staniloff. "If that's the case (new deal including TSN), great.

"It's been a challenge but now we're fixing what needs to be fixed. Now we can concentrate on curling instead of all that other stuff."


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