OTTAWA - Is it the end of an era?
CBC TV, which pioneered curling broadcasting, has pulled the plug on this weekend’s Grand Slam in Dawson Creek.
The Mother Corp claims that management of the Slams, I Sport, has not paid money owed to the CBC. I Sport claims it is the amount of money owed that is in question.
Except for one brief episode, curling officialdom has always paid broadcasters to air their product. A Canadian Curling Association source told me that its TSN fee this season is under $1 million.
Before the ill-fated switch from TSN to CBC in 2005, published reports indicated that TSN was paid $750,000 a season. When CBC took over the CCA was going to receive $10 million over four years from the CBC.
We all remember the debacle that became, and the deal was scrapped before the season was out.
Back to Dawson Creek.
Earlier this month all parties involved in the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling were gushing to announce that Rogers Sportsnet had agreed to supplement CBC championship weekend coverage by televising preliminary games for a total of 30 hours of games.
The logical approach was for each party to share production crews and facilities. With the senior broadcaster out of the picture, Sportsnet’s interest may disappear.
Sportsnet has never had any curling included in its on-line schedule even since the big announcement. By contrast, CBC has removed curling from its online schedule.
I Sport counters that the CBC had not brought enough production value to the telecasts. The curling isn’t in HD for instance. The owners of the Slam want their invoice reduced.
Sources tell me that the World Curling Player’s Association president, Pierre Charette, has not been paid for a while.
I Sport Media and Management has been the driving force behind producing the Slam series. They produce the successful Battle of the Blades, but were also involved in Toronto’s BlackCreek Summer Music Festival which has been suspended for financial reasons. Players worry about the future of the Slams.
It seems unlikely there will be a television this weekend except for Rogers coverage of the Ontario Scotties.
Team Chris Gardiner defended its title to win the OCVA Mixed Bonspiel Safeguard trophy on Sunday. He defeated Lauren Mann, to claim top prize. The final score was 6-3. This is Gardner’s third consecutive championship. Curling with him were Kim Brown, Andrew Denny and Jessica Barcauskas. The Hogline event was taken by Montreal’s Aaron Wagstaff, the Bud Lite event saw Bob Walker win while the Jim Campbell event went to Malcolm Stubbs. The senior title was won by Jim Mullin and the second senior event, the Metcalfe Golf, had Rick Takahara as victor. The last senior bracket went to Rock Boullanger. Chris Beauchamp captured the recreational event.
In Best Western intermediates regional winners were: 1A Cheryl McBain and Layne Noble, and in B, Jennifer Harvey and Bob Ray. In OCA bantam zones those advancing to provincials are 1A Lauren Horton and Jordie Lyon-Hatcher; B Kimberly Gannon and Mac Calwell and in 2A it is Erin Butler skipping a team out of Peterborough although she curls in Ottawa.
The March Pembroke Spring Open Cashspiel is taking entries. The $260 fee includes a $1,000 cash prize to the winner, entertainment, Saturday dinner with wine and three game guarantee. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.