Who Do You Watch?

Ever since my small rural town got cable, I have been watching sports news/highlight shows. Back in those days TSN’s Sportsdesk was the only one on the landscape. In a way I feel like I grew up with TSN; as the network matured, I got taller.

Over the years others joined the 24 hour sports network ranks to fill in any gaps in the broadcast sports market.

What we now recognize as The Score was the first to present a challenge to TSN nationally, though it was not much of a challenge. At the time, Headline Sports, as it was known, was simply a 15 minute sports highlight loop offering no live sports action. It wasn’t until 2000 when, rebranded as The Score, the network was granted an amendment to their CRTC license allowing limited live sports coverage that they truly began to compete in the broadcast sports market.

Sportsnet came on the scene in 1998, originally owned by CTV prior to a forced sell-off to Rogers and immediately provided some competition to TSN in terms of live sporting events. There was now a choice when it came to where you watched your sports. I remember initially being a fan of Sportsnet. They were the new kid on the block and were free of the “this is the way we’ve always done it” frame of mind.

Over the past few years we have seen a move from sports highlight desk jockeys trying to live up to the professional standards of Kronkite to taking a lighter approach. Based solely on my recollection, I want to say Sportsnet seemed to start this trend in an attempt to differentiate itself from TSN, but The Score refined it even further.

Sid Seixeiro and Tim Micallef used this approach when they took over the nightly highlight package on The Score Tonight. Sid and Tim offer the days highlights like they were sitting in your basement with you. Since, their success others have followed suit. we have seen personalities like James Duthie and Jay Onrait (sorry O’Toole) gain greater and greater recognition largely due to their style of humour. James Duthie was most recently the host of Canada’s Olympic coverage, as position traditionally held by news anchors such as Brian Williams.

So I want to know who it you watch and what you enjoy about different sports programs. Give me your two cents or more


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One response to “Who Do You Watch?”

  1. Joe Boughner says :

    Since my wonderful wife introduced me to Aaron Sorkin’s “Sports Night” I think it’s pretty clear they’re all trying to be Dan Rydell and Casey McCall.

    I generally like a little levity served up with my sports highlights – it’s sports, after all, not global politics or something serious. But it’s gotta be in moderation and I think sometimes they’re all guilty of going too far. Silly for the sake of silly is, well, silly.

    Interestingly, I think the sports anchor doing the best job of all is James Duthie as host of TSN’s hockey coverage. Notwithstanding the over the top human interest story he did on Taylor Pyatt last round (leave that stuff to Friedman, he comes off more natural) Duthie’s got the mix of humour and insight down pat.

    Hrm. I should clarify. The idea behind the Pyatt piece was great and touching but Duthie’s narration bordered on cheesy. Pyatt’s story was good enough on its own, it didn’t need the cliches poured on.

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