TSN gets shafted

According to news accounts today (Globe and Mail, Score Golf, Toronto Star), Canwest Global has picked up the Presidents Cup telecast for Canada next year. Additionally TSN could not come to terms with the Golf Channel on Canadian coverage. That means a lot less golf on traditional Canadian televisions — as only those with digital coverage from Shaw or Rogers have access to Golf Channel broadcasts on Thursday and Friday. That means very few Canadians will get to see the first day of play from most tournaments. Apparently this is progress and market expansion, according to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who signed a 15-year TV deal with the Golf Channel.

Perhaps the most extraordinary issue is this — no longer will the Canadian Open be produced in Canada. That means very little coverage and even less coverage of Canadian players. As the Toronto Star points out:

The biggest is that next year’s Canadian Open will be available on TSN and Global, although it will no longer be produced by Canadians. Both have indicated they will add Canadian content, but it sure won’t be what we’re accustomed to and we’ll almost surely get less coverage.

Of course we should all be outraged by this and one would have thought the Canadians running the show for the Canadian Open (in this case, the RCGA, which largely pays for the telecasts) would have intervened. Maybe they tried and they were steamrolled by Finchem, as they have regularly been in recent years.

Regardless this is a bad place for Canadian golf and may just be another nail in the coffin of the Canadian Open.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • You sports writers all kill me. Golf and all professional sports are businesses, not a charities. The sports jocks all believe that somehow we fans are ‘owed’ something. The PGA Tour did exactly what it believes is in its best interests, in terms of profit maximization. The Tour didn’t shaft anybody. The Tour is not here to do anybody favours. It is in the business of making money for its shareholders, the players, which own and control the Tour. Good for them! I wish I had their power.

  • What a mess Tim Finchem has made of the golf television marketplace! He has delivered a 2007 tournament schedule which has eliminated some long-standing tournaments and marooned others such as the Canadian Open, combined with an unprecedented 15-year broadcast monopoly given to The Golf Channel for Thurs/Fri coverage, plus an avaricious resale price to domestic broadcasters for those rights. Consequently Canada now has its various cable operators moving TGC to a “premium” level on their service.
    If this is the way Finchem wants to make money for the Tour, he has embarked upon a very short term profit plan. The same goes for TGC. As Yogi said, “If the fans don’t wanna come, you can’t stop em!”

  • Canadian Open? Can’t even watch on TV! At 6pm Global coverage finished with no coverage on any other channel. Imagine the Open Chamionship or the US OPen going off the air due to time allotment! This tounament is going to the dumpster in regards to Canadian viewers and possible future attendees at this event. Disgraceful!

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