The city of Hamilton and CFL fans were shocked when Tiger-Cats owner Bob Young withdrew from negotiations surrounding the new Pan Am Games stadium on Monday. For now, the future of the proud franchise is in limbo until a new stadium is proposed to the liking of the Ticats. (Tuesday, Hamilton city council voted to go ahead with the West Harbour site Young says he will not accept.) If Young actually takes his franchise on the road to Quebec City - as was suggested by one Hamilton city councillor - it will cause problems for the CFL's English-language broadcast partner, TSN.
Moving a team from the ratings heartland of Southern Ontario to the French-dominant market in the Vielle Capitale would represent a significant challenge to TSN's advertising and marketing efforts in the more lucrative English market. Should the Cats become Les Chats, ratings will certainly dip on TSN with a rise for its sister network RDS, the French language outlet for CFL. But the tradeoff likely won't result in similar revenues for TSN/RDS.
TSN president Phil King declined to comment on what he described as a "longshot" possibility, but he did acknowledge the tradeoff in ratings between his network and RDS if Quebec City landed the Tiger-Cats. For instance, the Montreal Alouettes are a poor draw for TSN, but when combined with the numbers from RDS, they produce very good ratings.
Would the CFL abandon Hamilton - and, by extension, the TV market of southern and southwestern Ontario that roots for the Tiger-Cats? Unwillingly, we'd imagine. Should Young pull his ticket in Hamilton for a move to Quebec City or Ottawa or even Moncton, the CFL and the city of Hamilton would likely operate the club until new ownership friendly to the proposed harbourside stadium was found. For now, the sides are dug in with no resolution in sight. Safe to say, the CFL won't be awarding the Grey Cup game to Hamilton anytime soon.
PPV DOA: And like that, pay-per-view is no more in the Canadian wing of the NHL's gated community. Tuesday, Rogers announced a new deal with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers that effectively takes the PPV games the two sides have produced the past few years and sticks them on the new Sportsnet One channel. Actually, it's still technically PPV, because to see the Sportsnet One games of the Sutterite Colony and the Lowe Downs you'll have to subscribe to the new channel in some roundabout paying fashion. Just not $12.95 and a five-minute feature about Steve Staios's billiard room.
The real story in putting the former PPV games of the Flames and Oilers - along with those previously announced of the Senators and Canucks - on Sportsnet One is to pressure other cable and satellite providers to give their new offering a plum spot on the dial. Rogers hopes that any reluctant competitor will be assailed by hockey fans of the teams should they forgo carrying the One. (Toronto's version of PPV is Leafs TV, a thinly veiled PPV model that hides the cost of games in a welter of other swell programs.
The Calgary/Edmonton deal also includes digital media rights and extends for a hefty 10 years. Ten years? Hmm, wonder what Richard Bloch would say about that?
Not Out Of the Woods: We now know that Tiger Woods simply showing up for a golf tournament isn't enough to attract viewers. Woods tossed out a stinker at The Bridgestone Invitational, racking up his worst 72-hole score in a gruesome chop-a-thon. Seeing the about-to-be-deposed world No. 1 score like Carl Spackler drew a 2.3 overnight Sunday rating on CBS - down 51 per cent from last year when he won. The 2.3 was the same rating as 2008, when Woods was injured and did not play. It was also down 34 per cent from 2007, when the player formerly known as Tiger Woods won.
Pay It Forward: Speaking of Woods, speculation is rife that Mr. I'm Here To Win will not be in Wales for the Ryder Cup in October as he takes his hurt self to the sidelines again for a pick-me-up with Canadian swing coach Sean Foley. More bad news for U.S. broadcaster NBC - Woods may have company in taking a pass on the USA/Europe showdown. According to AP, players scheduled for the event are concerned about new tax rules in Britain that tax not only winnings but also any sponsorship and endorsement money they earn while at Celtic Manor. Mitchell Platts, the European Tour's director of public relations corporate affairs, is quoted by AP as saying the tax grab was "seriously hampering our efforts" in attracting golfers to the Ryder Cup. Several athletes - including Usain Bolt - are now avoiding events in Britain because of these new tax rules. We can only imagine what this could mean for the 2012 Olympics.
I Got It, I Got It: Finally, we thought of taking a run at the World Sauna Championships for killing the Russian guy. But considering we didn't even know there was a World Sauna Championships till they snuffed the poor Russian, it seemed gratuitous. Instead, how not to impress your girlfriend. Courtesy of MLB.com, watch this dude on a date at a Houston Astros game pull the matador as a foul ball approaches and smacks his trusting girlfriend. No soup for you, Hero.