Let's hope this means more figure skating on CBC (they need at least 30% amateur sport content, however, at least 80% Canadian content).
CBC scores a licence for SportsPlus channel
Article WILLIAM HOUSTON
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
August 20, 2008 at 10:03 PM EDT
The CBC has been granted a licence to start a sports cable television channel.
However, the decision by the federal regulator was questioned almost immediately by sports television executives.
Joel Darling, the head of production for CBC Sports, said the digital channel, to be called CBC SportsPlus, is likely to be launched in the first half of 2009.
"Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done to get there," he said. "But we've got some infrastructure in place that will make that happen quickly."
The licence approval by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is a big win for the CBC. In addition to amateur content, the channel will be allowed to air professional sports programming. As well, the sports service will help the CBC compete against CTV-TSN for future Olympic rights.
Before the decision, which was announced yesterday, CTV, Rogers, Score Media and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment intervened against the application, arguing genre protection — that CBC SportsPlus would provide a service already available on TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and The Score.
But the CRTC imposed restrictions on the channel, including a 10-per-cent weekly limit on professional "stick and ball" sports.
The CBC proposed airing a minimum of 30-per-cent amateur sport, measured over a year, and no more than 30-per-cent professional sport, measured over a year. The CRTC stipulated those percentages needed to be met on a weekly basis.
The CBC has also promised to air 80-per-cent Canadian content, measured over a year, and also 80-per-cent Canadian content each day during prime time.
CTV president Rick Brace said he was surprised by the CRTC decision to approve the channel.
"We felt that this service was really a general interest sports service that was disguised as an amateur sports service" he said.
"It certainly appears it will have the opportunity to air at least one professional sports show in prime time each and every night. That's obviously a concern for us, but the CRTC, in its wisdom, has decided it's appropriate, so we will carry on."
Toronto sports marketing executive Brian Cooper, who has been assisting the Canadian Olympic Committee in its bid for a licence to start an amateur sports channel, said he had not expected the CBC application to be approved.
"Considering the programming that they are suggesting, considering the genre protection rules and the amount of opposition they received, I'm a little surprised," he said.
But John Levy, the chairman and chief executive officer of Score Media, said the restrictions imposed by the CRTC satisfied him.
"I commend the commission," he said.