Sean Leahy

Could James Bond threaten grassroots hockey in Canada?

Sean Leahy
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Interesting article today by the Toronto Globe and Mail's television watchdog, William Houston. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is about to revise rules about foreign channels in Canada, who carries what, and what stations can limit themselves to broadcasting on a regular basis.

The basic example is TSN. They are categorized as a sports channel, obviously, and under the CRTC's rules cannot broadcast movies, even in the dead of August. Possible revisions could see Bob McKenzie breaking a trade one minute and then saying how he's looking forward to watching "Showgirls" at 11 p.m. the next.

New regulations could also allow smaller, niche channels such as soccer channel GolTV (which Houston cites as an example), to bid on broadcast rights regionally for a team like the Montreal Canadiens.

Houston brings up a doomsday scenario for amateur sports in Canada towards the end of the article:

The problem with deregulation is that it sends broadcasters in pursuit of the same programming. A James Bond movie draws 300,000 viewers and is relatively cheap, so why not air 'Casino Royale' instead of paying to produce a telecast of a women's hockey game?

Canadian sports content, particularly for amateur sport, would decline. Canadian amateur sport would decline even further, if as speculated, the CRTC relaxes its Canadian content rules.

That and James Duthie teasing "Prince of Tides?" It could happen ...

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