The Dreaded TSN2
I recently sat down to watch the Toronto Raptors on February 2nd and 3rd and was flabbergasted to learn that instead of having the games on TSN, they were pushed to the dreaded TSN2 in favour of round-robin matches of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Now before all the readers from the prairies, and other curling fans, get offended, I am in no way trying to attacking the sport. I like curling and plan on watching the semi-final and finals matches as well as the Brier next month but come on, when would the Maple Leafs or any other Canadian hockey team get bumped to TSN2.
Since the Olympics are coming and TSN holds the right to broadcast them, I was thinking to myself ‘Nice, all of the Raptors games will be on the Score or CBC’. Well it looks like I was wrong again because four of the seven games during the Olympics are on TSN2. Why? They have the rights to one of the biggest events in the world but that was not good enough for them I guess, they had to shove it in the face of all the Raptors fans with basic cable.
Now you might say to go and get an upgrade to a better cable service; why should I have to? If TSN really did their research they would know that a large majority of basketball fans are younger people of a wide range of ethnicity that include more than a few students, young professionals or recent immigrants. These people, myself included, are on small budgets and do not have the money to spend on luxuries like that. So why does a network that clearly panders to the middle-aged to elder, rich white viewers even bother? Your guess is as good as mine.
If the Raptors are supposed to be ‘Canada’s Team’ then why does TSN refuse to show more of their games on basic cable? Toronto has 32 games left this year but do not expect to see them all unless you have the right cable or satellite package. TSN holds the rights to 22 of the remaining games and plan on showing 10 of them on TSN2 including big games against Atlanta, Boston and Cleveland. Why?
Of the teams in Toronto, the Raptors are by far the most successful in the past four years; here is a rundown.
The Argos are 28-44 (.389) with two playoff appearances but none in last two years.
The Blue Jays have the best record with 331-317 (.511) however success is measured on playoffs and they have not been there in 16 seasons.
The Maple Leafs have struggled to a 128-130-46 (.497) record and have gone four, and soon to be five, straight seasons without making the playoffs
The Raptors are 148-148 (.500) have two playoff appearances and are well on their way to a third in four years.
For the rest of Canada who is angry because TSN is a national network and I didn’t include the other NHL teams I will put it this way; I did not want to rag on our lack of success, but since you forced my hand I will indulge you. While hockey is our unofficial national sport, the last Stanley Cup by a Canadian team was Montreal in 1993 and since then there have been only eight appearances in the Conference finals by any of the six (eight if you include Quebec and Winnipeg for a couple years) Canadian teams.
Now I love hockey and I am not saying to ditch it in any way, just there needs to be a little more face time for Canada’s only NBA team, especially during the last half of the season when they are pushing for home court in the playoffs.
The Raptors have won 20 of their last 25 games and sit just 4 wins back of the division leading Celtics. With their next five, and 18 of their last 32, games against teams with losing records, Toronto has a good chance of closing that gap. They have All Star power forward Chris Bosh who is in the top three at his position in the league, something that no other Toronto team has right now, and the promise of a solid team that is only getting better. Name one other Toronto team that has any type of hope for a good season in the next two years.
It is utterly ridiculous that TSN is allowed to broadcast the games of our only NBA team on a network that is not available to the vast majority of the nation. Something needs to be done, but the only real solution in my mind is for MLSE to have some more respect of their own franchise and demand in their next broadcast contract, that the Raptors games, like the Leafs and Jays games, must be available on basic cable. Here’s hoping.