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Article:CBC's Hockey Night theme moves to TSN

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Hockey fans can sleep soundly, I suppose. The NHL on CBC theme – more accurately known as The Hockey Theme – has found a new home: TSN.

That’s right, the same channel that had an open contest just a few years ago for it’s own opening song. The same channel that competes with the CBC for hockey coverage. The same channel that shows a game ever night from Monday to Friday (or at least feels that way).

So yet again, CTV – TSN’s parent company – has managed to outbid the CBC. For those keeping score, they have already outbid the CBC for coverage of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and the Grey Cup broadcast.

Perhaps predictably, this was the lead story on TSN’s Sportscentre this morning, beating out such stories as Ken Griffey’s 600th home run, the Jays losing to the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings (which was broadcast by TSN) and the UFEA Cup.

Opening with the theme over a montage of Canadian teams, TSN twice broadcasted a two-minute story about the theme (once at the beginning of the show, another time at the 30 minute reset).

TSN’s Rick Brace, the president of revenue, business planning and sports for CTV Inc., said in the piece “we recognize the value in it… we just didn’t want it to go away. We’re hoping that Canadians will come to us.”

‘We’re so happy we’re able to save it for TSN and RDS,” he added.

In the same TSN segment, reporter Sheri Forde mentioned TSN’s new six year deal with the NHL, which she said will feature more focus on Canadian teams.

A story on CBC.ca tells their side.

"We offered arbitration, mediation — we offered to meet their price,” CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore was quoted as saying in the story.

"The two sides were so far apart and there was so much bad blood that we knew a deal would be difficult… The reality is it takes two sides to do a deal and we tried everything we could to do a deal.”

Meanwhile, neither Rogers Sportsnet nor The Score led with this story, going instead with the UFEA Cup and Griffey’s 600th home run. On their web sites, both networks elected to go with a Canadian Press story on the subject.

So, what does this mean for fans of other sports? Will this new deal mean that basketball will get an even more reduced role on TSN’s nightly timeslots? Does this new deal – where a Canadian team is featured in every match – mean the end of TSN simulcasting games from the Versus network? What theme will CBC go with now?

And is this a good omen for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who last won a cup in 1967, the year before The Hockey Theme premiered on CBC?

We’ll have to wait and see.

For more stories like this, check out my new sports media blog, Jock Talk.


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