Sports Bulls & Bears: Curling a draw, new NBPA head looks raw

 

 
 
 
 
Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

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VANCOUVER — Sorting out the major winners and losers of this week — with a bottom-line twist — in the world of sports:

BULL OF THE WEEK

It might be the Rodney Dangerfield of sport — never quite getting the respect it deserves as a part of the sport business in particular and Canadian culture in general — but curling is having itself a very bullish week. Just ask the seven million unique viewers who tuned into at least some of the 2015 Scotties Tournament of Hearts on TSN last weekend and the many millions more who will be watching the Tim Hortons Brier, beginning today.

According to Canadian television ratings scorekeeper Numeris, last week’s Tournament of Hearts was the most watched ever, drawing an average national audience of 566,000 viewers. The dramatic 6-5 championship game won by the Manitoba rink skipped by Jennifer Jones over Alberta’s Val Sweeting went seven figures, scoring an average audience of 1.05 million on TSN, up about 15 per cent over last year’s final.

Evidence of curling as a TV staple in Canada is reflected in how Bell Media and Rogers Communications are going hammer and tong over the sport. TSN offers up over 300 hours of curling coverage each season on the strength of seven major events — including the Tournament of Hearts, Brier and the world championships — while Rogers is responding in kind at the provincial level and by producing its own made-for-TV curling events, headlined by the Grand Slam of Curling. When both of the country’s telecom and media giants need to be in on something, you know there’s a bull market for curling in Canada.

BEAR OF THE WEEK

Michele Roberts is no lightweight. She has lived a fabulous career by anyone’s standards and is highly respected as a smart, tough lawyer. Yet the newly-minted executive director of the NBA Players Association waded into the doo-doo of media relations this week and exposed herself as an outsider who is still learning the ropes of her new gig and the minefields of sport union politics. She used a radio interview to question whether the league shouldn’t rein in media access at practices and before and after games, suggesting that many sports media are just standing around in locker rooms: If you’re going to be there, she said, ask a “f---ing” question.

Not only did Roberts break one of the key rules of executive leadership — take some time, ask questions and know a specific file before you go off on it — she inadvertently made a hypocrite of herself and sport unions in general. For years, unions such as the NBPA backed their demands for higher average salaries by arguing they should be paid not only for what they did on the court, but for what they did to promote the game through the media and at public appearances. Roberts will survive and even thrive in her new role, but this was a bearish week for her and the NBPA.

Tom Mayenknecht is host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and TSN Radio, where he regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of sports business. He reviews the major winners and losers of the past week every Saturday in The Vancouver Sun.

 
 
 
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Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.
 

Tom Mayenknecht, host of The Sport Market on TSN 1040 and the TSN Radio network, regularly rates and debates the Bulls & Bears of the sports business.

Photograph by: Vancouver Sun graphics, .

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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