I got some nice feedback to a little tweet I put out last night.
"So, why doesn't CBC show women's pro hockey on Saturday nights starting in 2014?"
Twitter isn't the best outlet for a full discussion on this, so here's a little mini-essay/ rant on the idea.
I'm not kidding. Here are some of my reasons.
1. The CBC is going to need programming, 300+ hours of it. CBC rightfully prides itself on the quality of it's broadcasts. Hockey DOES belong on the CBC, as does any activity that is near and dear to the hearts of Canadians. (Take that culture snobs) So why not take the internal expertise and use it to cover the sport properly?
Will it be free? No. But the rights won't cost 5-billion. And compared to the cost of 300+ hours of drama or comedy... just saying the budget will be a bargain compared to the alternatives. (Yes, the CBC should also fund drama and comedy... this is my idea for a replacement for HNIC, not a rethink of the core mandate.)
2. There's an appetite for the women's game. There are lots of Canadians and hockey fans who are getting fed up with the violence of the men's pro game. If I have to watch one more fight replay during the opening sequence... argh! (Even during the "Nessun Dorma" opening this past week, the CBC showed George Parros fighting Colton Orr. Hmmm. how did that fight turn out again? Oh yeah, with Parros nearly dead. Nice.)
Anyway, people who love hockey are hungry for an alternative. Will they match HNIC in Canada numbers? No. But I remember a few years back when Sportsnet decided to tape-delay a women's World Cup Qualifying soccer game (because who would want to watch it live?) and then had to scramble to change the schedule when Edmonton fans bought 80,000 tickets and the national public demanded the game be shown live.
And, oh yeah, it's an Olympic sport too.
3. The women's game needs a home to grow. Women's hockey has a league with no exposure, a trophy donated by a Governor General (Clarkson, not Stanley) and great athletes. But who knows when the games are? Where the games are? If the CBC made WHNIC a destination program (Sat night? Sunday night?) then the audience can grow as the interest increases. TSN made a commitment to the CFL on friday nights, and it has become must-watch for CFL fans.
Anyway, I throw that into the mix. (I feel like I'm back at my old sports job!)