As The CBC Pulls Plug On Curling, Rogers Sportsnet Rumored To Sign Deal
iSport Media and Management CEO Kevin Albrecht, whose company operates curling’s Capital One Grand Slam circuit, Thursday said that the Slam “is close to a deal with expanded coverage from the old CBC arrangement with a new broadcast partner,” according to Allen Cameron of the CALGERY HERALD. Albrecht “declined to name” the potential new partner, though it has been “widely speculated that Rogers Sportsnet will take over the broadcast rights.” Albrecht insisted that next weekend's event "will be available to watch on television, and that the new deal will dramatically increase the amount of Slam curling on the air.” Sportsnet Dir of Communications Jennifer Neziol late Thursday said that “no deal is done.” Cameron reports the CBC “won't be broadcasting curling" after dropping the Grand Slam Wednesday, ending an "uninterrupted streak of coverage dating back to 1962.” Albrecht said that there were “differences between the Slam and the broadcaster over the ‘production value’ of the broadcasts, and that he believed CBC was willing to adjust the fees as a result; as of this week, the sides had not agreed, he said, on a new rate.” But CBC Exec Dir of Sports Properties Jeffrey Orridge said that there “was no such deal made with the Slam and iSport.” Cameron writes the possibility that the Slams will return to Sportsnet, “which was the original broadcaster when the series debuted in 2001, helped ease the tension of the initial reports of doom and gloom in the wake of the CBC decision” (CALGARY HERALD, 1/20). Albrecht said, “We’ve been negotiating with them for nine months now. We have a lot of issues about the quality of the broadcasts and we thought it was getting stale and not up to the standards we’d expect. We’ve talked to them about this for some time.” He added that there "was some dispute about the amount owed to the CBC" (CP, 1/19).