Skate Canada recently announced a 10 year deal with CTV/TSN to bring the 2 annual domestic figure skating events to Canadian fans. Almost from the moment the announcement was released, I started receiving messages via Facebook (mine and Skate Canada’s), email and Twitter (@skatingpj) asking what this meant for me and the coverage on Bold and the main network. I didn’t have any information but when and if I did, I said would write about it here.

It was just announced on Wednesday that CBC and the ISU have reached a five year agreement regarding the TV rights in Canada for international figure skating events like the Grand Prix Final, the Four Continents and Worlds among others. (Source)

I reached ISU Vice-President David Dore for comment:

“I am very delighted at the commitment shown by CBC in this new contract with the ISU. They have shown their belief in and enthusiasm about the current direction of ISU Ice Sports and a keen interest in keeping the Canadian fan base keenly abreast of the development of skating athletes the world over. The futire looks very bright for all parties and I am very encouraged by this direction in sport in Canada and the world. I look forward to future CBC programming and the world coming to Canada.”

I was as interested as anybody to find out on a practical level what this means as far as coverage for the upcoming season. CBC’s Senior Director, Sports, David Masse had this to share

“Figure skating is extremely important to CBC. Our commitment has been unwavering and we have demonstrated that commitment by covering Canadians as they compete against the best in the world and by finding new and innovative ways to appeal to skating fans.”

The specifics of exaclty what and how things are going to look have still to be determined because, well, it’s tennis season .

Jeffrey Orridge took the position of Executive Director CBC Sports Properties in early April and is the man under whose watch this deal has happened. I wanted to know from him, on behalf of fans, what place does international figure skating hold in the overall picture for sports on CBC?

“Basically the agreement fulfills CBC’s promise to deliver marquee signature events that both entertain and engage Canadians. It allows our viewers to watch Canada’s best and the world’s best compete in not only figure skating but speed skating because that is what the deal encompasses.”

More exciting for me in my conversation with Orridge was to find that he believes, as do I, that sport is a way of connecting people.

“The whole impetus behind this part of what our mission is, is to showcase Canada and Canadians in professional and amateur sport and connect Canada through nation building events. Those defining moments in Canadian sports: seminal moments like Worlds or the Stanley Cup that galvanize people and communities. Figure skating’s community is connected by presenting the pre-eminating events from around the world.”

Commenting on the fact that there are different levels of communities: cultural. geographical as well as groups with a common interest, I was especially interested to hear Orridge add “….to serve the needs of the Canadian public.”
In the meantime, Canadian fans can revel in the fact that there will be more and better skating coverage on TV from events at home and around the world than pretty well anywhere else on the planet!

Go Canada!

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