Further down in this post is a full transcript of communication between TSN and me, but first the backstory. Last week TSN - Toronto Sports Network - attempted to broadcast an NHL doubleheader. At 4:30pm PST they began airing the Montreal Canadiens versus the Toronto Maple Leafs. At 7pm PST they were supposed to begin airing the Vancouver Canucks versus the Anaheim Ducks, which featured Todd Bertuzzi playing his first game in Vancouver as a non-Canuck. However, the Habs/Leafs game went into overtime, and then into a shootout; and before the shootout could begin, there was repeat zamboni-ing due to careless zamboni-ing. At 7:21pm PST, with TSN still not showing the 'Nucks/Ducks, I felt compelled to send them a comment via their website. And so it begins...
My comment to TSN via their website's contact us:
Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2007 10:21 PM
the canucks/ducks game on november 27th has started and i'm watching a zamboni driving nonstop around the ice in toronto... COME ON!!! SHOW THE CANUCKS!!! BERTUZZI!!!
TSN's email to me:
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2007 13:44:57 -0500
Thank you for emailing TSN regarding Tuesday night's NHL game featuring the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Anaheim Ducks. I understand your frustration and would like to take this opportunity to explain why TSN joined-in-progress the Canucks game.
It is TSN policy to always broadcast a live event until its completion, and Tuesday's NHL game featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs vs. the Montreal Canadiens was no exception. The Leafs/Canadiens game went to a shootout and ran longer than anticipated. Subsequently, TSN was forced to stay with this game until its conclusion. Following the shootout, TSN did not televise any post-game interviews or analysis from the Leafs/Canadiens game and immediately switched to live coverage of the Canucks/Ducks game.
Understanding that coverage of the Leafs/Canadiens game would overlap the start of the Canucks/Ducks game, TSN commentators mentioned numerous times that TSN would go to the Vancouver game immediately following the completion of the game in Toronto. TSN also showed live coverage of the Vancouver puck-drop at the start of the game in a split-screen. At 10:21 p.m. ET, TSN joined the Canucks/Ducks game in the first period with the score still 0-0.
I hope that this letter conveys how seriously we take our programming responsibilities. Thank you for taking the time to write to us.
My email to TSN in response to their email to me:
Sent: November 29, 2007 5:06:47 PM
Thanks for writing back. I understand why the start of the Canucks/Ducks game wasn't aired, but seeing as how the games involved were regular season and not playoffs - where games can have indefinite lengths - it was preventable. Here's a solution: Don't buy the broadcasting rights to two regular season games that start two and a half hours apart. Games that end in regulation time take the full two and a half hours to play, so there wouldn't be time for much postgame analysis or interviews anyway. Plus, there is a fairly good chance that any given regular season game will go into overtime then into a shootout (as we saw on Tuesday). Regardless of what happens, we can be very sure that any given regular season game will end in under three hours. So for doubleheaders, how about choosing to only broadcast games that start three hours apart, eg. 4pm and 7pm PT. Between games there would then be time for postgame analysis and/or interviews, whether the first game ends in regulation or requires extra time.