by mike in boston/ @mikeinboston/ email
Excellent early morning sports media fans. Invite to2021 This year I’m looking for extra input from people in the market, especially early and mid-career folks. If you have ideas on the state of sports media in Toronto, please reach out if I do not get to you. Fresh voices are required and I wish to amplify various point of views here. If you have something to state and wish to talk on background, hit me up.
Here are some subjects to get us started. As always, add your own thoughts in the remarks. We run this website since we like hearing what other individuals think.
5 More Years
It has been a peaceful off-season for your Toronto Blue Jays. After finishing 3rd in the division with a record of 32-28(with a sub.500 Pyth W-L%) the agreement in November was that the Jays had actually successfully shifted from restoring to completing. The questions turned to what they would need to contribute to get to the 90 win level in 2021, presuming a full-season would be played. Their splashiest complimentary representative purchase in a years performed well, and the hope was that the team would have the resources to go purchase more pitching, a bat, and some better defence.
Despite being rumoured to be in everybody, things have not worked out for the front workplace up until now.
Blue Jays, one of the most aggressive groups of this offseason, quote on Lindor; they were involved with D.J. LeMahieu. As the huge choices fall off the board in the winter musical chairs, the best fit for Toronto may end up being with George Springer.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 15, 2021
Sources: The #BlueJays stay in contact with multiple top totally free representatives– Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, and George Springer– after failing to draw DJ LeMahieu from the #Yankees @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 15, 2021
In the middle of this disappointing time, Rogers silently revealed that Mark Shapiro would be back as team President for another five years. Here’s Ed Rogers’ declaration:
” Mark’s management and dedication to excellence over the last 5 years have been critical to the group’s development and development. We’re very happy that Mark will continue to lead the Toronto Blue Jays and develop on the group’s development as we work towards our objective of bringing a World Series championship back to Canada.”– Ed Rogers
If Shapiro completes his term this would make him the longest continuous president in group history. Paul Beeston has more combined time in his 2 stints running the team. Paul Godfrey lasted eight years prior to carrying on to run the National Post.
Here’s a rundown of the significant columns on the Shapiro extension. Up is Cathal Kelly of the Globe with a good contrast:
” In Toronto sports terms, this isn’t burying the news. It’s entombing it in concrete and dumping it into an ocean trench. I will guarantee you that if (not when) the Toronto Raptors re-sign president Masai Ujiri prior to his contract expires in July, the team will paint the skies over the city Raptor red. MLSE will deal with that news release like it’s the moon landing.”
This might be chalked up to a cultural difference between MLSE and Rogers but Kelly is best that the timing and tone show the latent uneasiness about Shapiro. While he has many supporters in the media and the fanbase, he has an equivalent share of critics. If the group takes a step back in 2021 then the issues about Shapiro make sure to increase rapidly to the surface area again. Kelly explains act one of the Shapiro period thusly:
” In baseball terms, Shapiro’s first 5 years have been a bit of a loser. He was offered a terrific group, turned it into a bad group and just recently levelled it off into a good group.”
The rest of Cathal’s piece is a mix of vague statements about Shapiro not being readily available or willing to address tough questions, and a basic recommendation of his off the field company efficiency of minimizing the group payroll while raising ticket prices. The piece records the precarious assistance Shapiro has in the marketplace.
Over at the Star, Gregor Chisholm had this to state:
” Shapiro’s first required was to take down the Jays, to move beyond the age of Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson. His 2nd required is transforming the company into a seasonal contender. There was development in that regard in 2015 with a brief post-season look against the Rays, and the pressure will be on to ensure that success becomes something much bigger down the road.”
So while Cathal sees the required as continuing to cut costs and increase income while staying on the silver lining of clients, Chisholm argues that Shapiro has actually made the right to plan the next moves due to the group’s real on the field efficiency and future potential customers. He concludes:
” The jury is still out on these Jays, but it feels proper that the present front office has been provided more time to make their case. The unpleasant restore is over. It’s time to win. Now go sign some players.”
Chisholm has been quite crucial of the Shapiro-Atkins duo over the last years so this is a friendlier piece than I was expecting. I think of things would sound various if the extension occurred at the end of the off-season (a month away), with the Jays having stopped working to enhance the group through totally free agency. Because sense, the timing of extension appears great.
Over at the Sun, the always understandable Rob Longley saw the Shapiro news by doing this:
” The stability associated with keeping Shapiro is not to be reduced but, at the very same time, it starts the clock running on the next and perhaps most significant phase of his tenure here.Since his hire in August of 2015, Shapiro’s self-sculpted required was to construct a sustainable winner from the ground up.”
This is precisely right. The narrative the existing administration pushed was that the previous one dumped potential customers too easily which a rebuild of the minors was needed to produce steady success down the road. The discouraging element of this narrative is that it is also a method of buying lots of time before others are allowed to start counting wins and losses. The Ryu finalizing was a way of letting fans understand that the team was planning to begin winning over the next 3 years, lest that contract go to lose throughout non-competitive years. Longley adds:
” If there is a significant positive to the timing of the extension– his previous agreement ended towards the end of 2020– it is that Shapiro wouldn’t have signed on for 5 more years if he didn’t believe he had the backing of ownership to do things his method. So, all that talk from the executive workplace this winter about the Jays “remaining in” on this man and that man will be more than bluster if there are dollars to back it up.”
This is once again a good point. Anthopoulos left in part because he didn’t think in the vision of the team. His success elsewhere speaks for itself. Shapiro has sustained a dark period of his own choosing and most likely wishes to see the fruits of that labour. Choosing to stay means that he has some factor to think the resources to complete the job are there.
I looked for something composed by Stephen Brunt about the news but there is nothing up until now. He is yet to release anything for Sportsnet in2021 He has 2 bylines in the last 140 days. I also looked for something from The Athletic Toronto however they did not cover this news.
This is the very first significant news item to break considering that the retirement of John Lott. At this time I very much felt the absence of senior local baseball writers. Over the last 5 years we have actually lost Bob Elliott and Richard Griffin in addition to Lott, and the market feels a little thin. With Brunt and Blair working for Sportsnet, TSN punting on major baseball protection, and the World ditching their baseball writer, fans are being underserved in my opinion. I wished to read a deep dive on Shapiro, his relationship with the media, the ever shifting scope of his responsibilities, whether he has done basically than previous presidents, whether the changes in management at Rogers will be great or bad for him and so on
I’ll kick the question over to you: what’s the option to the current state of baseball protection? Presuming that Sportsnet has a lot of baseball folks already, who else could boost their offerings and with whom? There are some totally free agents remaining there now: Barry Davis, Mike Wilner, Andrew Stoeten. Would any of these make good sense as additions to The Athletic, World, or TSN? Or is this simply the truth of sports media in 2021: we are going to need to use less than that to which we are accustomed?
Doing More With Less
I wish to start a conversation here about how we think sports media rights and consumption will look in 5 and 10 years. As the Globe reported, Bell shocked its organizational chart just recently. The objective of the restructuring involves a pivot to digital. According to their brand-new President:
” To continue to lead in a transforming market, our operational structure requires to make doing company with us easier while also making it possible for essential investment in the exciting brand-new material and technology development chances ahead.”– Wade Oosterman
This echoes similar declarations made by Rogers about their relatively continuous task cuts:
” As we modernize and progress our service to combat the seismic shift in the industry, we are now strongly working with in a range of ‘hot skills’ locations, consisting of sports gaming, information science and analytics, advanced advertising, digital partnerships and efficiency marketing.”– Rogers spokesperson Andrea Goldstein
What both quotes talk to is the recognition that the old ways of generating income are failing and business are rushing to transition to whatever will follow as rapidly as possible. In the domain of sports, the formula utilized to be simple: get rights from leagues, offer marketing space, make money from subscriber fees. This has actually served Bell and Rogers remarkably as they constructed their media empires. The environment is tight and controlled, and you make money along every possible measurement.
And there is more than enough material for both sides to fill their evening and weekend schedules. As things stand the 2 networks have an equal split of the local games for Canadian hockey teams. They also share the Raptors. Sportsnet has nationwide and playoff hockey, the Jays and MLB playoffs, while TSN has the NFL and CFL, the World Junior Champion, MLS and a great deal of international soccer, some premium regular season baseball games, and a variety of golf and curling.
So why the requirement to shake things up? The answer is that while rights remain enormously important, the methods of generating income from those rights are losing currency. Cord-cutting rates have actually been increasing for the last decade, with almost 300,000 homes dropping the service in2019 In the United States, almost 30%of present subscribers plan to cut the service in the coming year. In addition to cord-cutters, the number of cord-nevers continues to grow. Half of individuals under 30 don’t have cable television presently. This is a shocking amount of profits that is leaving the ecosystem.
On the marketing side, as we have actually seen with the Rogers NHL deal the buyers anticipate certain ratings outcomes. When they do not get them the networks have to compensate them in the form of give-backs, leading to premium slots going unsold since they require to be reserved for existing customers. And while digital consumption is up, ad and membership incomes from streaming are no place near what has actually been lost from conventional delivery.
So networks are in the position of having rights costs escalate but having no clear path to preserving present profit levels. In a typical economy you would pass those increases on to consumers and advertisers however the exact reverse is occurring. Marketers are balking and consumers are leaving.
Supposing this is basically accurate, what do you? The something all networks understand how to do is to cut expenses. SN/HNIC drastically cut its studio size and the number of individuals on its insider roster. TSN has actually gutted its writing contingent for the site, and is looking at trimming its own studio spending plans. Sportsnet is attempting to squeeze more out of shows like Tim & Sid with a smaller sized production staff.
My concern for you as consumers of sports is this: beyond the actual games, how much do you notice or appreciate what the networks produce the other21 hours in the day?
Richard Deitsch spills countless words a month reporting on the nuances of American panels shows, intermission programs, sideline reporting, and other facets of studio production. I’m a passionate reader of all of this, but I wonder just how much significance these have for the typical sports viewer. In an on-demand and multi-screen world, does anyone watch this shows? Why would you stick to the intermission program when you can squeeze in some Netflix, or read a twitter thread about the win likelihoods for each team entering into the second half instead?
With every fresh round of cuts we at TSM keep asking: what exists delegated axe? I am beginning to question if we have been misestimating much of what occurs before the puck drops, and after the final whistle. If less and fewer individuals are viewing this material, then why would a network pick to air programming 24 hours a day? Why would advertisers pay anything for areas on programs no one is viewing? Why would you pay for a cable plan when all you enjoy are the games, and these can be streamed?
You can see why the pivot to digital is so important. There is certainly cash to be made in streaming, on social media, and in secondary markets like gaming and dream. The conventional methods of operating still make up the lion’s share of the earnings now, however the writing is on the wall. The only thing that we know for certain is that live sports will continue to be really important in a future where most things can be seen asynchronously.
Concerns for you: If everything prior to and after the video game was a clip-show on loop would anything of value to you be lost? How do you feel about a future in which most daytime shows is radio on TELEVISION?
IceSingh (@IceSinghHNIC) January 14, 2021
- Charles Barkley asked the concern. The answer is no.
I make certain this would discuss real well. pic.twitter.com/OnuvY1MHaC
— James Cybulski (@JamesCybulski) January 15, 2021
- Can you think of the reaction in Toronto if Auston Matthews had responded to Steve Simmons in this manner?
really losing it at Konecny doing his finest to hold it together. pic.twitter.com/uePOzxxvJ3
— Brad Keffer (@brad_keffer) January 16, 2021
thanks for reading and commenting,
until next time …
mike (not actually in boston)