From the CFL home page
CBC STRIKE POSSIBLE
Thursday, July 7, 2005 - 10:58AM
Byline: Rick Westhead
Source: Toronto Star
Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has contacted three of its sports partners, telling them to brace for the possibility that CBC broadcasts of events may be scuttled as soon as next month because of a percolating labour dispute.
Nancy Lee, CBC’s executive director of English TV sports, yesterday contacted the Canadian Football League, Tennis Canada and the Canada Games to brief the organizations about the public broadcaster’s talks with its union.
The union, representing 5,000 employees at CBC, is scheduled to vote July 13 to 14 on whether to give the union executive a strike mandate, a move that may set the stage for a crippling walkout. If members approve a strike, they could walk off the job as early as mid-August.
CBC spokesperson Jason MacDonald said the calls to the network’s sports partners were “a good-faith move because we have a good business relationship with our partners.”
It’s unclear how much advertising revenue CBC generates from its broadcasts of summer sports.
Besides the CFL, sports broadcasts that could be affected by a work stoppage include the men’s and women’s Rogers Cup tennis tournament, which runs from Aug. 6 to 21; and the Canada Games, from Aug. 6 to 20, an Olympic-style event featuring sports such as field hockey, sailing and track and field.
If the Canadian Media Guild’s members decide to strike, it’s possible the network won’t have enough staff to stage live sports broadcasts. To handle that prospect, the network ultimately may offer other broadcasters, including Rogers Communications Corp.'s Rogers Sportsnet and BCE Inc.'s TSN sports cable channel, the chance to claim CBC’s broadcast rights for as long as the network is embroiled in a work stoppage.
CFL executive Brent Scrimshaw confirmed yesterday CBC’s Lee had contacted the league, and said it will monitor the broadcaster’s labour climate.
Canada Games president and chief executive Sue Hylland said CBC is committed to show 18 hours of coverage of the bi-annual event, which features teams from different Canadian provinces. If the network isn’t able to reach an accord with the union, the event would probably go ahead without any TV coverage, she said.
“I think we’re too late to go out and strike a deal with anyone else.”
Still, the loss of TV coverage wouldn’t mean a drop-off in revenue for the Canada Games. CBC doesn’t pay any rights fee to cover the event or share any of the related advertising revenue.
CBC is suffering after losing advertising revenue from Hockey Night in Canada.