TSN aired an Argos-Ticats game where? The downside of five feeds of TSN

Click the schedules above to get a better look. (screenshots via tsn.ca)

TSN (logo via Wikimedia)

TSN (logo via Wikimedia)

When I was piecing together the sports ratings last week, I noticed something a bit odd. According to the schedule page on the TSN website, the September 11 Argonauts/Tiger-Cats game aired live on TSN1 and TSN3, and it possibly aired on tape delay on TSN5, while TSN4 aired a FIBA basketball game. That’s a very curious move especially considering that TSN4 is the local feed for both Toronto and Hamilton, the hometowns of the Argos and the Ticats, respectively. So, what gives? If TSN didn’t muck up their schedule online, and that is in fact correct, it looks like TSN might be messing with the hearts and minds of Argos and Ticats fans for ratings.

You see, TSN4 is Ontario’s home feed (for the most part), but it also happens to be one of the feeds with the potential to reach the biggest audience (approximately 11 million). The CFL already has an audience, and by putting an Argos-Ticats game on TSN1, which primarily serves an area with a population of roughly eight million, and TSN3, which primarily serves a population of just over two million, it wouldn’t really matter much because the diehard Argos and Ticats fans would likely claw tooth and nail to find whatever out there channel TSN1 or TSN3 is on. Not as many people are into FIBA basketball, but by putting it on a feed that primarily serves an area with a population of 11 million, you have a greater chance of folks sampling it, don’t you think?

While some might argue that pushing a game on a specific feed might not matter that much, home feeds are often on a spot on the dial that TSN has historically called home for quite some time (and it’s often a great location, too), while the other non-local feeds are pushed off to oblivion, somewhere completely random. (My provider, Rogers, has TSN 1-5 on channels 494-498, but TSN4 is also on channel 30, where it has been for years, and channel 406. TSN2 also appears multiple times on the dial. It’s on channel 98 and 407, too.)

Where TSN’s feeds become particularly problematic is when you consider people who only have analog cable. Those folks usually only have access to their local TSN home feed. That means they may get left in the dark for some of the major sporting events that they’d typically expect to see on TSN. TSN’s feeds allow them to air multiple sporting events at once, but for those who only have access to their home feed, they may get stuck with the short end of the stick if TSN decides to slide in a not-so-anticipated sporting event on their home feed in place of a bigger event for the sake of “choice” (like what it appears TSN did with the September 11 Argos-Ticats game).

Remember when I mentioned earlier in the story that it seemed as if TSN5 aired the Argos-Ticats game on a tape delay? TSN5 serves another large region: Eastern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces. On September 11, TSN aired NASCAR on TSN5 instead of carrying the CFL game live or the basketball game on TSN4. (However, if you look at the TSN5 schedule for that day, TSN only scheduled in 30 minutes for the CFL game, meaning they only aired a part of it, aired clips of it, skipped it and went to SportsCentre or aired it and skipped SportsCentre.)

Perhaps airing the Argos-Ticats game on a feed other than the home feeds of the teams’ hometowns was a ploy to push viewers to check out TSN Radio. TSN Radio recently expanded to Hamilton, the hometown of the Ticats, and the station has a heavy emphasis on the team. But c’mon, who listens to the radio these days? Actually, I can’t find TSN Radio’s schedule for September 11th, so who knows, maybe TSN Radio in Hamilton didn’t air the game as well.

Anywho, I’m just doing some thinking out loud here, and this is all speculation, of course, but I wouldn’t be surprised if TSN has been playing with their feeds to see how they can best get a hold of as many viewers as possible for each sporting event. Unfortunately, it looks like some viewers might get burned by TSN’s quest for higher ratings.

(Featured Image via Bell Media)