Thursday, August 2, 2007

CBC jumping off the hockey bandwagon and getting onto the Raps wagon

Alright.. maybe not so much jumping off anything hockey related, but regardless it is nice to see the NBA and specifically the Toronto Raptors get some national exposure once again here in Canada. For the past few years Raptor basketball has only been viewable on speciality channels like TSN, The Score, Sportsnet and Raptor TV. Previous to this break from national T.V. Raptor basketball was on Global and CTV. All these channels has an audience, but CBC is the big league up north. This upcoming season CBC will broadcast 10 sunday games and then for the next 2 years they will do 20. No idea if playoff games will be on CBC. The most watched program on Canadian television every week is usually Hockey night in Canada on Saturdays and the promotion of Raptor basketball during that time will help build the national audience for the next day's Raptor game. This really is a big opportunity for basketball in Canada in general. Canada has a lot of national pride, and if the CBC and the Raptor organization can somehow turn the Toronto Raptors into Canada's Raptors this will open up a world of possibilites in the future for the sport of basketball in Canada.

Right now, Canada is very low in the world placement of basketball talent. In a game against the U.S national team, we can't have Nash playing all 5 spots at the same time. But hopefully if the country as a whole can get behind Canada's only basketball team AND most importantly the Toronto Raptors continue the success they are having on the court I predict big things in the future for Canadian basketball. More interest in the team gives more interest in the sport, and with that more growth in youth basketball that breeds the talent we are lacking. And no doubt about it, this new deal with the CBC will play a major factor this process. But again, getting rid of the Toronto part of this will be a big hurdle in making it all happen. I don't believe the city of Toronto is that much loved outside it's city limits here in Canada. And in sports, when a lot of cities and towns are ticked off at the Toronto Maple Leafs and it's fans for thinking that the Leaf organization is the heart of hockey, I think that could trickle onto the Toronto Raptors if not treated carefully. I could be wrong, basketball fans nationally will support the only Canadian basketball team, but in terms of growth they will need to start to get some of these hockey fans also.

By the way, at this point the CBC is unsure who they are using to work the games from a broadcasting standpoint. Yes you do...Chuck, Leo and Jack. I understand CBC might perfer to use in house, but if you want to expose the country to Raptor basketball, your going to need to understand that Chuck, Leo and Jack are part of Raptor basketball. How many times have I seen Jack Armstrong doing the post game at the Raptor TV broadcast area inside the ACC and heard about 200 people who are watching scream "HEELLLO". I HAVE A CHUCK SWIRSKY BOBBLEHEAD SITTING NEXT TO ME RIGHT NOW. Come on! Those guys are part of Raptor basketball, and if anyone else does it, they will have a very tough time establishing themselves. Swirsky is to basketball in Canada as Bob Cole is to hockey in Canada.


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