I sent the below letter to TSN’s Audience Relations, where relations means you get an auto-reply indicating a cog will read the message but not personally respond. If there’s enough volume on a topic, someone in power at Bell Media may hear about it at the end of the day so you may be better off calling them at 416-384-7660. Also, come to my club’s AFL Grand Final party in Toronto. We’ll figure out a way to show it on TV whether TSN is involved or not.
I’ve come to learn that Bell Media doesn’t plan to air the AFL Grand Final on TSN2, instead showing Rugby World Cup games of Australia v Russia and France v Tonga. The March 18th press release stated,
“The top two teams face off in the AFL GRAND FINAL – the Aussie Super Bowl – airing live on TSN2.”
Football clubs across the country have planned Grand Final parties with the expectation of a live broadcast, just as many have done for more than five years now when it was once annually broadcast by Setanta Sport. The AFL’s party tracker has 11 registered events in Canada that will have hundreds of attendees each.
Last minute scheduling news of a tape-delayed broadcast on TSN this Saturday has lead to a non-announcement through social media of it now being streamed live on tsn.ca. Fans of AFL in Canada already had an ad-free web site to stream the Grand Final and such a haphazard handling of the AFL license will tarnish good will toward the TSN brand while also diminishing the opportunity to attract future viewership to the sport.
At this point, the best case scenario would be for Bell Media to offer a pay-per-view option to all the pubs holding event nights this Friday. AFL Grand Final parties have a social atmosphere akin to Canada’s run at Olympic hockey gold and that setting certainly isn’t attained hunched over a laptop.