Earlier this week, I had Cam Gordon from Twitter Canada in my basement and we were talking about a recent PItch Talks event that ended early when Kelly Gruber soured the room. Cam was there, and we got to talking about these events from Homestand Sports. In addition to Pitch Talks there's Puck Talks and Hoop Talks. Here's a trailer from Homestand Sports.
In that trailer, you'll see many Sportsnet personalities. I saw Stephen Brunt, Sid Seixeiro, John Shannon and Elliotte Friedman. In the recent event with the Kelly Gruber controversy, there was an appearance by Dan Shulman and Kevin Barker. Sportsnet personalities are all over these events.
Yesterday, Homestand Sports gave notice that Sportsnet personalities will no longer be permitted to appear at their events. Here's that update.
To the entire Homestand Sports family:
We have recently learned that we will no longer have Sportsnet personalities appearing on our shows. It has been a real pleasure working with all of these talented people.
Though this does not disrupt our programming, it has inspired thoughts about what Homestand is about. From the beginning, our events have been focused on sports fans and making them a priority. We realized that fans want to be more involved in conversations around their favourite sports, teams, and players. Thus, the Talks were born. Our events have created a way for fans to connect with sports media personnel, industry professionals, as well as past and present athletes. We love hearing stories about those who travel from far distances to attend these events, how they heard about it, who they came with; and we love seeing the fans interact with each other.
In addition to the above, we see our events as an alternative to traditional sports media. Currently, most major sports channels and shows are owned and operated by sizable corporations, some of which are not companies with sports as a sole focus. Fans deserve a variety of media to choose from in order to get the full picture and be exposed to different views and opinions. We look forward to continuing to serve fans in this way as we develop our live shows and other content.
We absolutely loved having Sportsnet personalities on our shows for many reasons. One of the main reasons is our feeling that combining talent from Sportsnet with talent from other media outlets created a diverse experience for fans. Though we will continue to create this environment, we do consider this a loss for sports fans.
We would like to sincerely thank the team of Sportsnet talent who have shared their insights at our live events over the years. The memories that have been created will never be forgotten by us or the fans.
The Talks series will continue as usual, and the Sportsnet team will always be welcome. Stay tuned for exciting new programming coming THIS FALL!
Founder, Homestand Sports
I've found this development particularly interesting, because in many ways, these talks are cut from the same cloth as my podcast. The first line in the trailer above comes from Mike Zeisberger (note to self: invite Mike on Toronto Mike'd) and his words could apply to Toronto Mike'd. He says "you come to this and it is pretty much as informal as being in somebody's basement talking about the sport we all love".
The beauty of Toronto Mike'd is that it's 100% independent. In any given week there could be a guest from Sportsnet, TSN, CBC, Corus, the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun or an independent. From Sportsnet I've enjoyed brilliant conversations with Ron MacLean, Stephen Brunt, Dan Shulman, Arash Madani, Elliotte Friedman, Tara Slone, Damien Cox, Hazel Mae, Eric Smith, Brad Fay, Chris Johnston, Caroline Cameron, Jeff Marek, Andrew Walker, Carly Agro, Faizal Khamisa, Mike Wilner, Greg Brady, Elliott Price, Steve Dangle, Hugh Burrill... you get the idea. Of course, I didn't sell tickets for people to hear these discussions, and maybe that's the kicker.
I don't know for certain why Rogers decided to prevent their talent from appearing at these events, but I would hypothesize that they're going to launch their own such events and Homestand Sports would be deemed the competition. Again, just an educated guess on my part, but that makes the most sense.
We'll see what the future holds. I'm keeping my good eye on this one...