Just when you thought CBC Television couldn’t be anymore out of touch, they’ve launched something for “The Ladies” during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Beginning with next Wednesday’s first game of the Finals, CBC will offer an alternative audio feed dedicated to "sports commentary that women actually want to hear."
Described by giddy CBC publicists as “Sex and the City meets Hockey Night” the alternate game commentary promises “things that have absolutely nothing to do with the game”.
Because as we all know, girls are too stupid to understand or enjoy sports. And what’s more, us guys have no interest in sharing the game experience with them and would prefer they just shut up and keep the cold beer and nachos coming.
Women who write and report on Sports in Canada were among the first to react, calling CBC’s decision “patronizing”, “disheartening” and something that sets both them and female fans back decades.
Shannon Proudfoot of Sportsnet (part of the company CBC now has to negotiate with for the rights to Toronto Maple Leaf games) was asked to fathom how CBC came to the decision. She responded, “They all had to be falling-down, wet-their-pants drunk. Only explanation. I’m about to have a rage stroke.”
But for a lot of us who work in the business, that aptly describes the manner in which CBC is run these days. Decisions made at the kind of sleepovers where girls paint their toenails and gush about boyfriends –- or in CBC’s case, their boyfriend’s development deals.
God knows CBC would never denigrate their coverage of women's hockey or the upcoming Women's FIFA championship with an alternate feed of what a bunch of uninterested guys have to say.
And they certainly wouldn't want comedy writers providing a funnier version of their sitcoms, nor the industry insider feeds that accompany the Genie and Gemini awards online, revealing what we really think of them.
Most of all, they certainly aren’t listening to their fans:
No, if this was really about getting more people to follow or enjoy hockey, those alternate audio streams would be used to reach viewers who only speak Mandarin, or the hockey-mad Punjabi and Russian Diasporas who struggle to find play-by-play coverage in their native tongues.
But building audiences and providing what they want are clearly not how CBC believes taxpayer funding should be spent.
Another reason more and more Canadians (including me) will be watching the remainder of the playoffs on NBC.
As we approach the final games of Round Three, the standings of the Infamous Writers Hockey Pool are as follows: