If you're a sports fan in Vancouver, choosing what to listen to on the radio has long been an easy choice.
TSNs 1040 and 1410 channels have been the AM radio stations of choice for sports-loving Vancouverites for 16 years, but that may soon change.
Rogers bought the rights to Vancouver Canucks games on the radio back in March, and the company intends to air the contests on its Sportsnet 650 affiliate. Not only that, but Sportsnet has brought in some Vancouver-familiar names to help win over Canuck fans, with former Vancouver Giants voice Brendan Batchelor and former Canucks goalie Corey Hirsch forming the play-by-play and analyst team.
If the way Rogers has handled the Canadian TV rights are any indication, the success of the Canucks might be the biggest factor in the station's success. In Sportsnet's first two years—2014-15 and 15-16—after buying the exclusive television rights in Canada from the NHL for $5.2-billion over 12 years, viewership stumbled compared to the figures put up by TSN prior. But last season with many Canadian teams making the playoffs and doing quite well, ratings skyrocketed.
Rogers is coming into Vancouver during what many expect to be a rough couple years for the Canucks. Does the company think that two sports radio stations can survive? Or does it think that viewers are ripe to be plucked from the hands (or, rather, voices) of Matt Sekeres, Blake Price and Don Taylor?
It should be noted that TSN appears to have amped up for this fight as well, bringing on former Canucks' assistant GM Laurence Gilman, as well as the Vancouver sports blogger pioneers the Kurtenbloggers (Mike Halford and Jason Brough). In terms of heavyweight fights, this is Donald Brashear and Tiger Williams for Vancouver sports radio supremacy.