The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) unveiled this week their plans to create English and French amateur sport television networks. The purpose of these networks is to bring attention and funding to both Olympic and non-Olympic sports.
Apparently, the COC believes that the networks would contribute more than $100 million to amateur sports within a seven-year time frame.
Here is what I like about this idea.
I like the fact that the COC is trying to find new ways to generate funds for athletes. All too often, parents are held responsible for financing their children’s athletic ambitions. This may put some athletes at a disadvantage as a result of their parents not being able to afford the traveling, training, and equipment expenses.
If in fact the COC does get its own network, I like its decision to focus on the athletes. More often than not, Canadian athletes go unnoticed. Their lack of exposure could hurt the progression of a sport and in turn result a decrease in funding. This might explain the low attendance at last month’s Canadian Figure Skating Championships.
Mike Slipchuk, a Skate Canada director, chalked the lack of audience interest up to the changing nature of the skating market.
Slipchuk said that they needed to continue to sell their sport, sell their athletes, and tell the stories of their skaters, so that people want to come out and see them perform.
This network may be just what the doctor ordered.
While the application for the network was submitted to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) back in December 2007, it is believed that the public hear may take place in late Spring/early Summer.