After announcing its planned acquisition of The Score back in August, Rogers Media passed its final regulatory hurdle Tuesday. Viewers didn’t have to wait long – less than 24 hours – to see a changes to the content mix. Scott Moore, Rogers’ president of broadcast, revealed a few more of the changes audiences and media watchers can expect in the coming months as the company further expands its Sportsnet brand.
Rogers successfully lobbied to have The Score’s broadcast licence changed to give it more wiggle room when it comes to its content mix. Previously, the station was obliged to interrupt live sports footage every 15 minutes for news updates. Now, it only has to do so every hour.
“It isn’t a major change. What we wanted was the flexibility for events like soccer, where there isn’t really a break every 15 minutes,” Moore said. “With baseball, you can easily have a break every two or three innings. Soccer has 45 minutes of continuous action. It’s not a great experience for the viewer to cut away.”
The channel also raised the ceiling on live sport coverage to 15% of its quarterly broadcast hours (from 10%). That’s still not a lot, so expect The Score to stay mostly on the news and commentary side of the market. But Moore said he’s fine with that.
“The restriction is good, actually. We don’t want it to just be an overflow channel or just another event channel. We have the ability to do that with Sportnet One. [The Score] has to maintain its brand DNA, which is news, information and opinion. That’s what drives sports fans. They love talking about their teams… We’re looking to continue those updates unless there’s a really compelling reason not to break away from a live broadcast.”
However, now that it’s tied to Sportsnet, The Score can tap Rogers’ deeper, more widely seen resources for new content options. At 5 p.m. Tuesday (barely six hours after the CRTC announcement), viewers saw a new hockey-focused program hosted by Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro – current hosts of Tim & Sid on Sportsnet The Fan 590 Radio and previous hosts of a show on The Score – making their return to television. Their 5 p.m. time slot will be dedicated to hockey playoff commentary right through to the Stanley Cup.
Blue Jays fans can also expect an interactive Jay’s program after games broadcast on Sportsnet. “It gives us an ability to expand our branded news offers, do more pre- and post-[game content] for fans.”
Moore told Marketing that a new brand for The Score’s broadcast assets is expected to be revealed in June or early July. The station will get a new name (as per the terms of the acquisition; Score Media split its TV and online/mobile properties, keeping The Score name for the digital products) and a look that is in line with the branding developed for Sportsnet back in 2011.
“I’d say we’re 50 to 60% along the way,” Moore said of the rebranding’s roll out. “We know what we’re going to call it. It will be Sportsnet… something,” refusing to reveal the name.
The rebranding sounds pretty much in the bag. After Troika Design Group did much of the legwork for the 2011 rebranding, The Score’s new face is being developed internally.