The CFL’s preseason kicked off last night with a contest in Calgary between the Stampeders and the B.C. Lions, but unless you were in attendance at McMahon Stadium, you didn’t get to see.
And boy did that tick off more than a few CFL fans. Even Montreal Alouettes receiver Nik Lewis got in on the TSN bashing.
It was another case of CFL fans wanting something, not getting it, and complaining endlessly about it.
Whether it be a 10th team, live streaming untethered from a cable package, a licensed video game or, in this instance, showing every preseason game, CFL fans seem to love to complain about what they don’t have.
But whining about a lack of preseason coverage is digging really deep. Sure, it would have been great to watch the game, but not seeing it isn’t the end of the world either. CFL fans, out of all the sports fans in North America, are maybe the most spoiled. Every game, every game, is broadcast nationally on TSN. So if you like, you can watch every single CFL game. Fans of the other major sports — NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB — leagues cannot do the same.
But despite TSN showing 90 out of a possible 95 total CFL games, including the preseason, fans still find a reason to flip out.
But flipping out is kind of what CFL fans do best, and this is just the latest thing that fans can gripe about. CFL fans never seem to be satisfied — and I count myself as a member of this group in a lot of instances — and it is always about what needs to be done instead of focusing on what is being done.
Don’t think for a second that if TSN thought the audience was there to justify airing every preseason game, that they wouldn’t. They absolutely would. But it costs money to broadcast a live sporting event and TSN simply does not get the ratings needed to rationalize airing more than a handful of preseason games.
And I must stress this again, we are talking about preseason games. Not regular season games, but preseason games. It wasn’t that long ago when every regular season game wasn’t broadcast on television, and it is only recently that any preseason games at all were able to be viewed from the comfort of your home. But because TSN will air four of the nine instead of nine of the nine, fans throw a fit.
Now, to be fair, some fans tossed out ideas to fix this. The idea of doing a bare-bones presentation, with a tiny crew or none at all, like the Ticats do when they have live streamed their preseason games, was brought up, but neither is really feasible.
For starters, the Ticats offering a bare-bones stream is a lot different than TSN offering one. I can hear the complaints now if TSN’s stream was as rudimentary as Hamilton’s the last two seasons. Bush league or amateur would likely get tossed around. If TSN did what the Ticats have done, the people complaining about getting nothing now would switch to complaining about not getting enough.
And watching without a announcing team is out of the question. You can’t watch televised sports like you watch them live. You might not need all the pomp and circumstance, but you need some, as anyone who sat through those announcer-less games on CBC in 2005 can attest.
It would be great if TSN would show all nine preseason games, but they don’t. If you want them to, complaining online isn’t going to fix it. What can fix it is bumping up the ratings for the games they do broadcast, showing TSN that the desire to watch preseason CFL is a thing. The more interest those games get, the more likely it is that TSN will show more preseason contests in the future.