This article, first published on February 21, 2014 during the Sochi Winter Olympics exposes both the aim and the method of how the NHL, hand in hand with the sports media, began creating the conditions to justify launching its own private “World Cup of Hockey.”
The discourse runs like this: we poor owners have been victimized and our fans short-changed and held hostage by the Olympics, because “the best league in the world has been shut down” (Prime Time Sports, Rogers Sportsnet, February 18, 2014). “Just look at our empty buildings.” It is reminiscent of the old saw about the thief crying “stop thief!” | TONY SEED*
The NHL can only drool over the figures. The Canada-U.S. men’s hockey semifinal drew a television audience of more than 15 million for CBC. (Photo) Corey Perry of Canada tries a wraparound on Jonathan Quick of the USA as he is defended by Cam Fowler during first period action in the men’s hockey semifinal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, February 21, 2014 | Jean Levac/Postmedia News
SEEMINGLY out of the blue, the National Hockey League (NHL) based in New York sent their fabled Stanley Cup trophy to Sochi. The media slavered when it made its appearance at Canada House on Monday, February 17th. The iconic silver trophy had seemingly fallen from the sky or appeared as if a gift from the gods of sport with a spiritual significance comparable to a burning bush.
In the media euphoria, Canadian Olympic members were organized to pose with the trophy and world champion figure skater Patrick Chan to bless it with a kiss.
Four-time Olympian skier Brian Stemmle, also a CBC analyst, denounced the maneouvre, rightly asking: “Why is the Stanley Cup at Canada House in Sochi? Other athletes don’t bring their trophies. Hate when hockey tries to overshadow other sports.” A new diversion began. Continue reading
The annual US college hoops hysteria known as March Madness generates a multibillion-dollar wave of revenue – but the players don’t receive a dime of it. And this includes the 25 Canadian youth being hyped by TSN, which does not broadcast Canadian college games, as “the next generation of basketball” for self-serving reasons.
, The Nation (April 1, 2013)
– THE corruption extends to the college sports media industry. Over the past decade, the number of college football and basketball games broadcast on ESPN channels has skyrocketed from 491 to 1,320. ESPN now happens to be both the number-one broadcaster of college football and basketball and those sports’ number-one news provider. Covering sports and shilling for the industry have become carnally intertwined. Nationally credited journalists from ESPN and other media outlets reportedly show up at the Fiesta Bowl a week in advance, where they stay at the finest resorts and receive a different expensive present every day, courtesy of the tournament’s corporate sponsors. Continue reading
Mike Babcock’s rant: “And the other thing that happens for the NHL player, and probably for you in the media, is the respect you have for the opposition.” Welcome to the G-20 Winter Games and the Harper agenda for a “new patriotism.” | TONY SEED*
Revised on February 23, 2014
CANADIANS are passionate about their hockey and many other sports. Of course Canadians are rooting for their team and their athletes.
But what is taking place at the Sochi Winter Olympics is something quite different. A salient feature of the reporting and broadcasting of the hockey competition is that it is characterized by strident themes of great nation superiority and the domination by two countries, Canada and the USA. The principle that relations in sport be based on the relations of equality of nations, big and small or the principle that every nation is as equally as important as the next nation means nothing to these big nation Anglo-American chauvinists, let alone the principle of friendship between peoples and their athletes. Continue reading
TORONTO’S SKYDOME is the mother of “public-private partnerships” (P3) championed by neo-liberals as the template for economic development. It siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to benefit private sports teams, the coffers of the construction monopolies and the finance capitalists who own Ontario’s debt. Whether the SkyDome ultimately came in “on budget” or not was irrelevant to the monopolies that were guaranteed their profits. As author/journalist Neil deMause reveals in his indepth exposé, when the budget was exceeded, in 1991 the financial oligarchy quickly swooped in to lend yet more money guaranteed by the state. The SkyDome reflects a medieval character of spending for the pleasure of a tiny aristocratic elite leaving the people to be spectators of the narcosis of American professional sport and consumers of a giant circus in which they participate only in a marginalized way. – Tony Seed Continue reading