When the World Health Organization finally declared the coronavirus crisis a pandemic last week (dear God, was it only last week?), optimists pointed out that great work is often borne of horrendous circumstances: William Shakespeare, for example, is believed to have written Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and King Lear while London was in the grip of a plague in 1606. (“So, no comedies,” one person on Twitter observed.)
Okay, no one will argue that sports-talk radio descends from the Bard. Still, as this country’s sports-oriented broadcasters confront what feels like an existential threat, talent is shining through. While TSN and Sportsnet are scrambling to fill hundreds of hours of TV airtime, often with old hockey, curling and other old sports matches, some of their radio brethren are emboldened by the sudden creative licence they’ve been granted.
This week, TSN and Sportsnet said they were partnering on a nightly airing of last year’s Toronto Raptors’ championship run, alternating between the networks, depending on which channel aired the original games. Kicking off Friday night, the broadcasts would run until April 12. On Friday, a Sportsnet spokesperson told The Globe and Mail its TV network would also begin showing sports movies and documentaries, beginning with Field of Dreams next Thursday night. And, for baseball-hungry fans, it will serve up some old Toronto Blue Jays playoff series.
(TSN did not share its plans.)
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