International TV coverage boosted at world curling championships this season
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
To continue reading, please subscribe:
Monthly Digital Subscription
$4.75 per week*
- Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
- Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
- Access News Break, our award-winning app
- Play interactive puzzles
*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.
OTTAWA – Seats are hard to come by on the single-row media riser at the world men’s curling championship.
More commentators are on site this year at TD Place as streaming and international broadcast coverage is available from all sheets at the event for the first time.
“It’s such a huge thing for viewers to know that their favourite teams, their favourite players, their countrymen, they can watch for in any draw, for any game,” said broadcaster Tyler George.
Canada’s Jennifer Jones, Mike Harris and Kevin Martin are some of the other commentators who have been on site to call the action this week.
The increased coverage was first tested at last year’s world mixed doubles curling championship in Geneva, World Curling Federation media officer Emily Dwyer said in an email.
This year’s world championships — including the women’s playdowns last month in Sandviken, Sweden — have had international coverage from all sheets during the competition.
“Only a handful of games for (world men’s and world women’s) have been just live streamed, but the rest have full broadcast and commentators,” Dwyer said. “But regardless, there are eyes/cameras on every sheet, which is fantastic.”
TSN features the Canadian teams in its coverage of the world playdowns and uses a single-sheet “feature game” setup at national championships. The network has its broadcast team on site at TD Place after calling the women’s playdowns remotely last month.
The WCF, meanwhile, provides live games and replays via a variety of television providers around the world.
They include JTCB (South Korea), NHK (Japan), STV (Sweden), SSR (Switzerland) and EuroSport. Streaming is also available on the Recast platform via the WCF’s The Curling Channel.
A research team from the University of Saskatchewan is planning to spend 18 months studying the effects of sweeping.
The main objective of the project is to help clarify the role that sweeping plays in how broom pressure affects the ice and behaviour of the stones.
Research will include analyzing the bottom of broom heads after sweeping, trajectory examination, and photographing the ice that has been brushed to measure changes, the World Curling Federation said in a release.
The team will analyze ice imagery for the smoothness of pebble tops and the rounding of pebble edges. The amounts and characteristics of the debris will also be analyzed to determine its source and nature, the WCF said.
The project is currently in its data collection phase and a final report is expected to be published next year.
A successful title defence at the Brier ensured a return trip to the 2024 national playdowns for Brad Gushue’s team.
It also prevented the possibility of a residency hurdle impacting their eligibility.
Before last month’s Brier, Curling Canada clarified the grey area in its residency requirements for the Canada entry that’s given to the defending champs. If the squad has three of four players returning from the team that earned the berth, it’s eligible to play regardless of residency, the organization said.
By repeating as Brier champions, Team Gushue doesn’t have to worry about meeting residency guidelines for the Newfoundland and Labrador championship ahead of the 2024 Brier.
Under current rules, only one import player is allowed per team. The others must be bona fide residents of the same province or territory or have birthright status.
However, Gushue’s team has two players who are not based in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Gushue and vice Mark Nichols live in St. John’s, but newcomer E.J. Harnden lives in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and lead Geoff Walker is an Edmonton resident.
Gushue said it “potentially” could have been problematic had they not won the Brier for the fifth time in seven years. He added it’s possible there could be tweaks made to residency rules in the future.
“I don’t know what’s coming out,” he said. “They’ve told us that towards the end of April, there’s going to be some announcements. I don’t know what those changes are going to be.”
Gushue did make it clear that he’d like to see adjustments made so that Canadian rinks can remain competitive against top international teams.
“It’s something we have to do,” he said. “We have to get our best players playing together.”
The Canadian men haven’t won world gold since 2017. Canada’s last women’s world title was in 2018.
Canada’s last gold medal in the team events at the Olympics came in 2014.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2023.
Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.