Good Friday morning Caps fans. Hope your path to the weekend is all downhill and that you stay relaxed (and warm) over the next few days.
There was a steady hum of news over the last few days, with the biggest bang only tangentially related to the Caps — but having as big of an impact as a signing would have on the team’s fans and fortunes.
I of course am referring to the demise of TSN 1040, which suddenly closed its doors on Tuesday as part of cuts at Bell Media (the painful irony of the Caps’ major sponsor cutting off a key piece of the Vancouver sports scene is, uh, all too real).
As regular readers know by now, I am not a denizen of the greater Vancouver area. So if you want a more personal, reflective discussion on this move I would point you to the one Sam Rowan posted in the wake of the announcement.
But if you’ve read this column often enough, you probably also know that my day job is in the media world. That means I am all too familiar with the constant sword of Damocles that is working in this field and can very much relate to those affected by the layoffs, as well as loyal listeners and sports fans in Vancouver. I feel for everyone involved, especially for those who worked hard and devoted themselves to the station, only to get unceremoniously kicked to the curb.
Sam made the point that the radio flagship had dedicated less and less coverage to the Caps in recent years, reflective of both budget cuts and, perhaps, the team’s diminished standing in the city.
But the problem is we all know the team’s television partners are not going to do the job of covering the Caps and making the team visible. Obviously, sites like this exist but we cater to people who probably read every word that is written about the Caps already, the people who are diehards.
There is a real void in terms of accessible, widely available coverage and this will only make it harder for the team to re-establish itself in a market that has come to distrust it. It is unclear if the team will put the games on the radio at all if it means being on the air with a station owned by a rival company (i.e. Rogers).
Put it this way: the last thing you should be doing while your team becomes less popular in your market is sit idly by, twiddling your thumbs while your main sponsor slashes a potentially viable way of promoting your club. The Caps are not directly at fault here but their inaction is the latest in a long line of indignities that are bad news for growing the game in Vancouver.
Often times you don’t see the value in something until it is gone. I’m not from Vancouver, so I could be wrong, but I very much fear that everyone involved is going to be having some buyer’s remorse for the shortsightedness of this move before too long. If not, perhaps that is a commentary in and of itself on Bell and their commitment to the club and its fans.
Best of the Rest
The Caps will likely be plying their trade in Utah this coming season, an interesting switch from bumming around Providence Park. The upshot is they will have a stadium all to themselves (the former home of the Utah Royals)
Jake Nerwinski inked an extension to 2022, a sign that he will likely continue to be a primary option at right back going forward
An interesting think piece on the Caps’ roster-building going forward
Thanks to the schedule, the Caps are staring down the barrel of a nightmare of international fixtures for its top players. Yay!
Don’t expect full stadiums when MLS kicks off on April 17