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RaptorsHQ Talks Raptors' Programming with

With Raptors' next pre-season match not until this Sunday, the HQ posts a "lost article" meant for last week's media discussions...

Last week at the HQ we dubbed "Media Week" as we talked to bloggers, mainstream media, and did a few other "media-related" posts.

There was one that got away however.

Earlier last month we reached out to about their decisions this year regarding Raptors' basketball, specifically the decision to begin airing games again. However, with all the other content that we had going, we didn't get a chance to post the results of the brief Q and A we did with their Director of Communications.

Therefore, since we don't have another pre-season Raps match until Sunday night, today seemed like perfect day to post the brief Q and A...

1. RaptorsHQ: Sportsnet seemed to be moving away from basketball over the past few years. First the decision to no longer air the NCAA Tournament, then fewer and fewer NBA games and finally last season, there didn't seem to even be much emphasis on the game even in nightly recap's of the day's sports' news. Can you talk to us a bit about this evolution and why now the network has decided to get back into the basketball game?

A. Since Day 1 we have made a commitment to basketball. A competitve marketplace dictates that Sportsnet may not always be the successful bidder for rights. Also our programming grid and the advertising and affiliate revenue must support our business decisions. With the launch of Rogers Sportsnet ONE, a national digital channel, we have the opportunity to provide basketball to our audience.

2. RHQ: Moving specifically to the Raptors, can you tell us a bit about the network's decision to air a good chunk of the Dino's games this year?

A. With the launch of Sportsnet ONE, Rogers Sportsnet now has the flexibility to air Raptors and NBA games nationally.

3. RHQ: What about the timing of the decision? Was there any concern that with a Bosh-less Raptors the TV numbers wouldn't be there this season?

A. We understand that if the team is successful we will have a lot more viewers, but we remain optimistic that providing home team basketball to the marketplace will allow us to gain strong viewership. The Raptors are Canada's team in the NBA, so Bosh's decision never factored into our decision.

In addition, I asked Sportsnet about concerns from either the network or the Raps during negotiations, over alienating Raptors' fans with this new channel, similar to the whole TSN2 fiasco, however they simply stated that negotiations with the Raps in this respect were confidential.

I'd still love to get to the bottom of this story, but to do it, I think I'll have to try the other side of the fence, and talk to someone at MLSE or the Raptors themselves...