|Also known as||SportsDesk
(original title; 1984–2001)
|Presented by||See below|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Location(s)||9 Channel Nine Court, Agincourt, Toronto, Ontario|
|Running time||Varies; usually 60+ minutes|
|Original channel||TSN (1984–present)
CTV (2007–present, during NFL season)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),
|Original run||September 1, 1984 – present|
SportsCentre is a daily sports news television program, and the flagship program of the Canadian sports specialty channel TSN. The program airs several times daily on the five TSN feeds and on weekends on CTV.
The program was launched under its original title SportsDesk the same day as TSN itself debuted, on September 1, 1984. It retained that title until September 5, 2001, when the program was relaunched under a similar look and format to American cable network ESPN's flagship sportscast SportsCenter, with the title rendered in Canadian spelling. It also uses the current ESPN SportsCenter theme. The change in name occurred after majority ownership in TSN had been turned over to CTV the previous year when it acquired 80% of the network; the transaction required the approval of existing minority shareholder ESPN, which did so on the condition that TSN align its branding and programming more closely with ESPN's. Since relaunching as SportsCentre, the program has normally originated from the CTV (now Bell Media) Agincourt studios at 9 Channel Nine Court in Toronto.
In the early 2010s, the program drew significant attention, including from media in the United States, for its 1 a.m. ET/morning-loop anchor team of Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole, which had taken the program in a much more irreverent and comedic direction. The Wall Street Journal published a feature story on the pair titled "Why Can't We Have Canada's 'SportsCentre'?", which compared the Onrait-O'Toole pairing to the likes of 1990s ESPN SportsCenter anchors Keith Olbermann and Craig Kilborn. The attention eventually led to Onrait, O'Toole, and their longtime producer Tim Moriarty all being hired by Fox Sports in the U.S. to help launch its new national cable channel Fox Sports 1 in 2013 (both serve as hosts of Fox Sports Live, a competitor to the U.S. version of SportsCenter on ESPN).
Kraft Celebration Tour
Since 2009, for ten days in late August and/or early September of each year, SportsCentre travels to ten communities across Canada under the banner of the "Kraft Celebration Tour". Two teams of anchors, one starting in the East and the other in the West, broadcast on alternating days during the tour. Each of the ten host communities receives a minimum C$25,000 grant from Kraft Foods to support a community project related to sports or active living.
Host communities are nominated by local residents and submissions are reviewed by a TSN/Kraft judging panel. From 2009 to 2013, the panel named the top 20 finalists each year (10 pairs of two) which were reduced to the ten hosts via online voting. In 2014, the judging panel named all ten hosts directly, with the public instead voting on the winner of a new $100,000 grand prize, and the nine other communities winning $25,000 as before. While the main judging criteria are related to the value of the proposed project and overall submission quality, production logistics and "the need to create a viable cross-Canada tour" are also considerations. The majority of provinces are represented each year, though some provinces may end up having multiple hosts, meaning that smaller provinces (most frequently one or more in Atlantic Canada) have been skipped in some years. No community in the territories was selected prior to 2013, when Fort Smith, Northwest Territories was selected in online voting over Whitehorse, Yukon.
TSN generally produces three editions of SportsCentre each day, all of which are usually at least one hour in length: early evening (6:00 p.m. ET), late evening in the East (typically 10:00 p.m. ET), and late evening in the West (1:00 a.m. ET). The latter broadcast is repeated on an hourly loop throughout the overnight and morning hours, typically running until 1:00 p.m. ET. Since the launch of TSN2 in 2008, some editions (and repeats) have occasionally aired on that channel in the event of programming conflicts on TSN. TSN has gradually increased the length and, in some cases, repetition of SportsCentre broadcasts such that the program is now sometimes carried for up to 16.5 hours out of the day (including "morning loop" repeats) on either TSN or TSN2 (this is similar to the expansion of SportsCenter broadcasts on ESPN since 2008, although with fewer live telecasts).
For a time, TSN2 also carried an abbreviated highlights-only broadcast called SportsCentre Morning Rush, which aired on a 15-minute loop during the morning hours. This program has since been replaced with TSN Radio simulcasts and repeats of other TSN-produced programs such as That's Hockey 2Nite.
Beginning with the 2007 NFL season, extra editions have been produced for sister network CTV as its post-game program for early-window Sunday afternoon NFL games. On weekends, CTV also airs repeats of the previous night's late edition of SportsCentre at noon local time.
For a 60-minute broadcast, the first half-hour typically contains highlights for the day's biggest events, sometimes with a weekly feature (such as "Plays of the Week" or "Ultimate SC") towards the end of that half-hour. The first segment of the second half-hour typically returns to the top two or three stories with packaged reports and/or panel analysis, which is followed by additional highlights and other features. Some highlights segments are given individual names at their conclusion (for example, "NHL Wrap-Up" or "Golf Report") for the apparent sole purpose of providing sponsorship opportunities related to those sports and are otherwise indistinguishable from the rest of the show.
The second-to-last segment contains two daily features: the "Honour Roll", which is a collection of the best plays of the day in no particular order, and (on weeknights) the "SportsCentre Top 10", a countdown of past sports highlights with some theme, typically related to a recent sports event (typical topics might include: "Game 6 Performances Forcing a Game 7", "Odd Celebrity Moments", or "Objects Thrown by Spectators"; the Friday night/Saturday morning topic is almost always "Top 10 Must-See Moments" of the past week). This differs from ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10, which is usually just the top 10 plays of the day. The final segment includes the "Worst Play of the Day" and the "Highlight of the Night", the latter chosen from the Honour Roll highlights.
The early-evening (6:00 p.m. ET) edition varies from this format slightly as it mostly previews the night's games and covers other off-field sports news, along with any daytime highlights. The second half-hour is largely a repeat of the first, with the exception of some features such as the extra segment of Pardon the Interruption produced for ESPN's SportsCenter in the first half, and the "Honour Roll Encore" (a repeat of the previous night's set of top highlights) at the end of the broadcast.
Notable on-air staff
- Kate Beirness (2009–present)
- Tessa Bonhomme (2014-present)
- Darren Dutchyshen (1995–present)
- Jennifer Hedger (2002–present)
- Paul Hollingsworth (2012–present)
- Bryan Mudryk (2005–present)
- Vic Rauter (1985–present)
- Natasha Staniszewski (2011–present)
- Cory Woron (2000–present)
- David Amber
- Rod Black
- Lisa Bowes (1997–1999)
- Brendan Connor (1992–1998)
- James Cybulski (2009–2011)
- James Duthie
- Holly Horton (2004–2011)
- Mark Jones
- Teresa Kruze (1986–2000)
- Farhan Lalji (1997–2000)
- Terry Leibel (1984–1986)
- Michael Landsberg (1984–1997)
- Gord Miller
- Jay Onrait (2002–2013)
- Dan O'Toole (2003–2013)
- Dan Pollard
- David Pratt (1997–2000)
- Blake Price (2001–2004, 2006)
- Dave Randorf
- Paul Romanuk
- Gino Reda (1988–2001)
- Mike Toth (1997–1998)
- Jim Van Horne (1984–2001)
- John Wells (1984–1992)
- Rod Smith (1995–2014)
- TSN - Canada's Sports Leader
- Connors, Will (2012-07-18). "Why Can't We Have Canada's 'SportsCentre'?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
- Deitsch, Richard (2013-05-27). "Headed South: Fox Sports 1 takes on SportsCenter with a Canadian one-two". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2013-07-12.
- Kraft Canada; The Sports Network. "Kraft Celebration Tour 2014: Official Rules". Retrieved 2014-07-08.
- Kraft Canada; The Sports Network. "Kraft Celebration Tour: Official Rules". Retrieved 2013-07-12.