Rogers Media is renaming The Score as “Sportsnet 360” after acquiring the sports news channel in August for $172 million. Several news outlets including the Globe and Mail indicated that Sportsnet 360 will serve as a 24-hour sports news service for the hardcore sports fan.
Despite buying The Score last summer, Rogers Media could only recently take over the station after the CRTC granted approval to the sale. Rogers Media plans to officially rebrand the channel on July 1.
“This will be the home of breaking news and information powered by the Sportsnet engine,” said Scott Moore, president of broadcasting at Rogers Media. “The first people we need to satisfy are the former Score viewers, because we don’t want them to leave us. Then we can build on that.”
Rogers Media says the new channel’s logo will include Sportnet’s red and blue colour scheme along with The Score’s familiar orange and blue. How all the colours will nicely blend together can only be left up to the imagination.
The eventual buy out could have been seen as predictable to some, as cable giants Rogers Media and BCE heavily increased their stronghold on the Canadian sports television market over the past half-decade. In the same month that The Score’s parent company Score Media was acquired, Rogers Media and BCE’s combined takeover of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment was finally granted.
While The Score gained a loyal viewership, they never could leap frog over industry leading TSN of BCE or Rogers Sportsnet. Despite this, the channel came a long way from its days in the mid-90s as a rudimentary sports ticker service called “Sportscope.” In 1997 the channel rebranded as “Headline Sports,” featuring a 24-hour sports news and headline service. A dispute with CNN Headline News in 2000 led to the channel’s current moniker, The Score.
Part of The Score’s popularity with fans was due to its lax (or progressive) approach to humour, most notably with top anchors Tim Micallef and Sid Seixeiro. While TSN could boast Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, The Score was largely the first Canadian channel to offer sports highlights coupled with genuinely humerous banter. The channel relied on these on-air personalities, since they couldn’t win the rights to major sporting events.
Other notable personalities to spend time at The Score were Elliotte Friedman, Cabral “Cabbie” Richards, James Cybulski and Steve Kouleas.
Moore reportedly stated that Sportsnet 360 will stick to the style that has worked so well with The Score thus far.
It also remains to be seen how Rogers Media will tackle the Canadian university sports aspect of The Score, as the channel was the only of the big three to devote in-depth, meaningful coverage to university sports, specifically men’s football. Apparently, Rogers Media plans to continue this coverage. With more financial means at its disposal this should ring well with fans of both the channel and university sports.