As Canada opens its campaign to qualify for Russia 2018 their first two games will not be available on Canadian TV. On Friday it was revealed that Canada and Sportsnet would be mutually ending their broadcast agreement. They are currently searching for a new broadcast partner.
It appears, at least temporarily, that they have found one: the well known television network known as the internet. Yes Canadian soccer is entering the digital age and it appears Canadian World Cup qualifiers will be available to watch after all, hopefully.
Canada Soccer confirmed in a media call done today that they will be attempting to do their own broadcast for both the home and away leg of Canada's upcoming pair of qualifiers against Dominica. Canada open the second round of CONCACAF qualifiers in Dominica on Thursday before their home leg at BMO Field on Tuesday.
It is unknown at this time whether or not the internet in Windsor Park in Dominica will be good enough to provide such a stream. A similar situation took place for the CSA earlier this year when they tried to broadcast Canada's friendly against Puerto Rico before ultimately discovering the internet was not strong enough.
They did, however, successfully broadcast a friendly from earlier in the camp in which Canada defeated Guatamala 1-0. There is no question that the home leg at BMO Field will be easy to broadcast as well.
This is a smart short-term solution for the Canadian program, it is a cost effective way to make sure supporters can still see their team.
In terms of long-term exposure, however, it will not help the program. While Gavin Day's one man cameraman/commentator/colour commentator is without a doubt fun to watch, it is also far from multi-camera professional standards.
It will do little for the exposure of the sport in the country if casual fans have to watch on a one camera feed with no replay or interviews, even if Day is as knowledgeable as they come about the sport in this country.
In 2012 some of the best traction Canadian soccer has gotten in years came when Sportsnet and City TV broadcast Canadian World Cup Qualifiers on their main channels as it became apparent that Canada actually had a chance to make the final stage of CONCACAF qualifying.
Evidently they did not, hence why the internet has the broadcast rights to Canadian soccer for what will hopefully be the short-term. So while Canada soccer should be commended for showing the qualifiers at all, they still have a lot of work to do before a better long-term solution is reached.