I'll say this for CBC Sports (Hi Nancy! Long time no see!). They certainly know how to generate hockey buzz in the off season, even if that off season is less than 21 hours old. Normally they would wait until July to pull something this stupid.
At 12:34 p.m. this afternoon, a little item went up on the CBC website to the effect that Hockey Night In Canada would not be renewing the licensing agreement to it's own iconic theme song (they were no doubt reacting to an earlier report in that bastion of balanced journalism, The Toronto Star -- H/T to Four Habs Fans), a song written especially for them in 1968 by Dolores Claman, and one that has become, through some kind of genetic mutation, Canada's unofficial "second national anthem".
Try as they might to bury it between a link to the day's soy futures and a five part series written by David Suzuki about how David Suzuki is such a genius he deserves to be canonized by Saturday, those
At 5:26 p.m., a "clarification" was posted, saying that "Oh no no no, you have it ALL wrong! We're still in negotiations!"
Contrary to published reports, CBC Sports hasn't yet pulled the plug on the Hockey Night in Canada theme song. "We've been reaching out to [Claman] and her representative, and haven't heard back," (Executive director of CBC Sports Scott) Moore said. "We're prepared to do a deal, we're prepared to talk, but we're not prepared to do a deal at all costs."While there's no mention of nice Mister Moore's reaction when pressed about the evident contradiction in stating that Mother Corps had been "reaching out but haven't received an answer" nearly five hours after Ms. Claman's agents told reporters that they had received a drop dead letter from HNIC the week before, I imagine it involved a shout of "LOOK OVER THERE!", followed by a dive beneath Greg Millen's ego.
Apparently the hang up is money. So let's put our math caps on, shall we?
According to the same report, CBC pays a fee of $500.00 each time the song is played, a number that has remained virtually unchanged in 40 years. To be generous, let's assume that the song is played...oh...40 times a season (20 regular season games...remember, they don't repeat it between games of a Saturday double header, and now we know why... plus playoffs). That works out to the princely sum of $20,000.00 for the entire season. The Claman camp is asking for a 15% increase in the fee. Okay...15% of $500 is $75. $75 multiplied by 40 is $3,000.00.
So, in effect, we have a Crown Corporation with an annual operating budget somewhere north of $1.2 billion balking at spending $23,000.00 for something that gives them a level of brand recognition for which McDonald's would cheerfully eviscerate Ronald in front of a room full of preschoolers to achieve. Nicely played, Mother Corps. Nicely played indeed.
To sum up, in the five or so years of Ms. Nancy Lee's stalwart leadership, CBC Sports has, in no particular order:
- a) almost fired Ron McLean before a backlash forced them to surrender faster than the French Army.
- b) almost fired Don Cherry until a backlash forced them to surrender faster than the French Army.
- c) actually did fire Chris Cuthbert, their best play-by-play man, and heir presumptive to Bob Cole only to see him walk to TSN for half the work and twice the money.
- d) become so Toronto centric that even the more sane members of Leaf Nation are becoming embarassed.
- And finally, e) attempted to nickel-and-dime a little old lady into destitution, not to mention spit in the face of every Canadian hockey fan, over a dollar amount that wouldn't cover Czarina Lee's car allowance for week.
Last play for Hockey Night in Canada Theme Song? [CBC.ca]
Deal still possible for Hockey Night Song [CBC.ca]
Fire Up Your iPods: HNIC Song Won't Remain The Same [Four Habs Fans]