THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO — Sportsnet has purchased the Grand Slam of Curling and will operate the international men’s and women’s curling circuit.
Sportsnet, which is owned by Rogers Communications Inc., made the announcement Thursday it had bought the Grand Slam of Curling from Insight Sports Ltd.
Canada’s top curlers as well as many of the world’s best teams compete in Grand Slam of Curling, a major bonspiel series and part of the World Curling Tour.
Pierre Charette, the president of the World Competitive Curlers Association says the deal is good news for the future of the Grand Slam, in spite of recent financial woes.
"I was always optimistic," he said. "Actually, I was more worried a year ago when the financial problems start with the tour last summer.
Scott Moore, the president of broadcasting for Rogers Media, said the Grand Slam of Curling purses will remain at least in the current range of $100,000. But he added they might also increase depending on new sponsorship agreements.
The purchase marks the start of a new events division for Sportsnet, which up until now focused on print, online and broadcast communications operations through a magazine, radio and television channels and a number of websites.
"It’s like owning a condo in Toronto as opposed to renting it," said Moore. "By giving it some financial stability and backing we’re in the driver’s seat to be able to grow (the Grand Slam)."
Sportsnet will broadcast the series, along with CBC through a sub-licensing agreement.
Olympic and world champion Kevin Martin of Edmonton says the broadcast side of the deal is very positive for the sport.
"The added coverage, especially for the young teams, they don’t get on TV very much," says Martin. "Now they’re going to be on TV more and more."
The 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling will start Nov. 14-18 with The Masters, which will take place in Brantford, Ont.