Canadian Olympic Committee Remains Committed to its Television License
Applications

TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) continues to await the processing of its applications for two amateur sports television networks by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Committee (CRTC). Applications for the English language "Canadian Amateur Sports Network" and French language "Reseau du sport amateur canadien" were submitted in December 2007.

Despite the delays, the COC remains committed to successfully launching both networks and confident that its applications will be granted. The strong case for approving the broadcast license can be found at http://www.olympic.ca/en/programs/canadian-amateur-sports-network.

"The need for such a network has never been greater," said Marcel Aubut, president-elect of the COC. "As we watch the most widely televised sporting event in Canada's history, the irony is underlined. Outside of the Olympic Games, the majority of Canada's amateur athletes and sports receive virtually no television coverage at all."

Aubut continued: "The Vancouver Games will be a great success on all fronts and our athletes will represent Canada with pride and an outstanding performance as they seek to Own the Podium. The years of preparation, dedication, and financial support invested by individual athletes, sport federations, the COC, governments at all levels, and of course VANOC, will culminate in the most watched and the most successful sporting event ever held in Canada."

After Vancouver: Fade to Black?

When Olympic and Paralympic competition concludes, television coverage of the majority of Canada's amateur athletes will diminish. Athletes who competed in the intense Olympic spotlight to become household names across Canada will be relegated to the background for the next four years.

When the London Olympic Games arrive in 2012, Canadian sport fans will not be familiar with the vast majority of athletes. They will not have seen them compete in major international and national events, due to very limited television coverage. On the winter side, it will take until the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games to get consistent opportunities to watch and cheer world-ranked and medal-winning Canadian athletes across a spectrum of sports. Without regular television exposure, their achievements while representing Canada will in most cases be only briefly mentioned in broadcast, print and online media.

For those athletes who compete in non-Olympic amateur sports - even Pan American sports not represented on the Olympic level - they obtain even less coverage, but deserve much better.

The COC, representing more than 90 Olympic and non-Olympic sports federations, seeks to change this. It will continue pursuing the Canadian Amateur Sports Network/Reseau du sport amateur canadien networks, determined that amateur athletes won't fade to black.

In partnership with a team of broadcast experts and funded by private sector supporters, it has applied to the CRTC for English and French television broadcast licenses that will be dedicated to the coverage of under-served amateur sports. The applications are for 9(1)(h) status, which is the section of the Broadcasting Act that refers to mandatory distribution to all cable and satellite television households in Canada.

The CRTC is currently re-evaluating the criteria for granting 9(1)(h) licenses, proposing to make them even tougher to obtain. Despite the challenge, the COC and its partners are inspired by the same commitment that amateur athletes give to their respective sports. It is determined to succeed, despite the extensive CRTC delays.

"This is a significant opportunity to help our athletes and the situation is critical," said Chris Rudge, CEO and secretary general of the COC. "Canada wants to watch, cheer and support our amateur athletes, who both need and deserve such support. The proposed networks will deliver that exposure and, crucially, generate revenues that provide a sustainable source of financial support to the amateur sport community - up to $30 million each year."

The processing of the applications is pending completion of the CRTC review of the governing criteria for 9(1)(h) licenses. The CRTC has issued a call for comments on its proposed criteria with a deadline for submission of March 1, 2010. But as of now, no timeframe for a decision and for the subsequent processing of applications has been announced.

For more information on the amateur sport networks, visit www.casn-rsac.ca.

About the Canadian Olympic Committee

The Canadian Olympic Committee is a national, private, not-for-profit organization committed to sport excellence. It is responsible for all aspects of Canada's involvement in the Olympic Movement, including Canada's participation in the Olympic and Pan American Games and a wide variety of programs that promote the Olympic Movement in Canada through cultural and educational means. For news and information, visit the COC website at www.olympic.ca and find the team on both Facebook (Canadian Olympic Team) and Twitter (CDNOlympicTeam).

SOURCE Canadian Olympic Committee

For further information: For further information: Isabelle Hodge, Manager, Media Relations, Canadian Olympic Committee, Cell: (604) 345-0074, Email: ihodge@olympic.ca

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