My Canadian fans are far luckier in this respect. After all, curling is a winter tradition, and there is a lot of television coverage of the sport. Even the European fans reading this will not quite feel the same way, thanks to the great success of Eurosport in the broadcasting of curling.
If you are a long-time reader of this blog, then you know I've already gone down this road before. I've even directed begged ESPN to add curling to their calendar. I went so far as to offer my special brand of curling expertise. They have yet to do so, of course.
One group of plucky, technically-savvy curlers from a mid-sized city in upstate New York, however, have heard the call... and done something about it. Joe Calabrese, founder of the 12th End Sports Network, started broadcasting his own club curling matches using the justin.tv video sharing platform and an iPod Touch pointed at the ice. Together with his teammate, Brian Anderson, they took their little broadcasting venture much bigger, adding sophistication, a scoreboard, and on-ice audio to their broadcasts.
When CurlTV, the Internet streaming source for curling coverage for many years, went under, Joe knew a void had to be filled. And so he did it, creating an ambitious venture in an attempt to bring curling to a wider audience. Not only will they be broadcasting matches from Rochester, NY, they will bring their venture wider, to other clubs, creating an affiliate network.
It is at this point that I must add that I am from the same upstate New York curling club - the Rochester Curling Club - as Joe and Brian. I know them, I'm friendly with them, and I have even done some of their colour commentary, during the Francis Dykes Memorial Bonspiel earlier this year. However, I am not involved in the 12th End Sports Network, and I'm not profiting from this. I mean, if they want to put me on the air again, I'd be more than willing...
Every Wednesday, Joe, Brian, and their curling team - Team Calabrese - participate in the Rochester Curling Club's men's league. And for the past year, they've broadcast their matches via justin.tv. Well, this year's men's league starts on Wednesday, October 19. On the 12th End Sports Network, this is also launch day. And much like Sunday is Football Night in America.... and Saturday is Hockey Night in Canada... Wednesday is Curling Night in America, according to their front page.
Let's hope Curling Night in America catches on. I know I'll be watching! And this blog will follow their progress, as they move this concept to a wider audience