12:55am Eastern

I’ve had a ton of emails over the last couple of days asking me about my opinion on Jack Armstrong and the news that Sportsnet is getting out of the basketball business as of next season.

Well, Sportsnet may be owned by Rogers – the same company that owns the FAN 590 – but I’ve got to say that I’m disappointed in the decision.  With basketball and soccer being the two most popular “growth sports” in Canada … I would think it’d only make sense to stay connected (no pun intended) to the Raptors. 

However, from a pure dollars and cents standpoint, it’s clear to see where Sportsnet is coming from. 

– “THE BUSINESS”

Unlike TSN and The Score, Sportsnet has promoted and sold itself as a “regional” sports network.  Thus, despite the pockets of Raptors fans that may exist across the country in places like Halifax, Montreal, Calgary, or Vancouver … it, understandably, comes down to the bottom line for Sportsnet … and how much money they can make in their East, Ontario, West or Pacific regions.

Given Sportsnet’s individual deals with various Canadian NHL teams … the opportunity to make big bucks with teams like the Canucks, Flames, and Habs (etc) out-weighs whatever money the Raps might bring in.

Basically, if you could get double-or-more viewers – and much more money – broadcasting the NHL instead of the NBA, you do so.  Word has it that the Raptors NATIONAL numbers (when they’re on all four Sportsnet regions) are lower than some of the local/regional numbers (i.e. – Senators’ numbers in the East Region versus the Raptors’ numbers from coast to coast on ALL regions).

It’s bad news for basketball fans … but it’s the right move as far as “business” goes.  For now. 

The biggest loss though … is Jack Armstrong.

– “THE MAN”

For me, Jack is not only a co-worker and a mentor but he is an extremely close friend.  Jack was an intricate part of my wedding a couple of years ago and there are few people I trust more – personally and professionally – than Jack Armstrong. 

“The Coach” has been around the Toronto scene for 10+ years and he has become synonymous with the Raps.

He MUST be involved with the Raptors in some way/shape/form next season and for many years to come.

And I’m sure that will happen.

Even if they’re not broadcasting Raptors’ games, Sportsnet could still try re-signing Jacko.  Plus, there’s no saying that TSN or The Score won’t make a pitch for the former head coach of the Niagara Purple Eagles.  And when all is said and done, you’re sure to see plenty of Jack on Raptors TV … whether it be on the pre and post game shows, Raptors Today, and/or Full Court Press.  You will also hear Jack (with me) on every pre-game show on the FAN’s radio broadcasts and he can be seen and heard every Thursday on “Hoops” on the FAN 590 and Raps TV.

So, barring a major offer from another team in the NBA (which could easily happen) … you’ll still be seeing and hearing plenty from Jack. 

I’ll continue to push for Jack to do even “more” with the Raptors as well.  If you’ve heard the radio broadcasts over the past few seasons – or the pre and post game show for nearly 10 years – you’ve heard me campaign for Jack to be named to the Raptors’ staff as well.  Whether it be as a scout, adviser, assistant coach, Assistant GM, or even as a ”basketball ambassador” … I truly believe that Jack has more to offer to this city and this organization.  As great as he is as a broadcaster and entertainer, I think he could have a greater impact and role in helping guide Canada’s only franchise into the future. 

The world would be a better place with more Jack!

E. Smith  

7 Responses to “The Jack Attack”
  1. 1.

    Hi Eric,
    I am an NBA junkie and a sane Raptors Fanatic, and I would like to take a few minutes to thank you Guys for the GREAT JOB you all have been doing for the Raps and baskeball in this City. The words written about Jack could not be said better. My entire household LOVES Jack and what he brings to the Broadcast. His personality is SOOTHING.

    - Randolph Stewart
  2. 2.

    Thanks Randolph. Personally, I appreciate the thumbs up … and I couldn’t agree more about Jack specifically.

    - E. Smith
  3. 3.

    RIGHT ON!!!

    - mario
  4. 4.

    The organization needs to keep Jack, definitely. He understands the game so well and his insight will be a mojor loss if he is to go elsewhere.

    Side note: the Raptors also need to keep Jose Calderon. Can you believe he offered to go back to the bench for the sake of the team? This is a “team player” personified.

    - Alessio
  5. 5.

    Jose (like Jack) is one of the ‘good ones’. Totally selfless.

    - E. Smith
  6. 6.

    Now let’s flip the script, would Ford do something like that For CAlderon, the answer to that is proven already… Thank God we have some porfessionals on this Team, that put Wining first and Team as there priority….

    - rosco
  7. 7.

    WE WANT JACK! WE NEED JACK!

    Jack’s voice has been the sound of my basketball conciousness from day one of becoming a raptor fan!

    Here’s hoping that it’ll remain the same for as long as there’s basketball in Canada!

    - Adi
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