News / Toronto

No live TV coverage for North American Indigenous Games

Lack of funding one of the reasons organizers chose live online streaming in agreement with CBC.

Ontario players celebrate after defeating British Columbia in women's lacrosse action during the North American Indigenous Games in Hagerville, Ontario, on Monday. None of the games are being broadcast live on TV.

Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Ontario players celebrate after defeating British Columbia in women's lacrosse action during the North American Indigenous Games in Hagerville, Ontario, on Monday. None of the games are being broadcast live on TV.

Five thousand Indigenous athletes. 14 different sports. All-week competition. No live TV coverage.

Organizers of the North American Indigenous Games 2017 are in agreement with the CBC for 100 hours of online live streaming and on-demand coverage of the competitions. But unlike previous big sporting events such as the Pan Am Games, none of the local broadcasters are carrying any of the games.

That's something Jean Paul Gladu, president and CEO of Toronto-based Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, called "very unfortunate."

He said TV coverage would have helped inspire more Indigenous youth to excel in sports, and brought a chance for more advertising.

"I mean, too bad," he said. "I think this is a missed opportunity to showcase and celebrate all the wonderful Indigenous athletes and all the sponsoring companies that support them through sports gear."

In addition to live streaming, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said the broadcaster is doing more in-depth coverage of the games through its news and arts programming.

The games' marketing director Abidah Shirazi told Metro lack of funding was a major factor in deciding how the games are covered.

"Of course it would have been great to put the games on TV and engage more public, but we are running on a tight budget," she said, noting they opted for online streaming partly because more people are "going digital."

The long-term goal is to increase the scope and raise more awareness of the games through more platforms, including TV, she added.

The lack of TV coverage for the games reflects the larger issue of underrepresentation of cultural diversity, whether with Indigenous people or other minority groups, said Ryerson professor and diversity researcher Mark Campbell.

Campbell said diversity in TV and radio representation is still sparse and largely driven by stereotypes.

"These things are always about ratings and viewership numbers," he said of the lack of TV coverage for the games. "It's ironic because in the moment of truth and reconciliation, all of Canada could be the audience."

More on Metronews.ca