July 08, 2015

Despite the hype, don't fall for the Guilt Trip Games

Neil FlaggRebel Blogger

Please, people. Do not fall for the guilt-trip. It’s OK to stay negative on the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games. In fact, it’s your patriotic duty.

The Pan Am Games only self-identifies as an important sporting event. At best, it is a third-tier competition that excludes 86% of the world’s population by geography, and 99% of the world’s elite athletes by the competition’s sheer irrelevance.

Nonetheless, Rogers Control Trust officer and current Mayor of Toronto John Tory is all over the media desperately trying to promote last-minute ticket sales to events including the opening and closing ceremonies at the Rogers Centre. He even had the arrogance to insult the Torontonians that just elected him last year, calling us champions at “moaning and groaning” for not getting into the non-Olympic spirit. Shaming us into supporting the games through guilt? Please man, we’re adults here.

What exactly are we supposed to get excited about? Basketball, where the world’s top hoops nation, USA, is sending a bunch of scrubs like Ryan Hollins, a journeyman center who has started a grand total of 64 games for seven different teams in nine NBA seasons?

Basketball Canada is holding back all of our stars. Andrew Wiggins, Tristan Thompson, Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph, and the rest of this outstanding generation of Canadian hoop stars, will, however, be competing together in Guadalajara, Mexico in August, in the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament.

How about the baseball competition, held in suburban Ajax, Ontario? A bunch of washed-up career minor-leaguers and fringe prospects will be bunting for gold. Major League Baseball has forbidden any player on a Major League 40-man roster from competing at the Pan Am Games.

The pickings are slim across the board. In their list of Top 10 International Athletes to Watch at the Pan Am Games,”  the best CP could come up with was a 32-year-old American swimmer clinging to unlikely hopes of a 2016 Olympic berth; an American Decathlete who will not be competing in Decathlon and may not compete at all; a Mexican racquetball player; a Colombian BMX bike rider; and a Brazilian competitor in Modern Pentathlon, a sport that will likely be cut from the Olympics in the next sporting review.

But what about the “Pan Am Legacy”; that will certainly be worth the $2.5 billion-and-counting, no? Winnipeg laughs, as do we. What will be left behind? International attention? Nope, this is for North and South America only. A new stadium for Toronto? No, the Rogers Centre was already built with other taxpayer money back in the 1980s. (Hamilton did get its new CFL Tiger-Cats stadium subsidized, though).

How about that athletes’ village? Well, if you’re willing to fork out for one of its million-dollar condos, or apply for one of its’ low-income housing units, you may be one of a few hundred to benefit. The Scarborough swimming facility looks nice, but for $2.5 billion? Please.

The most likely tangible legacy? I predict the Provincial and Municipal governments will announce that the traffic-destroying HOV/VIP lanes installed for the Pan Am Games, which have made the normally pleasant summer commutes a living nightmare already for motorists on our highways, will become permanent. That, and the possible anarchist riots outside the concurrent Pan Am economic and environmental summits. Protestor-kettling, now there’s a sport!

Now you may say to yourself, “hell, the money’s already been spent and the games are here, why not buy a few tickets and enjoy them”. YOU MUST RESIST THIS TEMPTATION! The big-government Liberal jackals are already using this event as their pretext to shoot for the Gold Medal of graft, corruption, and cronyism - the ultimate bender for political spendaholics, the Olympic Games.

Canadian Olympic Committee chairman Marcel Aubut is already on record as establishing the 2015 Pan Am Games as a springboard to a 2024 Olympic bid. Mayor Tory would not rule out his support for it. And City Council Liberal James Pasternak, one of Tory’s closest allies, floated the ridiculous idea of a shared Olympic bid with Boston – “all the costs, and half the glory.” Ugh.

So stay away from these Guilt Trip Games. Do not take them seriously. You’ll only encourage the spendaholics. Do not give them a propaganda victory in their desperate attempts to impress the IOC. Do not let the media pretend there’s a “legacy” without taking into account the obscene costs and the wholesale lack of interest.

Feel free to be proud if a Canadian wins gold with a world-record performance. Otherwise, do you want to be proud of Canada’s athletes? Next Tuesday night, don’t bother joining the dozens of other viewers tuning in to your taxpayer-funded “Pan Am Primetime” on CBC. Flip over to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, where bilingual Toronto-born, Montreal-raised Russell Martin will be representing the Blue Jays in front of a truly worldwide audience.

Or, put it all aside, get out and enjoy our precious summer sunshine, and await the next truly historic Canadian sporting moment - Conor McDavid is set to make his NHL debut exactly three months from today. 


Follow The Megaphone on Twitter.

JOIN TheRebel.media for more news and commentary you won’t find anywhere else.

You must be logged in to comment. Click here to log in.
commented 2015-07-13 16:54:55 -0400
This isn’t a game, friend. If you want to play numbers games, then we’ll check back with the Honduran ratings book at the end of the games. The Pan Am Games are a SPORTING irrelevancy, which is reflected in the television ratings. The comparison to the Olympics is obviously a valid one: the Olympics was the top-rated show of all-time because people care about the Olympics; the Pan Am Games are buried on ESPN with approximately 1/30th of the audience because they are fringe. So which Pan Am event has turned you on the most so far, Ian Stephens, Canada’s biggest Pan Am fan?
commented 2015-07-10 11:30:09 -0400
Neil, you trusted the link you provided when you thought it backed you up, then you didn’t when it turned against you. Note that the link clearly says “19,157,000 persons” not “impressions”, although it also uses that last term for other figures—I assume the people who wrote the report know the difference. That figure is also only for ESPN—there is life outside ESPN and the United States, shocking as it may be.

To say the Pan Am Games are a “colossal failure” because the viewership numbers won’t match those for the most-watched event in U.S. television history is obvious nonsense. Do you use that kind of hyperbole often? “Son, you won the championship but you didn’t beat the national record—you are a colossal failure.”
commented 2015-07-10 11:06:13 -0400
Ian, if the same person watches the Pan Am Games for each of 49 broadcasts, that counts as 49 persons in their books. Listen, you can convince yourself all day long that the Pan Am Games is important, but I’m not buying it and the numbers back me up, not you. Even if 19,000,000 people saw the Pan Am Games at some point over 17 days in a country of 300,000,000, where an average Olympics broadcast gets 31,000,000 viewers every single night, then it’s a colossal failure.
commented 2015-07-10 10:28:30 -0400
Pro tip for Neil: Try reading your links next time you use them as evidence:

“A total of 19,157,000 persons tuned in to the Pan American Games programming on ESPN Deportes and ESPN2.”

I’m not sure how the 99,000 viewers made sense to you given the opening sentence of that link:
ESPN Deportes offered more than 125 hours of LIVE coverage of the XVI Pan American Games.” What, did you think ESPN would dedicate 125 hours of live coverage for only 99,000 viewers? Perhaps a course on critical thinking would help.
commented 2015-07-09 16:10:16 -0400
Ian, those press release numbers with no backup look about as reliable as Global Warming data…

Here’s a hard number: the only US broadcasts in 2011 averaged 99,000 viewers in prime time. http://rbr.com/strong-ratings-for-espn-deportes-coverage-of-the-pan-american-games/

NBC Olympics Primetime in 2012, by contrast, averaged 31.1 million viewers. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2012/08/13/london-olympics-on-nbc-is-most-watched-television-event-in-u-s-history/144780/
commented 2015-07-09 14:29:54 -0400
neill i gues you wanna see the games every 40years!
commented 2015-07-09 12:02:07 -0400
“The Opening Ceremony took place on 14 October 2011 at Omnilife Stadium in Guadalajara, México in front of a broadcast audience of more than 200 million people in every country across North and South America.

“In 2011, 300 million viewers tuned in to watch the Games in Guadalajara.”

“Terra attracted an audience of 51 million people with its transmission through the US and Latin America of the Guadalajara Pan-Am Games during its 17 days of competition.”
commented 2015-07-09 10:16:07 -0400
11.3 million watched last year’s MLB All-Star Game in the US alone. Probably 1 million in Canada, and millions more in other baseball-mad Pan American jurisdictions like Venezuela, Dominican, Cuba and Puerto Rico. Probably 15 million people in the Americas alone, at least. By contrast, ESPN is airing some live coverage this year, and I look forward to you coming back to me with the ratings after all is said and done. If any of it gets a 0.1 rating I will be surprised. Whether or not you, whoever you are, know who Russ Martin is, is irrelevant.
commented 2015-07-09 09:54:38 -0400
“Flip over to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, where bilingual Toronto-born, Montreal-raised Russell Martin will be representing the Blue Jays in front of a truly worldwide audience.”

Now who’s fooling himself? At least a few people across the Americas will be cheering their athletes at the Pan Am Games. Nobody outside of Toronto gives two shits about Russell Martin. Hell, I didn’t even know he existed before I read that sentence.
commented 2015-07-08 14:51:44 -0400
Well, hell, why shouldn’t the Ontario government waste money on such unimportant athletes in this unimportant competition? Even Rome pulled a similar stunt to distract its starving and disenchanted populace — in those games, the athletes were called Gladiators…