Canucks and Beyond

Trade Deadline: Text Message Wars

02/26/2007 at 4:47pm EST

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Everything to do with the trade deadline is competitive in the NHL media, most especially between the two major Canadian sports networks: TSN.ca and Sportsnet.ca. Both are providing live coverage through the day tomorrow, each hoping to predict, break and analyze trades better than the other.

They’ve got some very different ideas on how to do that, but they have some tactics in common—in particular, text message alerts for fans. The SMS text messages are meant to be sent out with updates on trades as they happen, keeping hockey fans up to date, even if they can’t get near a radio or television on Tuesday.

Which one is better? I’ve read the info online and subscribed to both of them now. Here are the pros and cons as I see them:

TSN Messaging

TSN Link

Pros

:

- FREE. There’s no charge for the service. However, you may have charges from your cell phone provider, if they charge you for receiving text messages. Mine doesn’t, so that’s all good.

- RELIABLE. TSN’s headline updates online are very fast. The one text message I’ve received with an update since I subscribed today was more delayed, but still not bad—about 15 minutes from when the story was posted online.

Cons

:

- SETUP. While it’s easy enough to subscribe to the system, you do have to do it online, registering yourself as a user of TSN’s website. But after that, quick and painless.

Sportsnet Messaging

Sportsnet Link

Pros

:

- SETUP. Dead easy—Using your cell, just dial the number they tell you to, enter in “NHL” or the name of a specific Canadian team you’re most interested in, and you’re done.

Cons

:

- PAY FOR SERVICE. Sportsnet will be charging you 15 cents for every message you receive (in addition to charges from your phone company, if that’s an issue for you). That might not sound like much, but it gives me visions of some kind of crazy scenario where it could add up. For example…

Esche traded! 15 ¢
Esche not traded! 15 ¢
Esche may be traded! 15 ¢
Esche may be signed! 15 ¢

And so on. You see what I’m saying? ;)

But assuming they just stick to confirmed trades, I still don’t like paying for it.

- RELIABLE? Are they? We’ll see. I haven’t been subscribed long enough to make any judgment about the speed of text updates, but their speed of online updates is significantly behind TSN’s. I imagine that won’t be as much of a concern on trade day tomorrow, but I’m still leery about it. *


- DUMBNESS. The Sportsnet.ca website that describes their SMS service features a cartoon step-by-step guide to subscribing. I’m not sure what the message is behind the ‘humor’, but the best I can figure, it’s something like “It’s so easy, you can set it up even while your plane is plummeting to the earth at 1000 miles per hour!”
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*Update on Reliability—1:40 pm, PST:
The first trade since I subscribed, Caps traded Zednick to the Islanders, and Sportsnet sent me the text message only about 2 minutes after I received the press release from the Washington Capitals. Very fast. TSN’s was about 4 minutes later. (Perhaps not a big deal, but Sportsnet deserves some credit for getting that out so quick.)

*Update on Reliability #2—3:15 pm, PST:
Sportsnet has not been so impressive with their second “breaking trade” of the day announcement. And now I wonder… will they charge me 15 cents for trade announcements AND retractions? Or is the retraction a freebie? (Unbelievable…)
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*Note: I’m not sure if either of these services are available outside of Canada. If someone could give it a try and let everyone know if it accepts your registration, that would be great.

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