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Sportsnet new owner of Grand Slam curling

L to R: Scott Moore, Rob Faulds, Pierre charette and a jet-lagged Kevin Martin at today's announcement

L to R: Scott Moore, Rob Faulds, Pierre Charette and a jet-lagged Kevin Martin at today's announcement

TORONTO – This is truly a “Real” Sports Grill.

Immediately adjacent to the Air Canada Centre, home to the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs, the Grill is Canada's biggest sports bar and restaurant. We’re talking about 25,000 square feet of space (not including another 9,000 square feet of retail) with a enormous 39-foot HD TV surrounded by 199 additional HD TVs.

No hockey today, folks. This place is full of curling stakeholders, athletes, fans and media members.

Indeed, Sportsnet made a big announcement today – and it’s not limited to their new broadcast plans for the Grand Slam of Curling series. Sportsnet is now the new owner of the series, having purchased it from Toronto’s Insight Sports Ltd., and will be establishing a new in-house events division. As such, the purchase marks a significant milestone for Sportsnet, as the multi-platform media brand will now expand its diverse portfolio into the events category.

That’s right: Sportsnet will now wholly own and operate the Grand Slam of Curling – the elite series of men’s and women's curling events, which are part of the World Curling Tour and feature the “best teams from across Canada and around the world.”

“Curling is an essential part of our Canadian sports fabric, and the Grand Slam of Curling is the cream of the crop in international curling events,” said Scott Moore, President, Broadcasting, Rogers Media. “We are proud to own and operate the Grand Slam of Curling, as it furthers Sportsnet’s commitment to producing world-class content, anyplace, anyhow and anywhere and allows us to integrate and engage the sports fan in new and innovative ways. Sportsnet’s new events division intends to grow the Grand Slam of Curling like never before.”

There is clear relief on the face of Pierre Charette, the President of the World Competitive Curlers Association.

“On behalf of the Grand Slam players, we are thrilled to welcome Sportsnet as the new owners of the Grand Slam of Curling,” said Charette. “This is great news for the Canadian curling community as a whole. Sportsnet will operate events that are second-to-none, broadcast more games and take the Grand Slam of Curling to another level.”

The 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling series kicks off with The Masters, taking place in Brantford, Ontario from November 14 to 18. The series will air on Sportsnet and CBC, through a sub-licensing agreement. Additional details regarding the full 2012-13 Grand Slam of Curling schedule and broadcast details will be announced in the coming weeks, although Moore did mention negotiations to bring the season-ending Players' Championship to metro Toronto.

As we predicted yesterday, Kevin Martin is here, and bleary-eyed from an overnight flight from Edmonton. Also on hand is a dapper Brent Laing from Team Glenn Howard, and the defending Players' Champion winning skip, local boy John Epping.

Mark your calendars. It’s game on!