Sports photographer leads Regina workshop

Sports photographer Arthur Ward led a photography workshop in Regina on Saturday.

Sports photographer Arthur Ward led a photography workshop in Regina on Saturday. (Photo by Arthur Ward)

Aspiring sports photographers had a chance to learn from a seasoned veteran at a workshop in Regina on Saturday.

“Sportrait” specialist Arthur Ward was on hand at the Saskatchewan Science Centre, schooling interested parties on the ins and outs of what makes a gripping sports photo.

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Sports photographer Arthur Ward says getting to know athletes helps him anticipate their moves on the field. (Photo by Arthur Ward)

Exposure: in camera and on the field.

Ward’s prowess with a camera is rooted in a lifetime of experience, though not all of it has been behind the lens.

“I’ve always had an interest in sports. Growing up, I just loved going out and being active,” Ward said.

Ward competed in track and field for 15 years and recently did a five-year stint at the University of Regina with the Cougars.

“It was actually when I came to the U of R, that’s the point when my love of sports and my interest in photography merged,” he said.

Humble beginnings

Ward photographed for the university newspaper The Carillon. Eventually, given his love for sport, he gravitated to shooting the Cougars teams, he said.

Sports photography is rarely a static exercise. It’s fast-paced work, but requires more than a long lens and a machine-gun shutter, Ward said.

“You have to be patient,” he said. “It’s easy to go after the action. It’s easy to follow the ball. It’s easy to point your lens in the direction that everybody’s looking.”

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Sports photographer Arthur Ward says getting a gripping sports image requires patience. (Photo by Arthur Ward)

“But if you’re patient and you know what you’re looking for, you can get the magazine cover shot, so to speak.”

Often times, the best photos are the ones none of the other photographers saw, he said, noting that exclusivity adds value to an image.

Taking a risk

He recalled Cougars men’s basketball game a few years back. The game was coming down to the wire in the fourth quarter. Regina was trailing by a few points and the players on the bench were full of emotion. Ward decided then that he’d forget the game and just focus on the bench.

He knew it was a risk.

“When you decide to do something like that, it’s like the universe is working against you,” he said, recalling the anxiety he felt as he missed shot after shot on the court.

Finally, a home-team player sunk a three-point shot and the players on the bench went wild. Ward’s camera immortalized the moment – a victory on both sides of the lens.

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Sometimes getting a great sports photo is about taking a risk and shooting what none of the other photographers are, says sports photographer Arthur Ward.

Social interaction

Getting to know the athletes is also a part of what Ward does, and he likes to chat with them about things other than sport, he said.

“Believe it or not, by just knowing little things that appeal to them and what makes them click, you can sort of read their minds,” he said.

“It sounds a bit far-fetched,” he admitted, but said that knowing the athletes helps him anticipate their movements on the field.

The workshop was designed as a “collaborative event” where students could take the lead and teach the group about their own approaches and techniques.

“I find, within the field of photography or most creative fields, it’s all about collaboration,” Ward said.

“That’s how you grow as an individual in photography.”


Sky Sports changes explained as viewers can now buy cheaper packages for individual sports

Sky Sports have confirmed the new packages customers will be able to purchase with savings on offer for those who buy bundles tailored for individual sports.

The broadcaster is expanding its service to 10 individual channels from July 18 at no further cost with the price to remain at £27.50 for at least the next 12 months.

There will be dedicated channels for the Premier League, football, cricket, golf and Formula 1.

Additionally, Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Arena will offer coverage from a clutch of other sports including rugby union, rugby league, boxing, netball, darts, NFL, tennis, WWE, GAA and more.

Sky Sports News will remain (Image: Visionhaus)
There will be a dedicated Premier League channel (Image: Getty)

Sky Sports Main Event will be the broadcaster’s home for all the major sporting occasions with Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Mix being retained for all customers.

Existing Sky Sports subscribers will receive the additional channels automatically.

Customers will be able to subscribe to individual packages for a reduced price.


Eleven UK sports ‘thrown under bus’ on funding call for changes

Eleven sport governing bodies are demanding an overhaul of the way Britain invests in the pursuit of Olympic and Paralympic medals.

In an unprecedented challenge to elite performance funding agency UK Sport, the group have joined forces to call for an urgent review of what they call “a two-class system that runs counter to Olympic ideals”.

National Lottery money is currently allocated on the basis of medal potential, helping to transform the country’s sporting fortunes.

But amid an athlete welfare crisis and various governance problems, UK Sport has faced mounting criticism over its approach.

The 11 sports – archery, badminton, baseball/softball, basketball, fencing, handball, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling, wheelchair rugby and table tennis – were all left without funding when UK Sport announced its £345m plan last December.

This was despite badminton meeting its medal target at Rio 2016 and table tennis and weightlifting showing signs of progress.

Instead of UK Sport’s “no compromise” approach to picking winners, the unfunded sports want a “tiered support structure” that would guarantee every Olympic and Paralympic sport a base level of funding.

  • Huge concerns over athlete welfare – Grainger
  • Should welfare come before winning?
  • Elite funding ‘cut-throat’ – Redgrave

Incoming UK Sport chair Dame Katherine Grainger told BBC Sport she understood why the sports had taken a stand, but said: “It’s not fair to say we’re narrowly focusing on a few sports.”

The unfunded sports believe they can all be backed if UK Sport cuts the amount it spends on bringing major events to this country, its budget for getting British administrators into international federations and the £67.4m it gives to the English Institute of Sport (EIS), the organisation that provides sports-science services to most Olympic and Paralympic sports.

The EIS’s headcount has been growing and will top 300 next year, but it has taken on more responsibilities, works with the vast majority of British athletes and is considered to be a world-leading service.

Fencing at thje Rio 2016 Olympics
Fencing is just one of the 11 sports that has revolted since further cuts in funding after the London 2012 Olympics.

What do the sports say?

In a joint manifesto calling for “a new approach” to investment, the 11 sports – which include Archery GB, British Basketball, British Weightlifting, Badminton England, GB Wheelchair Rugby and Table Tennis England – all of which have suffered funding cuts – said the existing approach to National Lottery investment “has been conspicuously successful in winning medals, but has disenfranchised many of the country’s elite sportsmen and women, creating a two-class system that runs counter to Olympic ideals.

“Providing opportunities for elite British athletes in all relevant sports to compete in the Olympics and Paralympics need not run counter to the pursuit of medals, and will make the nation even prouder of TeamGB’s and ParaGB’s triumphs.

“We call on Dame Katherine Grainger to recognise the dangers inherent in the current direction of travel. We urge UK Sport to recognise that medal targets alone should not be the sole criteria for its funding.

“We believe UK Sport should adopt a revised investment model that embraces every Olympic and Paralympic sport, with a tiered support structure”.

The sports say their new approach is “readily affordable from economies within UK Sport’s support costs, and from within the English Institute of Sport. Time is pressing and debate must begin now”.

Dame Katherine Grainger ‘not surprised’ by 11 sports opposing UK Sport funding

How have funding cuts affected sports?

Adrian Christy, the chief executive of Badminton England – which lost all of its £5.74m funding from UK Sport this year in the wake of Rio 2016 – told BBC Sport: “We have a very clear view that every sport in this country matters.

“We’ve seen lots of sports that have lost their funding, we’re one of those. And as a consequence of that it’s really difficult to see how your long-term development of athletes can continue to inspire a nation. We’ve made a third of our staff redundant in the last several months, we’ve cut our performance programme in half.

“This is a demand for UK Sport to take a long hard look and say ‘are medals and medallists the only metric which investments into sports can be made?’ We don’t believe it is.”

Can UK Sport afford to change?

With Team GB winning 67 medals in Rio, and Para GB then claiming 147 medals, many are reluctant to change a system that has transformed British success since 1996 when the country finished 36th in the medal table.

But Christy disagrees.

“We are not for one second asking to take money away from sports,” he said. “The target around medals would still be the same. We believe there are opportunities for UK Sport to look within their own budgets and save money elsewhere. We’ve been thrown under a bus.

“We don’t believe the cost of funding the sports is more than 4% of the overall total pots of money of UK sport. 4% to say another 11 sports, the maths of that is about another 100 athletes in a position to represent Great Britain – and who knows, add to the medal table that we won in Rio.”

What do funding chiefs say?

GB's Katherine Grainger
Katherine Grainger is the new chair of UK Sport

Former rower Dame Katherine Grainger, who takes up her new role as chair of UK Sport on Saturday, said: “If I were in their shoes I’d be doing the same. In any organisation, you do everything you can to protect the athletes. So when that funding is cut you’d do anything to get that back.

“So calling for a review is a very realistic and credible thing to do and I’m not surprised they’ve done it now.

“There will be a review, there is every four years. Obviously, things change, the climate changes, sports change, pressure of resources changes, so that’s why it’s always worth looking at again and I’m very confident to see that it will be reviewed again, it just won’t happen instantly.”

However, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian added: “If you look at the success of Rio, then we got more medals across more sports than we’ve done before. Our actual breadth of success is growing all the time, so it’s not fair to say that we’re narrowly focusing on a few sports.

“What is fair to say is that our money is finite and it’s not stretching. As more sports are more successful, the irony is that the money can’t go as far.

“If there is anything that can be cut, but not at the expense of success, then it will be. But right now that’s the situation we’re in.

“People I’ve met in my short time here so far are really passionate about improving things, so actually if 11 sports do come and say ‘we want things done differently, is there a better way to do this?’ then actually let’s look at it.”

Ed Warner, who recently stepped down after a decade as chair of UK Athletics, said: “Winning medals is important, but more important still is winning them in the right way.

“Katherine Grainger’s arrival at UK Sport is a wonderful opportunity for her to challenge the groupthink that constrains the current system and to put in place a new funding structure that embraces all Olympic and Paralympic sports, because every one of them matters.”

But Grainger also added a cautionary tale from her own experience.

“I started rowing at a time when we kept our boats on scaffolding poles under a bridge – we didn’t have the set-up we have now. The facilities have been transformed,” she said.

“So you look not just at the medal success but at the level of support we have, the coaches, the training camps. I don’t think many athletes would like that to slip back to a stage where we just wouldn’t be competitive internationally.”

A British Olympic Association spokesperson said: “We fully understand the anxiety of those sports as they face the reality of current funding decisions.

“We are constantly looking at ways to support unfunded sports within our membership, including through the allocation of Olympic Solidarity funds to athletes where possible.

“If we are to increase third party funding of sport then we must work to protect our country’s stellar performances in the medal table, and in doing so the work of our colleagues at UK Sport in developing an acclaimed World Class Programme.”

A British Paralympic Association spokesperson said: “We are very proud of the success of the ParalympicsGB team – second in the medal table at Rio 2016 and winning medals across more sports than ever before – which has provided the inspiration not only to get more people engaged in sport but fundamentally to challenge and change attitudes to disability in society.

“We must look at the overall public funding system for sport at all levels and at what alternative streams can be developed to ensure that sports can continue to maximise their opportunity and impact.”


Microsoft’s machine learning can predict injuries in sports

Microsoft is bringing its big-data knowledge to sports. Today, the company introduced its new Sports Performance Platform, an analytics system that aims to help teams track, improve and predict their players performance using machine learning and Surface technology. Created by Microsoft Garage, the group responsible for the tech giant’s offbeat innovations, the project is designed to make coaches better understand player data and find ways to turn that into actionable insights. Microsoft’s Sports Performance Platform can, for example, figure out when a player is at risk of injury, based on his or her most recent performance and recovery time.

The company says one of the main benefits to its sports analytics tool is that it’s powered by proprietary business tools such as Power BI, a cloud-based intelligence suite also used on products like Excel, as well as Azureand, of course, Surface computers. “Imagine making clutch decisions that are based on insight, rather than gut,” said Jeff Hansen, general manager of Microsoft Brand Studio. “The difference between a win or a loss can be decided by an extra five minutes of wind sprints, levels of hydration or getting to bed 30 minutes earlier the night before.”

Professional teams such as the Seattle Reign FC (US, National Women’s Soccer League) and Real Sociedad (Spain, La Liga) are already taking advantage of the Sports Performance Platform. But Microsoft says its goal is to expand beyond the pros and bring these tools to other levels, which could benefit school programs and amateur coaches and players.

While Microsoft is calling the platform an experiment right now, it is seeking “sports organizations and partners” that may be interested in being involved as it’s developed. Let’s just hope everyone who uses it doesn’t feel the same way NFL players and coaches do about the Surface on the sidelines.


Millions of households paying £50 a month to watch sports – that they can actually watch for free

If you’re paying a premium for sports television channels – now could be the time to rethink your package, experts have warned.

That’s because while the Premier League can only be viewed through premium channels such as BT Sport and Sky, this summer’s events – comprising of Tour de France and the Wimbledon Championships – won’t cost a penny extra to watch, as they’re available on free-to-air TV.

According to Freesat, sporting fans are paying as much as £50.50 a month to stay up to date on matches every single month – but with the biggest events of the summer being broadcast live on the BBC and ITV – why pay for a service you don’t actually need?

Last summer, every single one of the 250 most watched sporting programmes on Sky was broadcast on free-to-air channels, with Euro 2016, The Olympics, The Rugby Six Nations and Wimbledon dominating the top of the list.

Nevertheless, hundreds of households continued to pay for extra – and expensive – access, which one in 10 admitted they never uses at all.

Do you pay extra for sports channels?

In a Freesat poll, a quarter of sports TV customers said that they only watch football – but with the Premier League not returning until August 12, those on BT and Sky will be getting little value for money for more than two months.

That’s an average of £100 per household.

When Freesat asked pay-TV customers what sporting events they were most looking forward to this summer, the top three were all events due to be aired on standard channels – Wimbledon Tennis, the British Grand Prix and the World Athletics Championships.

Freesat spokesperson Jennifer Elworthy said: “With most of the big summer sporting events shown on free TV channels there’s no need to waste hundreds of pounds on unused sports subscriptions.

“Cutting back on pay TV might even help to fund a summer holiday instead.”

How to watch this summer’s sports for free

Freesat is urging Brits to reconsider their packages – as they could end up losing hundreds of pounds – for no reason at all.

Here’s a list of what’s taking place this summer – and how you can watch it (without a fancy TV deal):

  • Women’s European Football Championships, 10 June – 10 July: Channel 4
  • Wimbledon Championships, 3 July – 16 July: BBC
  • Tour de France, 1 July – 23 July: ITV and Eurosport
  • Formula 1, British Grand Prix, 16 July, Channel 4
  • World Athletics Championships, 4 August to 13 August: BBC
  • Ascot Races, 20 June to 24 June: BBC
  • Rugby League – Challenge Cup final, 26 August: BBC

The game I want to watch is not accessible for free

Admittedly, not everything will be free to watch (Photo: Getty)

While a number of this year’s biggest sporting events will be broadcast on channels one to four, there are admittedly some that won’t be, like for instance the Golf Open Championships and the Rugby Union England v Australia summer tests.

These matches are all to be broadcast on Sky Sports – which comes at a £49.50 a month cost for new Sky Bundle customers – and an extra £27.50 per month to existing Sky customers.

That’s a lot of cash for one – or at best three – sports in three months.

If you want to watch these games, one alternative households could consider is NowTV.

This is actually a Sky TV product – but instead of signing up for a 12 month contract, you buy passes – for instance a 24 hour, one week or one month pass. These start at £6.99 – but right now there’s a bundle deal with free movies or entertainment thrown in when you make a purchase.

The advantage with NowTV is that you won’t be tied in a contract and won’t have to pay for anything you don’t want.

But, you will need to invest in a one off NowTV box which costs £14.99 – most of the time you’ll get a few free passes thrown in when you buy a box.

Alternatively haggle, haggle, haggle. If you are set on Sky or it works out cheaper – based on your usage – the trick is in the haggling. Don’t be afraid to bargain the price you want to pay – it’ll save you hundreds in the long run. Need help, here’s our guide at how to haggle – and win.


Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh glad to let elite athletes play two sports in college

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh fielded questions during some down time at the Michigan elite camp on June 23, 2017, in Ann Arbor. Video by Mark Snyder/DFP

U-M football could have a baseball player, a swimmer and a wrestler in the freshman class


As the rest of Michigan football’s freshman class begins academic orientation on Saturday, they’ll consider their football futures.

Some will also consider playing other sports.

U-M coach Jim Harbaugh said today he’s glad to let them play multiple sports, if they’re good enough.

The topic arose because of U-M linebacker Jordan Anthony, who would like to play football in the fall and baseball in the winter and spring.

High school players run drills with Wolverines coaches and players assisting at the Michigan elite camp June 23, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press

“Very much would embrace it,” Harbaugh said following today’s Michigan’s elite camp. “He’s an elite football player, an elite baseball player. When they’re elite at two sports, right when football’s over, their freshman year, we’ll let them go to another sport. Starting in January, he could go play baseball if he chooses to.”

His requirement is they need to be “elite-elite in two sports.”

More: Get to know 5 incoming freshmen from Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class

Harbaugh noted that incoming receiver Oliver Martin has that freedom to join the Michigan swimming team and another unnamed player may choose to wrestle.

But it’s only if they’re proven with high-level talent in other sports.

“If they’re going to just spit seeds in the outfield then no, come establish yourself in spring practice,” Harbaugh said. “A track runner, if they’re elite-elite in track or field in throws, as soon as football’s over we’ll let them go participate in the second sport. Now if they’re just going to be put in a race to finish 10th and pick up a point, we’d rather have them in winter conditioning until they establish themselves as a football player.”

More: Aubrey Solomon not sorry he left South, glad to be under Rashan Gary’s tutelage

Familiar face: Harbaugh confirmed that his former NFL running back Alfonso Smith has joined the U-M program as an intern, learning to be a coach. Smith was a running back for Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers in the 2014 season.

“Just a great, great guy,” Harbaugh said. “First class individual all the way. He is very serious about football, always was. When we were coaching him in San Francisco, I remember the day, I went up to him and said, you should coach when you’re done. Play football as long as you can but then coach. Fortunately when he decided he was hanging them up, he called and we just jumped at the opportunity to get him over here.”

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh opens the elite skills camp on June 23, 2017 at Michigan Stadium. Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press

Smith will assist with the running backs but all of his duties must take place off the field.

Notes: Michigan is no longer in the graduate transfer market after pursuing at least two known players in the past few months. Both offensive lineman Sunny Odogwu (UCLA) and safety Korrin Wiggins (East Carolina) chose other schools. “I think we’re settled,” Harbaugh said.


Sad day for sports fans as CTV Montreal lays off local sportscasters

Randy Tieman is among the CTV Montreal sportscasters laid off on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

Regular viewers of the news on CTV Montreal were surprised, perhaps shocked, when they tuned in Tuesday night and learned that there would be no more local sportscast.

Host Paul Karwatsky made the announcement and said sportscasters Randy Tieman, Brian Wilde and Sean Coleman have all been fired.

“The way I look at it, I’ve started my retirement,” said Tieman. “I’m 63 years old and I’ve been here 34 years. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to do one last show to say goodbye.”

Tieman was fondly remembered by CBC veteran Tom Harrington, who recalled some encouraging words from Tieman shortly after arriving in Montreal.

“My first year in Montreal was the fall of 1983,” recalled Harrington. “The Canadiens were struggling and I asked Habs coach Bob Berry about his uncertain future and the growing choruses for him to be fired. He told me to eff off and kicked me and the handful of other reporters out of his office (yes, you could talk to the coach in his office in those days). After we got kicked out, some of the reporters were angry and started dissing me. Randy, who hardly knew me at all, came to my defence. I never forgot it and we became good friends. The decision to cut him is a sad one for one of the most passionate sports cities in the world.”

“I remember that incident,” said Tieman. “I told Tom that was the question everyone wanted to ask and he beat us to it.”

The decision to end the local sports segment is part of a national restructuring of the news package. Earlier this year, Bell Media shut down sports departments in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Kitchener, Windsor and London, Ont.

“I figured it was coming when they asked me to come in, but I thought I would be the only one to go because I’m the old guy,” Tieman said. “Then I saw Coleman going in before me and I knew it was over for all of us. I feel sorry for Brian because he’s younger and I’m sure he’s not ready to retire.”

Wilde had taken a few days off and was driving back from the U.S. when he received the news.

‘It’s the nature of the business,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll land on my feet somewhere.”

Wilde, who covered the Canadiens, was respected by the players and his peers. He was active on social media with more than 25,000 Twitter followers and his always informative and provocative Call of the Wilde blog.

Sports had always been a major part of the local package going back to the days of Brian McFarlane, Dick Irvin and Ron Reusch.

There was a glimpse of the future Tuesday when the newscast featured a report on the Vegas Golden Knights by TSN Ottawa reporter Brent Wallace and a short note about tennis players Andy Murray and Toronto’s Milos Raonic losing in London. The old guys would have mentioned that Montrealer Eugenie Bouchard lost in Majorca.

Coleman admitted he was disappointed to lose his dream job, but was very thankful for the opportunity.

[email protected]


Streaming sports startup FuboTV raises $55 million

When it comes to streaming TV, FuboTV wants to be the place sports fans go when they are looking to catch up on their favorite sports league or team. To expand its channel lineup and grow its customer base, FuboTV has raised $55 million in Series C funding led by Northzone, with participation from 21st Century Fox, Sky and Scripps Networks Interactive. That brings total funding to $75 million since being founded in 2014.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of streaming video providers entering the market. While some are just trying to re-create a smaller cable TV bundle, others — like FuboTV — are going after specific verticals of content.

Sports — and especially live sports — are a huge business, but due to licensing fees many streaming providers skimp on those networks and their coverage. Since FuboTV is going after only sports fanatics, it can afford to spend on licensing sports networks exclusively, without shelling out for more traditional broadcast or cable networks.

With apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, FuboTV has been delivering streaming video to sports fans over the last few years. By focusing on sports exclusively, the company is hoping to serve a large market other streaming video providers are largely ignoring.

But the company has pivoted a little from its original mission. When it first launched, FuboTV mostly focused on soccer, offering up a wide variety of matches for fans of the sport. But it’s greatly expanded the number of channels and types of sports available to viewers.

By reaching agreement with Fox and NBC Universal, the company now has dozens of sports-related channels viewers can tune into. With those deals, the company has also changed its product offering: It sunset the $10/month soccer skinny bundle it previously offered and now sells a fatter $35 package of more than 55 channels.

In many ways that means FuboTV has to start over. Before it stopped marketing the smaller bundle, the company had signed up more than 75,000 subscribers. Now it’s in a position where it hopes to appeal to a wider group of sports fans that aren’t just soccer hooligans.

The funding will go a long way toward helping it do that. According to CEO David Gandler, the company will be increasing its marketing spend and use the funding also to develop new products that are designed specifically for people watching sports matches and related content.