I'm biased, but as a Canadian who has spent a lot of time south of the border, I feel I've watched enough of both TSN and ESPN that I'm qualified to state that Canada's premier 24-hour sports network just does things better than the "Worldwide Leader."
Usually when arguments like these are made, those on TSN's side build their thesis around TSN SportsCentre and its joker hosts, Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole. But our latest example of TSN kicking ass comes from its "NHL on TSN" panel, who -- for no particular reason -- decided to create a five-minute, self-deprecating, poorly-acted but incredibly well-produced parody of "The Hangover."
To put it all together, James Duthie, Darren Dreger, Aaron Ward and Bob McKenzie even enlisted the help of some Los Angeles Kings players and some local L.A. celebrities, including Ottawa native Matthew Perry.
It's the little things, like the way Anze Kopitar answers his phone by referring to himself as a Stanley Cup champion, or Perry's reaction when Duthie refers to him as "Joey from Friends," or the shot at Fox Sports, or the claim in the credits that Kings head coach Darryl Sutter was played by Daniel Day-Lewis.
Mixed in are a few jokes that you might not totally get if you aren't a frequent NHL on TSN viewer (like the shot at O'Toole), but there's no doubt that the video is victorious no matter how big a hockey fan you are.
As someone who has watched TSN since the 1980s, but who has only seen snippets of ESPN since they are not permitted to be shown in Canada, I can only comment on one part of your premise. That is: TSN has become almost unwatchable, to the point of me considering dropping cable entirely. Back in the 1980s it was the reason I got cable, so that will tell you how far it has fallen.
The reasons: its almost total focus on the Leafs, the NHL, and hockey generally to the exclusion of most everything else, combined with a group of highly unlikable on-air personalities. You boy, Jay Onrait, might be funny if you're 10 years old, but other than that he is hopelessly annoying and awful. Darren Dutchyshen comes across as creepy, and aside from Rod Smith the rest of them are all various flavors of bad. When you switch on Sportscenter in July and the lead story is something about the Leafs you know they have a problem. Even with Tebow I don't see how ESPN can be worse.
The only thing saving TSN in Canada is that their competition, Sportsnet, is even worse, being a cheerleading squad for the team owned the their corporate parent, the Blue Jays, and filling the rest of their schedule with garbage shows like poker and UFC. When I finally cut the cable I will miss neither of them.
I will say this: the production on this short is pretty good, and if Duthie wants to move to LA he may have a future as an actor. But it illustrates the kind of meathead frat-boy rink locker-room tone that has taken over TSN lately. They are just not good.
The only thing ESPN does well (aside from cover Tebow and promote it's own properties) is in-depth reporting (OTL, the Chris Connelly human interest stuff)
@gregbeaulieu Hey, I'm a full-time NFL writer living in Canada so believe me, I feel your pain with the hockey overkill.