Pam Am potential boon for Channel Zero

Company paid $12 for broadcast license from Canwest

TORONTO – Talk about serendipity.

Canadian indie broadcaster Channel Zero in September paid $12 to grab the broadcast license for loss-making Hamilton, Ontario TV station CHCH-TV from a struggling Canwest Global Communications Corp.

Now Channel Zero CEO Cal Miller stands to turn CHCH-TV, which also beams into Toronto, Canada's biggest TV market, into an advertising goldmine after Hamilton and Toronto on Friday were jointly awarded the right to stage the 2015 Pan Am Games.

It's not the Winter Olympics, which are set to go in February in Vancouver/Whistler.

But Millar was ecstatic Friday about the prospects for CHCH, which recently shed U.S. shows and shifted to an all-news format by day and movies by night to entice local advertisers and audiences.

"We're thrilled. It's right in our backyard, and up our alley, covering live news and sports," he said.

As part of the successful $1.4 billion Pan Am games bid, the Ontario government is to construct new sports infrastructure in the Toronto/Hamilton region, including athletics, cycling and swimming facilities.

"This reinforces what we felt -- there's a tremendous opportunity not only in the TV station itself, but in the area," Millar said.