There have been quite a few prominent sports media figures who have passed away in the first two months of 2021, including Terez Paylor, Pedro Gomez, Chris Wesseling, Sekou Smith, Les Levine, Mel Antonen, Warren Woods, Don Sutton, Tom Perrotta, and more. The latest is Tony D’Archi, a long-time producer at TSN, particularly known for his work as the lead producer on the CFL on TSN games. D’Archi worked for TSN as a producer and content strategist from 2000-15, then went on to PR and consulting work. He passed away this week at 50 from a heart attack, and many of his former TSN colleagues and others in the Canadian sports world had great things to say about him Friday:
Such a devastating time for so many friends and colleagues, but the worst news came yesterday. Former CFL on TSN producer Tony D’Archi, 50, passed away Monday of a heart attack.
No one worked harder.
No one cared more.
My thoughts are with his wife Briana and their 2 children. pic.twitter.com/9HCpA62r2t
— Rod Smith (@RodSmithTSN) February 12, 2021
Sending all our love today to the family of Tony D’Archi, who passed away suddenly Monday night. Tony was a long time producer at TSN up until a few years ago. He was an incredibly passionate guy, and threw that into his work, mostly with the CFL.
He’ll be missed be all of us.
— James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) February 12, 2021
Crushing news. Sad to hear of Tony’s passing. He was a wonderful individual who loved our league and what he did. Tony was a big reason for my start at TSN and was always there to help. My sincere condolences to his wife Briana, children and the entire D’Archi family RIP DARCH https://t.co/DxFdKHFSSm
— CoachBene (@Coach__Bene) February 12, 2021
Echoing what James said about our friend and colleague Tony D’Archi, who passed away suddenly this week. Darch had a heart of gold and was beloved by everyone he worked with. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for his family, so as James said, we send all our love to them. ? https://t.co/Dlsnupa0IU
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 12, 2021
We used to laugh about this all the time, and Tony D’Archi had a big laugh. I’m thinking of his wife Briana and their two children today, and what an awful blow this is. It is very sad news, a kind man gone far, far too soon. https://t.co/iBuKLOuXx0
— Gord Miller (@GMillerTSN) February 12, 2021
My sincere condolences to the entire D’Archi family. Tony was very kind to me as a Grey Cup ‘rookie’ and always had a big smile and a kind word of encouragement to share. I will always remember that about him. ?
— Renee Rouse (@reneerouse) February 12, 2021
I’m so very sorry to hear this news. I always enjoyed our conversations. You will be missed Tony. Sending my love to the D’Archi family. https://t.co/bRqmt1MGFT
— Reid Mitchell (@ReidmitchellTO) February 12, 2021
Had the pleasure of working several summers of CFL with Tony. An absolute personality to behold. First one in, last one out. Loved what he did with a force matched by few. The TV world is a little less animated now. My condolences to your family and all he graced.
— nicholas jameson (@nickjameson) February 12, 2021
Heartbreaking. Tony, full of life and good cheer.
— Michael Farber (@MichaelFarber3) February 12, 2021
D’Archi made an incredible mark on the CFL on TSN, and did so at a critical time for the league and for that package. TSN had broadcast some CFL games each year since 1987, but that amped up significantly during D’Archi’s time there, and the network became the exclusive broadcaster of all games and of the Grey Cup in 2008. TSN broadcasts have become an established part of the CFL media landscape now, but there was a lot of angst about that back in 2008 and 2009 in particular, with many lamenting the shift to a full schedule on cable TV and the exit of the CBC. That furor mostly died down over the next few seasons, though, and the strong CFL on TSN package (including game announcers and analysts, studio crews, and production) was a big factor in that. And D’Archi played a key role in making that happen, and today’s CFL on TSN broadcasts (which are seen internationally on ESPN’s networks and ESPN+ in the U.S., and on other services around the world) still bear a lot of his influence. He’ll be missed.
[Rod Smith on Twitter]