The “Vote Mike” campaign is working.
Family, friends and even Mike himself – that would be Vernon’s Mike Watson, 23 – have been promoting like crazy over the past month to help Watson in his bid to earn a spot on Drafted: Canada’s Next Sportscaster, a reality TV show on Sportsnet 360 (formerly The Score), which includes an online component on Facebook.
Watson has been chosen as one of 24 finalists for the show and will head to Toronto Aug. 11 for a sportscaster boot camp that will feature three days of competitions related to sportscasting.
The top six will qualify for the show’s final but two people are guaranteed a top-six spot if they finish one-two in the Facebook voting, which ends next week.
As of Wednesday, Watson was in fourth place.
“The support I’ve got has been incredible,” said Watson from his home in Vancouver, where he attends BCIT studying broadcasting, and works at the Yaletown Brew Company.
Watson, his family and friends have been wearing specially made “Vote Mike” T-shirts, created by friends Andy and Danny Stein of Aclis Apparel, and Watson’s dad, Garth, had an enormous sign made that reads “Vote Daily For Vernon’s Mike Watson, Canada’s Next Sportscaster,’ which has been parked in several locations around Greater Vernon.
People stop and ask about who and what Mike is about, and they are encouraged to sign on to Facebook and type Drafted into the search engine.
That brings them to the contest page where people can then find Watson’s photo (Mike W.) and vote daily.
With the help of his older brother, Sam, who hit on the idea, and the Steins, Watson and family had the T-shirts made up and began promoting the vote at Funtastic.
Watson will be flown to Toronto for the boot camp and, once there, it’s up to him to prove to the show’s producers that he has the stuff to be Canada’s Next Sportscaster.
Watson and the other 23 finalists will be put through a series of on- and off-camera challenges to prove they can remain calm and cool under pressure, and, of course, to show they know their stuff when it comes to sports.
“This whole thing has been such a new experience for me, so going through everything has been brand new and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Watson, adding he’s been overwhelmed by all of the support.
“I’ve been getting random messages from people asking if they can get T-shirts and posters. The support has been incredible. It’s made me excited to get this going, and I know everyone in Vernon and the Okanagan has got my back.”
Community support for Watson has also come from Pierre Goyette of Speedpro Signs, Wade Cantalope at Elephant Storage, On Ouch at The Rice Box, Jim Tennant from Save-On-Foods and local media, restaurants and small businesses.
The overall winner of Drafted: Canada’s Next Sportscaster will receive a one-year contract.
The newest sportscaster will be chosen by the show’s judging panel and will be announced during the show finale in November.