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CBC’s exclusive window to extend NHL deal closing

Aug 2, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT


The cost to get rights to broadcast the NHL in Canada may wind up being too costly for Canada’s national broadcaster.

CBC, the home of Hockey Night in Canada, has an exclusive window to negotiate a new deal to carry the NHL that ends in August. As Steve Ladurantaye of The Globe And Mail shares, time is running out, money is tight, and TSN is eager to pounce on the rights.

But the league must step lightly – both broadcasters have reasons to let the NHL pass them by. “This isn’t a slam dunk for the NHL by any means,” one broadcast executive said. “It’s not as straightforward as someone might think.”

CBC has had Saturday night hockey since 1953 and the current deal expires after this season. Ladurantaye says CBC could lose as much as $175 million if they lose out on the TV package. Hockey broadcasts are also a big money winner for CBC to help them produce other shows.

It would be hard to imagine not seeing Hockey Night in Canada on CBC anymore. If the cost is too high, Don Cherry and his wild suits and opinions might wind up elsewhere.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Them losing the HNIC theme was bad enough. Losing the whole thing would be unthinkable. I have to think they’ll come up with the funds one way or another.

    • channelguy - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      Don’t be so sure. Remember the CBC is government-owned and there has always been a vocal minority who thinks the CBC shouldn’t be involved in a blatantly commercial venture like the NHL, and dont consider, or don’t care that HNIC revenues fund other CBC programming. If the new rights costs are high enough that it’s harder to show that connection, the CBC could walk away.

      Right now, the technical and production people employed by the CBC for hockey are second to none, which is why their coverage is better than TSN and better than NBC in the US. But if the CBC loses hockey, those people will go off to those other networks, and they won’t be back.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 2, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Well if Harper is the big hockey fan he claims to be then maybe he can get somebody in the PMO to cut a personal cheque to cover the cost…

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM

        I wouldn’t mind if someone else took over. I’ve had enough of that maroon Ron MacLean.

      • mikebel11 - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        Really? Of a cast that includes perennial Moron of the Year candidates PJ Stock and Glenn Healey as well as King Moron himself Don Cherry, you choose Ron Maclean as the guy you’ve had enough of?

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        Correct I’m tired of Ron MacLean’s arrogance and referee bullshiite all the time.

  2. banger60 - Aug 2, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Oh Know! damn, damn, damn!!!

  3. yustasayin - Aug 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    Could this be a first glimpse of financial reality in sports?

    • rodeoclowndc - Aug 2, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Financial reality in sports?

      Isn’t it like that “dividing by zero” thing everyone talks about?

  4. zachammer69 - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Harper is a bigger hater of the CBC than he is a hockey fan. I believe the sweeping cuts he made to the CBC over the last 3 years were, at least in part, designed to keep the CBC from retaining the NHL package that keeps the network viable.

    Speaking as a technician for HNIC I can say we appreciate the kind words people have for our show and we hope to continue making the show forever but who knows right now. I feel the CBC will make a deal but perhaps TSN will be picking up some of the playoff package.

  5. kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    I despise hnic because it fails to give coverage to all the eastern teams in the first broadcast of the evening.the national broadcast should be rotated.

  6. dbara43 - Aug 2, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    I grew up (in Seattle) watching HNIC on CBC and it would be a shame to see them lose the rights. I still watch the Canadian broadcast over the US feed when I can get it. Just higher quality and more knowledgeable.

    I still get the CBC via my local Comcast cable. Would be a shame to see it go as neither the sattelite nor cable providers carry TSN.

  7. fusionix7 - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    It would be awful for CBC to lose the rights. Luckily being in Michigan CBC is part of my cable package. HNIC was a mainstay in our household growing up. CBC is especially valuable in the later rounds of the playoffs for those who look to avoid NBC’s broadcasting team.

  8. joey4id - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    CBC would like to cut their expenses so letting go of HNIC and Don C. could be a blessing for them. Cherry is a big critic of Bettman so don’t be surprised if, at the very least, he’s dropped from the show. Also, the Coach’s Corner bit is old. Time to rejuvenate a little.

  9. nickp91 - Aug 2, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Hockey Night in Canada is a Canadian tradition

  10. dumbassgreg - Aug 2, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    guess we find out if gary really cares about canadian history or best deal for nhl. if he does cbc is done. no way they can out bid others if they want. they are only back in olympics because rogers/bell did not want it.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      Well the other channels it could go to (CTV, TSN, Sportsnet) are owned by Bell and Rogers respectively, of course those two corporations own the Toronto Maple Leafs, also known as the economic engine of the NHL. I wouldn’t be shocked to see them team up and have the early game on one channel with the late game on the other and the two flipping who has which on alternating weeks.

      • kaptaanamerica - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        Economic bullshiite. We all know if the Habs were given their due as the most popular team in Canada they’d be making the most revenue in the league.

  11. sampulls - Aug 3, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    CBC = communist broadcast corporation

  12. thibbledorfpwent - Aug 3, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Thing is, the habs aren’t the most popular team in Canada, too many people can’t get behind their racist francophone bullshiite

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