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NHL, Rogers announce largest broadcast deal in league history

Nov 26, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

Beginning next season, there will be a significant shift in Canadian hockey broadcasting.

Rogers Communication — a Canadian media company — has acquired a 12-year, $5.2 billion (CDN) broadcast and multimedia package from the National Hockey League. Rogers also announced it has chosen CBC and French-language station TVA for individual sub-licensing deals, meaning CBC will continue to produce Hockey Night in Canada while TVA will receive all national French-language multimedia rights.

The news was made official in a joint press conference on Tuesday featuring league commissioner Gary Bettman and Nadir Mohamed, Rogers President and CEO.

“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians,” Mohamed said in a release. “Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice.”

According to the NHL, annual payments from Rogers will start at $300 million in the first year and will gradually increase year-by-year, topping out at approximately mid-$500 million in the final season (2025-26).

It’s estimated that — along with an additional upfront payment amount of $150 million — the deal will come in around $5.2 billion over the full 12-year term.

“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years – channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience,” Bettman said in a statement. “The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership.”

As a result of the Rogers deal, longtime NHL rightsholder TSN will no longer broadcast the NHL nationally and no longer has a Stanley Cup playoff package.

TSN does still have local rights to the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, with the Jets deal going until 2021.

  1. convincedofthehex - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    How much does the current Canadian deal pay per year and what is the impact on the salary cap per team?

  2. bucrightoff - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Good for the league’s bottom line and the players slice of the pie. Bad for Canadian hockey fans. Sportsnet runs a second rate operation at best so expect the quality of coverage to suffer.

    • nobandwagoners - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      I typically watch the BC feed of Sportsnet and, IMO, they do a good job broadcasting hockey. Far superior to TSN broadcasts, although I will say that some of the TSN panelists/commentators are very good (namely Bob McKenzie).

      The biggest adjustment might be for Ontario-based fans as CBC and notably TSN catered to Toronto in particular, which isn’t that surprising given the size of the market.

      • dueman - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:34 PM

        You do realize that Rogers (and Bell) own the Leafs right? That fact, and the fact that they are still giving the CBC, Hockey Night in Canada, means that there will be no adjustment for Leaf fans. This is not a good thing though because starting next year there is only one channel carrying NHL games outside of Saturday night! Once again Bettman has proved that he cares not about the fan but only the dollar.

      • bigsky1970 - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:59 PM

        I’ll take CBC’s coverage of hockey over anyone, any day of the week. CBC is vastly superior to all the others and they’re the standard bearers of what hockey play-by-play should be. I enjoy it when NBC Sports Net uses CBC’s feed for hockey games.

    • hockeyflow33 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:16 PM

      So you think Rogers will put $5,200,000,000.00 into an investment and still run it poorly?

      What world do you live in?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        I don’t think it’s too unreasonable to suggest Sportsnet will still be second-rate after the cash influx. Rogers has been throwing money at it in recent years and it hasn’t gotten much better, I’d look for that trend to continue.

      • dueman - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:38 PM

        Unless they are going to replace all their on air personalities, then yes they will still be second rate.

  3. stonebullet - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    I’ll be interested to see how this deal, and other TV deals, work out going forward with cable/televison becoming more obsolete each year and the internet taking over media distribution.

    • kyegrace - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      This deal includes that. Rogers has the rights for content via any medium, so assumedly it is on them to find a way to make that work. Also includes NHL Game Center from what I understand, so I assume they get a piece of that revenue as well?

      Devil’s in the details of course but that is my loose and fast understanding of it at this point.

      • robert2828 - Nov 26, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        I wonder if I’ll get my wish and the tv companies will allow Game Center to provide in market games so people who don’t have cable, such as myself, can pay the yearly fee and watch my local teams.

        Does anybody have any thoughts or know about the situation with how this would work?

    • scrouch - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      This is the area where I think options for viewers will really improve. TSN is pretty far behind in using other media platforms aside from specific events or if you have the right cell package. CBC already streams everything so hopefully that doesn’t change but I could see Rogers really making use of online viewing, and more so now that they’ve got rid of regional blackouts.

  4. jpelle82 - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    anyone know if this get distributed evenly between all 30 teams or do canadian teams get a bigger cut of it? theoretically without knowing the details i would assume it means an average of 433 million per year, which is an average of 14.4 million per team if evenly distributed…means those salary cap projections should be right, should see steady increase over the next couple years by 3-5 million or so i would think. good day for hockey fans everywhere either way. nobody should be complaining about losing as much money now either

    • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM

      Money earned from broadcasting rights fall under Hockey Related Revenues and I believe should be divided evenly amongst the 30 teams.

    • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      BTW, the NHLPA will get a percentage of the revenue as agreed in the latest CBA.

    • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      Here’s the split agreed upon last year;
      “Owners and players split revenue 50-50 each season, with the players receiving $300 million US in deferred “make-whole payments” to ease the transition from previous system.” -CBC

    • hazlydose - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:28 PM

      I remember reading this somewhere but I’m not sure how accurate it is, just throwing it out there. From what I read the revenue will be split 65%-35% American-Canadian. But the American share will be split amongst the American franchises and the Canadian share will be split amongst Canadian teams. This gives Canadian teams a larger amount of money per team even though they get a smaller share.

  5. dropthepuckeh - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Is there any chance fans in the States can get access to this coverage? I love the NBCS coverage and NHL channel but it doesn’t cover a lot of games….

    • jpelle82 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

      get center ice…well worth it. get to see tsn, rogers, cbc, root, fox, comcast, whoever you want depending on whose playing and if you choose the home or away broadcast…unless of course the game is blacked out because of the nhl network or nbc’s coverage and if thats the case you’re getting what everybody’s getting anyway.

    • jpelle82 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:33 PM

      i’m not a fan of nhl network’s coverage because all they do is feed the home team’s coverage without their graphics. i’d much rather watch the replays or the stats the local guys put up than what the nhl network feels like putting on the screen while that is happening. if i wanted to know who was playing the rest of the week i would just check the schedule, dont need to see that graphic 30 times during a broadcast….annoying

  6. joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Well! This is one reason why Mr. Bettman, as much as many of us don’t like him, is well liked by the owners. $elling the game to increase profits. I’m a little surprised that CBC & especially coach’s corner are still in the mix. Unless they pressured Rogers to get Grapes released from the CBC when the new deal kicks in. We all know that Grapes is not a huge fan of GB and that he’s pretty expensive…. and old school. I think it’s time to reinvent their first period intermission.

  7. jcmeyer10 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    As long as HNIC stays on, which I heard it will, I am cool. Especially if it helps increase the cap. The Bruins need that to happen after the Bergy/Rask deals, which I am sure was calculated into giving them that much money.

  8. dasportsninja - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Oh how the mighty have fallen. I am not a fan of TSN Canada, they always seemed a bit arrogant to me.

  9. pitpenguinsrulez - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    I like TSN

  10. joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    CBC is reporting that CBC will retain rights for airing games on HNIC for at least the next 4 yeas….. Not sure what that means.

    • joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      Just got the info. CBC’s agreement with Rogers is based on a sub licensing deal, and is apparently good for another 4 years.

  11. joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Check this out: While the CBC holds onto “Hockey Night in Canada,” the new deal will limit its control over the broadcast and lead to job losses at the public broadcaster.

    In an internal memo, CBC president Hubert Lacroix said that “starting next year, Rogers will assume all editorial control (all editorial decisions with respect to the content, on-air talent and the creative direction of HNIC — we have the right to be consulted and there is a commitment to excellence) under the new agreement.”
    (Is Grapes out?)

    He added that it wasn’t “the outcome we had hoped for,” confirming there will be job losses, though not as many as there would have been had they lost the NHL altogether.

    Read more:

  12. avfanforlife - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Seems a bit like a monopoly to me, but if Bettman is happy……

  13. porkcrisp - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    LOVE IT!!!

    Finally no more Hockey Night in Toronto. There has been a bias for way too long. There are 6 other Canadian teams, but all we get to watch on Saturday’s are the bloody Leafs. Hope Mclean, Grapes and Healy go as well.

    Super Stoked!!!

    • dueman - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:55 PM

      You do know that Rogers owns the Leafs right? Considering this fact do you think that they will stop playing Leaf games on HNIC. Still stoked??? LOL You are part right though….Healy needs to go.

      • porkcrisp - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:01 PM

        Exactly my point. Why would Rogers not want to show the Leafs on their own Network? More revenue for them. They’ll give HNIC other games. Not the cash cow. … and yes Healy has to go.

      • porkcrisp - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        Still stoked!!! The Toronto Sun reports…

        “Who gets what game on which night is something that Rogers will work out with the league. As far as the Maple Leafs go, Pelley said some weekends they will appear on CBC and other weekends they will appear on City or Sportsnet. ”

        Plus CBC has only a 4 year sub-lease deal.

  14. stcrowe - Nov 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    I am not so upset. TSN currently has better play by play and colour guys, but they will undoubtedly get signed by Sportsnet. TSN can afford to keep the rights to the HNIC theme song, but they can’t afford to keep those guys under contract when they have no games to work. That will improve the quality of the broadcasts on Sportsnet.

    What I love about this deal is that there will no longer be regional blackouts of games. If I want to watch the Canucks on Sportsnet Pacific, or the Flames or Oilers on Sportsnet West, instead of Poker on Sportsnet Ontario, I don’t currently have that option. That alone will make it worthwhile for me.

  15. joey4id - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    Contrary to this article CTV news reported “TSN would have 10 Leafs games next season under a regional agreement and that, starting in 2015, the network would have 26 regional Leafs games. TSN also has a deal for over 60 regional Jets games through 2021.” No mention of the Montreal Canadiens.

  16. sterling973 - Nov 28, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    See Mike Farber’s take on the new hockey deal….

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