A 12 year deal was reached with the NHL as Rogers Communications now grasps entire control of Hockey Night In Canada (HNIC) and all National Broadcasts of the Hockey League here in Canada. Playoffs and all media platforms will now be produced by Rogers Communications in this the largest broadcast deal in NHL history.
TSN was sent packing, and with no NHL content left for national broadcast will likely continue to use TSN2 as a platform for spitting out “rebroadcast” NBC games and American rivalry games from south of the border. CBC was also a big loser in this deal that sends them to the boardroom to take orders from Rogers Communications as they now have production control of Hockey Night in Canada.
Goodbye Don Cherry?
With this deal the CBC is bound to lose jobs and send some of the HNIC team looking for work. Will this include Don Cherry? Time will tell if the new HNIC will have room for an old windbag that has eaten up tax dollars for far too long. Elliot Friedman and his cupboard of lumpy suits may have to find another channel to give middle of the road criticisms and boring pre-game rambles on. May I suggest he go to The Score network where the sound of crickets and table tennis can distract us from his useless dribble.
Toronto Maple Leafs come out on Top
The Toronto Maple Leafs will come out on top of this deal as they will no longer be blacked out of national spotlight when the Ottawa Senators play. Ottawa residents who still bleed blue and white and subscribe to the Nation (Toronto) and not the Army (Ottawa) can tune in anytime and watch the Leafs play. I think this will be a big win for the NHL if it becomes a reality, no longer will national teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens be drowned out by smaller market teams like Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Montreal and Toronto fans are far and wide in this country and they deserve to watch games on a national broadcast.
James Duthie will need to study the CFL media guide because that is all TSN has left in their arsenal sponsor driven Canadian content. Who wants to watch TSN hockey insiders when the broadcaster doesn’t air or produce their own content? Not many sponsors are lining up for that ticket.
TSN says goodbye to NHL and really is the biggest loser in this deal. Media giant Bell and ESPN that owns TSN will now have to rely on Major League Soccer, CFL, Curling and a few Raptors games to produce and generate ad revenue. Those being the only arenas of sport that TSN can produce a broadcast from will drive revenue down. Job losses are soon to follow. How can you promote that broadcasting to a large NHL audience if they no longer show up to tune in? Simply put TSN will become the channel that rebroadcasts NFL, EPL, PGA and some Tennis events. Just the position Rogers Communications wants them in.
Is It a Fair Deal?
The Toronto Maple Leafs and MLSE will benefit from this the most. If you are a Leafs fan then you are really happy. If you are a Canadian tax payer you may also be happy to see that CBC will have their purse strings brought in a notch or three to save money. CBC should direct that money back into solid Canadian Content and start producing shows that a demographic younger than 74 years old will tune in for.
The deal is fair.
TSN had their chance in a free market to come up with the best package for the NHL to showcase its product. They failed to do so. Is it surprising? Not really, the company Bell Media already mails it in with their broadcasts of games and commitment to the CFL as it is. The NHL would have spent time looking at the track record and ratings for CFL and it would have weighed heavy in the decision. CFL ratings just started moving north this year with indication that the Argos had been driving the viewership. 270,000 – 350,000 viewership per CFL game is still peanuts compared to producing and generating income for sports that have 4 times the people tuning in. Leave that up to the experts at Rogers Sportsnet. Great deal for them.
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