NHL announces 12-year, $5.2 billion deal with Rogers, CBC, TVA
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, November 26, 2013 7:15AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, November 26, 2013 11:12AM EST
TORONTO -- The National Hockey League says it has reached a 12-year, $5.2 billion agreement with Rogers Communications for the league's broadcast and multimedia rights.
As part of the deal, Rogers says the CBC will continue to broadcast its iconic Hockey Night in Canada broadcast and that the TVA network in Quebec has all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights.The league says the deal gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games, including the playoffs and Stanley Cup final, on all of its platforms in all languages.
In addition, the NHL says the agreement guarantees that there will be no further regionalization of games or local blackouts. Rogers has three exclusive windows to broadcast any game involving a Canadian team -- Wednesday nights, Saturday nights (including CBC) and Sunday nights.
TSN Sports 990 will continue to broadcast Canadiens' games on radio.
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."
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.
"This may not be the ideal scenario but, it is the right outcome for Canadian hockey fans and is an acceptable adaptation to the role of the public broadcaster in the modern world of professional sports rights," he said. "A world in which partnering with a wide array of other actors is a key to success."
Lacroix added that CBC had been in conversation with the league for several months.
"The CBC was prepared to do a fiscally responsible deal to preserve hockey on Saturday nights and to help the NHL to build the hockey brand through a variety of significant events and outreach activities," he said. "The NHL chose a deal with only one broadcaster -- that's their choice and that's their prerogative."
It appears TSN is also on the outside looking in. The NHL's news release early Tuesday made no mention of the all-sports network, which currently airs a package of regular-season and playoff games. A TSN spokesman said the network would be sending a release later Tuesday.
The deal could put the iconic "Hockey Night in Canada" theme song in limbo. TSN has owned the rights to the jingle since 2008 after CBC was unable to negotiate a new agreement with the song's composer.
Longtime NHL analyst Bob McKenzie said in a tweet early Tuesday that "TSN's national rights package for NHL games expires at end of this season and isn't being renewed."
He added that TSN would, in spite of losing national rights, maintain and intensify efforts to "continue as a prime source for hockey news and information."
The NHL says the partnership with Rogers and TVA, which is subject to approval by the NHL Board of Governors, will begin with the 2014-15 season and run through the 2025-26 season. The Board of Governors will next meet Dec. 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.
The league said in a statement that the agreement is the largest media rights deal in its history and one of the largest media rights deals ever in Canada, including the largest-ever sports-media rights agreement.
Executives from the NHL and Rogers scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. Tuesday in Toronto to formally announce the deal.
"The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.
"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," Bettman added.
Rogers will provide game coverage with expanded pre- and post-game coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Rogers also has exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.
In addition, Rogers said it will use its digital technology to stream games on the Internet, wireless and mobile devices, as well as satellite radio. Rogers will operate NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.
"Sports content is a key strategic asset and we've been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians," said Rogers CEO and president Nadir Mohamed in a statement issued through the NHL.
"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."