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IS CBC/NHL DEAL NEAR? DO FALLING LEAFS HURT LEAGUE RATINGS?
Published October 17, 1997
The CBC's TV deal with the NHL is "virtually done and will be announced shortly," according to William Houston of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Sources put the deal at C$200- 250M over five years and sources add the CBC will pay between C$40M-50M a year for its national package, "Hockey Night in Canada" (HNIC). Houston writes the CBC was the "only over-the-air network" to bid for national NHL rights, but that the NHL and CBC "have not reached a cable agreement, tentative or otherwise" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/17). ANALYSIS: Also in Toronto, David Shoalts writes that an NHL exec said the Maple Leafs' "continuing mediocrity" led the league to sign Labatt Brewing's deal with the CBC for HNIC, which was done in "a different manner than originally planned." The Leafs recent performance has led to a drop in ratings and "there is a fear" at the league office that "further slides could lead to a massive hit" in TV revenue. The league earlier had said it "wanted to split" the Canadian TV rights package into "smaller components and sell the promotional, broadcasting and advertising rates separately." But Shoalts writes that the sale of HNIC sponsorship to Labatt and the CBC "makes it appear the package has only been split in two parts." But when adding up the components of the national deal, Shoalts notes the total value of the national package could hit C$375M, which is C$44M more than was offered to the league by Molson for rights this summer (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/17).