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SBD/January 10, 2013/Media
Shortened NHL Season May Complicate Rogers-Bell Split Of Maple Leafs Broadcasts
Published January 10, 2013
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD: RDS President Gerry Frappier said that the NHL season starting in mid-January "is far from ideal" for the net. Frappier: "The timing, frankly, could not have been worse. To have a truncated season return in the middle of January is just about the worst-case scenario for a broadcaster. ... So in some cases the national advertisers will not have the same money to re-invest in hockey when we come back." He added, "The second reason is that in the course of an 82-game schedule, not every game is in the same period of time that has the same commercial value to advertisers. Games in November and December have a lot more value than games in January or February because of the Christmas/consumer-shopping window." But Frappier continued, "This is a way better situation than if there had been a cancellation of the season. We could’ve maybe had a better financial picture if say hockey had not come back but that’s short-term thinking. You damage the game and you’re invested in this game for the long-term." Frappier said hockey is a "loss leader" for nets like RDS and TSN. In Montreal, Brendan Kelly writes, "But again that’s short-term thinking -- the fact is the NHL generates subscribers and their fees are a huge part of RDS’s financial picture" (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/10).