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SBD/November 27, 2013/Media
Rogers' 12-Year, C$5.2B Deal With NHL Reshapes Canada's Broadcasting Landscape
Published November 27, 2013
WE'VE GOT THE POWER: The GLOBE & MAIL's Susan Krashinsky notes Rogers is "positioning its Sportsnet properties to be the go-to channels for Canada’s national pastime." The company has been "aggressively building the Sportsnet brand, with a massive rebranding, a new magazine, an expanded digital presence, the acquisition of competitor the Score and an investment," in partnership with Bell Canada, in MLSE. Rogers with the NHL TV deal "is making a big bet that the country’s national sport will drive growth in its media business -- and shore up its position in the growing battle for TV and mobile subscribers." A move toward a la carte pricing would "pose a challenge to all cable networks." With the "right content, however, there is a greater chance that consumers given a choice will choose to pay for the channel." Sportsnet currently has 8.8 million subscribers, while Bell-owned TSN has 9.2 million. Rogers with this deal also can "cherry-pick the best games to broadcast on its networks, driving viewership." Access to NHL content "also puts the power in Rogers’ hands to go to competing TV distributors and demand higher fees to carry the channel" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/27).
PARDON MOI: In Montreal, Pat Hickey notes while TVA has "emerged as a sub-licensee for national French-language rights, the bulk of the regular-season package -- 60 games -- could still be televised on RDS." TVA will "televise 22 games, including all Saturday night games on TVA Sports." Whether the other 60 regular-season games "stay on RDS or move to TVA will be up to the NHL and the Canadiens to decide in the coming days or weeks" (Montreal GAZETTE, 11/27).
NHL NET TO SEE CHANGES: The deal with Rogers will change the way the league operates the NHL Network. The NHL’s current partners on the network are Insight Media -- owned in part by MLSE Chair Larry Tanenbaum -- and TSN, its outgoing broadcast rights-holder after this season. NHL Network utilizes TSN studios and some of its talent. Over the next few months, the league will look to transition into a partnership with Rogers and Sportsnet and consider other ways to upgrade the performance of NHL Network (Christopher Botta, Staff Writer).