NHL'S CANADIAN MAKEOVER: TSN OUT AS CTV INKS FOUR-YEAR DEAL
The NHL announced a new Canadian cable agreement with
CTV Sports Net for English language cable telecast rights in
Canada. The four-year deal will take effect at the start of
next season. CTV will broadcast 27 regular-season games,
including two broadcasts for each of the Canadian teams, as
well as coverage of up to 14 first-round playoff games of
U.S.-based clubs (NHL). In Toronto, Rob Longley called the
deal "a stunning hit from behind" for incumbent rights
holder TSN, adding that CTV's new sports network "will gain
instant credibility in the Canadian TV marketplace."
Sources put the deal at C$60M (TORONTO SUN, 11/22).
DETAILS: NHL Senior VP & COO Steve Solomon said that
the CTV offer was "modestly higher" than the TSN offer. TSN
President Jim Thompson: "We lost it. We're obviously very
disappointed." When asked why TSN lost the rights, Thompson
said, "Don't know" (Rick Matsumoto, TORONTO STAR, 11/22).
Also in Toronto, David Shoalts called the deal "a
devastating blow" to TSN, and added that "there had been
complaints" from Western teams that TSN "was too Toronto-
oriented" in its programming. Insiders "believe TSN lost
the contract because it was unwilling to pay more than
[C]$10 million a year," and that CTV "had agreed to pay more
than" C$60M over four years (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/22). In
Montreal, Pat Hickey: "The question is whether [CTV] can
convince cable companies to buy the product and pass the
cost on to their viewers. The question is whether there are
enough advertising dollars to carry CTV Sports Network
during the days when there is no hockey" (GAZETTE, 11/23).