The CBC's Exclusive Negotiating Window For "Hockey Night In Canada" Down To Last Month
The CBC has one month to "lock down the broadcast rights to 'Hockey Night in Canada' for another decade," but with the asking price expected to double to C$200M a season, the country’s public broadcaster "could be hard pressed to keep its 60-year lock on Saturday night hockey," according to Steve Ladurantaye of the GLOBE & MAIL. The CBC has "exclusive negotiating rights with the NHL through August." However, sources said that Bell Media, which owns TSN and CTV, is "anxious to step in if a deal with the CBC can’t be reached quickly." The CBC "drew an average of two million viewers for each early broadcast last season, and one million for the later game." The net "relies on the Saturday broadcast to promote the rest of its schedule," and it stands to lose up to C$175M in "annual advertising revenue." But the CBC finding another C$100M a year to cover the increase in rights fees "is a challenge at a time when its annual budget is in decline." Landing the Saturday night NHL package for Bell Media "would mean a substantial ratings boost on TSN and the chance to further establish its dominance in sports broadcasting" in Canada. Meanwhile, Ladurantaye reports the NHL is "interested in creating an exclusive Canadian broadcast on Sunday nights that could go to the broadcaster who is either outbid or passes on the Saturday night rights" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).