New Local, National Media Deals Could Help Senators Invest More In On-Ice Product
The Senators' 12-year TV deal with Bell Media "could be worth" up to C$400M, according to sources cited by Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. Coupled with the C$16M the team will receive from the new deal the NHL signed with Sportsnet, the Senators "could get" more than C$40M from broadcast revenues next season. Senators President Cyril Leeder "wouldn't confirm the numbers," but said that the Bell Media agreement is "the biggest financial deal in club history." Leeder: "It’s going to increase the value of the club for sure. That’s going to bode well for the future. It’s good for [Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk], the club, the fans and it just adds more value to the organization." Sources said that the Senators' annual payment "will escalate through the course of the agreement." TSN President Stewart Johnston said that the Senators "are an attractive option because their regional games include Eastern and Northern Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, and Newfoundland" (OTTAWA SUN, 1/30).
ON-ICE INVESTMENT? In Ottawa, James Bagnall writes the deals will "almost certainly allow Melnyk to close a long-running gap between the operation’s revenues and costs." Melnyk, since acquiring the team and arena in '03, "has suffered a cumulative cash drain" of US$110M. Melnyk said of the broadcast deals, "This puts us on a solid footing. We are going to be competitive in spending on players." However, Melnyk also "made it clear" that, despite the extra broadcasting revenues, he "does not intend to shell out the maximum permitted under salary cap rules." He said, "We’re still going to spend wisely" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/30).