Rogers Media President Says NHL Deal Was "Desperate Move" To Stem Net's Losses
Rogers Media President Keith Pelley yesterday told the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission that a "sharp increase in the cost of rights for professional sports [makes] it all but impossible for conventional broadcasters, whose only revenue is from advertising, to make money on the broadcasts," according to Simon Houpt of the GLOBE & MAIL. Pelley said, "Sports rights have escalated at a gargantuan rate. When you look at what has happened at the National Football League, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR -- all the rights have doubled over the last 10 years. And it’s also happened in Canada." He added that, increasingly, "only specialty channels, which earn both advertising and subscriber fees could afford the higher costs for the rights." Pelley: "Look at CBC. They’ve lost the Grey Cup, ... now they’ve lost now the NHL -- all based on the fact that they’ve all gone to specialty, where there is a second source of revenue." Pelley was appearing before the CRTC "for hearings into the renewal of 17 licenses owned by Rogers, including the City network and Sportsnet." He noted that competition from digital media "had exploded since the company’s last license renewal hearing in 2011." Pelley said that competition had "pushed Rogers to purchase the NHL rights as a desperate move to stem the growing losses at its City network" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/9).