According to a 12-year, $4.9 billion deal, Rogers Communications obtained the rights to all national hockey telecasts in Canada beginning next season. The agreement – that more than doubles the National Hockey League’s Canadian television revenue – surpasses the league’s agreement with CBC, TSN and a French-language cable network.
“The agreement will change the way Canadians view and consume professional hockey for years to come,” says a National Hockey League press release, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stating: “This is a deal that we think is transformational. Nobody has ever done a deal quite like this in terms of its structure, its length or its magnitude. It’s focused on delivering NHL hockey to the most passionate hockey fans in the world on a country-wide basis in a way that we think will give them the greatest connectivity to the game.” “It’s a game-breaker,” said Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications. “Today’s deal builds on an incredible sports legacy and solidifies our position as Canada’s No. 1 sports destination,” Mohamed said. “Sports content is a pillar for Rogers and NHL hockey is the Holy Grail. Two years ago I said I wanted Sportsnet to be the No. 1 sports brand in Canada; today we’re positioned to do just that.”
Under the agreement, Rogers will telecast NHL games nationally on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights. On a typical Saturday in the regular season, games will be shown on a dozen or more Rogers-controlled channels, including the cable network Sportsnet and the company’s Internet portal. Games will also be shown on CBC and the French-language network TVA through a licensing arrangement with Rogers. In addition to its exclusive rights for all playoff and Cup Final games, Rogers has exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.
As part of the agreement, CBC will continue to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada for at least the next four seasons, but Rogers will control the production and execution, including editorial content and on-air talent. Rogers will also earn the revenue from those broadcasts. Say Gary Bettman: “Hockey Night in Canada is an institution; 61 years old. People grow up on it, have grown up on it. Families pass on the tradition of watching games together from generation to generation. It was important to us in terms of our fans, in terms of thecultural imperative, to respect the importance of Hockey Night in Canada.”
According to the NHL press release, the agreement is for 5.232 billion Canadian Dollars (4.9 billion US$ or 3.6 billion Euros). It represents the largest media rights deal in NHL history and one of the largest media rights deals in Canadian history. It is also Canada’s largest sports-media rights agreement. The partnership between the NHL and Rogers begins with the 2014-15 season and runs through the 2025-26 season. It is subject to approval by the NHL’s Board of Governors, which meets December 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.
This story first appeared in the blog, The Sport Intern. The editor is Karl-Heinz Huba of Lorsch, Germany. He can be reached at ISMG@aol.com. The article is reprinted here with permission of Huba.