Net Worth: Rogers, NHL ink 12-year, $5.2-billion deal
Rogers Communications and the National Hockey League have shifted their business's landscape for, well, ever.
On Tuesday morning, Rogers announced a 12-year, $5.232 billion deal with the NHL ($4.9 billion USD). The deal gives Rogers national rights to all games in Canada, including the Stanley Cup Final and playoffs, the All-Star Game, outdoor games, and the NHL Draft (which has been carried, until now, by TSN). Rogers will also stream games on the Internet, wireless and mobile devices, and satellite radio, and will operate NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.
The deal – which would begin for the 2014-15 season – still needs to be approved by the NHL's Board of Governors on December 9 and 10 but, if passed, it would bring the NHL's total rights fees to to $7 billion. The league currently has a 10-year, $2-billion deal with NBC for U.S. games.
"Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years – channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, in a press release (NHL.com).
"The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership."
The deal also gives Rogers a new Sunday night game, a weekly instalment aimed at becoming its own brand, much like the NFL's Sunday Night Football. The NHL says the new Sunday game "will feature marquee matchups".
As well, Rogers will have pre-game and post-game shows and coverage on both Saturday and Sunday nights.
What does it mean for the network's competitors?
CBC will continue broadcasting Hockey Night in Canada, keeping its tradition alive on Saturday night, but Hockey Night will continue under a rights agreement between Rogers and the Corporation. Same goes for TVA and French-language games.
But under the deal, CBC can only broadcast two games a week, both on Saturday night – one early, and one late, according to The Globe and Mail's Dave Shoalts.
"This may not be the ideal scenario but, it is the right outcome for Canadian hockey fans and is an acceptable adaptation to the role of the public broadcaster in the modern world of professional sports rights," said the CBC's Hubert Lacroix in an internal memo published on SteveLadurantaye.com. "A world in which partnering with a wide array of other actors is a key to success."
Lacroix said the CBC "pays no rights costs for the broadcasting of hockey games" and that Rogers will sell Hockey Night's advertising and "keep the revenue".
The bigger deal – for the newsrooms and/or their viewers – is that Rogers will assume all editorial control of Hockey Night and CBC's hockey coverage, according to Lacroix:
"So, what does this mean for the CBC going forward? While this deal will result in job losses, the staffing impact would have been much greater had we lost hockey entirely, as CBC is still producing hockey. Preserving HNIC also allows CBC to maintain a capacity to execute a sports strategy and fulfillits existing contractual obligations (i.e. Olympics, Pan-Am, FIFA)"
"Our vision is to build on the NHL's legacy in Canada with an emphasis on storytelling, innovation, and technology – weaving the NHL, its teams and its stars even deeper into the fabric of Canadian culture," said Rogers president Keith Pelley. "Today's announcement significantly increases the value of our premium Sportsnet brand and reinforces our commitment to making Sportsnet the No. 1 sports media brand in Canada."
As for TSN...
To be clear: TSN is completely wiped off the NHL map when it comes to broadcasting games as of next season. Zero, zilch.— Steve Ladurantaye (@sladurantaye) November 26, 2013
Been a privilege being a part of The NHL on TSN the past 12 years. Congrats and best of luck to Rogers/HNIC.— James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) November 26, 2013
Thx for all the kind words. Will pass them on to all the great people at TSN. And we're still here. 3 games Wed. World Jrs a month away.— James Duthie (@tsnjamesduthie) November 26, 2013
The Sports Network's longtime authority on hockey Bob McKenzie also issued his own sort of informal press release on Twitter Tuesday, addressing anyone's questions of the network or its talent:
TSN's national rights package for NHL games expires at end of this season and isn't being renewed. NHL to announce new CBC-Rogers deal Tues.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
Obviously, it's very disappointing for us at TSN. We take great pride in doing NHL games and will continue to do so thru to 2014 NHL draft.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
Thanks to the many loyal viewers/readers/fans who have reached out tonight. You have no idea how much it means to all of us at TSN.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
There's bound to be degree of uncertainty ahead but this isn't first time TSN will be without nat'l NHL rights. It happened from 1998-2002.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
In fact, that's when I quit my fulltime newspaper job to be a fulltime broadcaster.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
TSN decided then it would, in spite of losing nat'l rights, maintain/intensify efforts to continue as THE source for hockey news and info.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
And that has always been our mandate at TSN, with or without nat'l NHL rights, and I'd like to think that will continue now.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
If my bosses at TSN/CTV/Bell want to take a tiny fraction of the billions of dollars they offered for NHL rights and invest it...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
...We've got a boatload of gifted, hard-working people at TSN who are up for challenge of keeping TSN as THE source for all things hockey.— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
In meantime, can only speak for myself, but losing rights changes nothing for me. SportsCentre, That's Hockey, tsn.ca, Twitter, new shows...— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013
Much work to be done. Guess I'll have more time to do it. Proud to be associated with all my NHL on TSN colleagues. They're the best! G'nite— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 26, 2013