Hey, everyone. It’s Dan Mount again and I’m here with the new deal changing the way Canadians will see the NHL. I’ll be live-tweeting Friday’s Thanksgiving Classic between the Rangers and the Bruins. You can find me on Twitter @DanMountSports.
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The landscape of Canadian hockey coverage will be changed significantly next season as Rogers and the Canadian Broadcasting Company have reached a landmark deal to carry the National Hockey League until 2025-26. The deal allows the CBC to continue broadcasting the internationally-know Hockey Night in Canada.
The deal means that major Canadian sports network TSN has been shut out of the hockey broadcasting business. TSN will still hold local rights to some Montreal Canadiens games and the Winnipeg Jets, but it won’t be broadcasting playoff games.
The deal is a crippling one to TSN as the network has carved out a massive place on Canadian (and some American) sports fan’s dials. Rogers was thought of a secondary player, but this deal changes everything. The deal was worth $5.2 billion over the duration of the contract.
Like I stated earlier, CBC keeps the iconic HNIC, but things are going to be a lot different. First thing is CBC, won’t have the exclusive window on Saturdays that it used to have. Rogers can put competing games against the HNIC broadcast on stations like CityTV. The new deal also allows Rogers to make Wednesday and Sunday exclusive dates featuring any Canadian teams.
CBC does keep hockey, but they won’t be reaping any of the rewards they get for advertising like they used. (They also won’t have to worry about the sky-rocketing cost of production.) The public broadcaster also signed over editorial control of HNIC to Rogers and there are going to be some big decisions that they will have to make. Does Rogers re-sign the controversial Don Cherry and his partner Ron McLean. We all know Cherry can be controversial.
But it won’t be long for HNIC on CBC as the four-year sub-deal is going to basically a long goodbye to a great Canadian institution. I became a fan of hockey because of Hockey Night in Canada. Ever since I was six years old, I’d have my Saturday night viewing of Doctor Who on PBS at 6 p.m. and then I’d flip to over to CKWS of Kingston to watch the great hockey action. I was too young to make it to the second game, but then I just kept watching and became a big puckhead.
CBC executives have already sent a memo to its employees about the loss of revenue and the forthcoming job cuts that will come. Hockey was a major money-maker for the CBC, which is publically funded. Governments are looking to try to maximize their money and spending money on hockey may not get over well with some people. (I’m not going to go on any political rants. You can get that from somewhere else.)
I’m posting a little primer on what the deal means for people that enjoy hockey in Canada. Here’s also a list of winners and losers in the deal. However, I am sure TSN is going to do all it can to continue to be a great source for hockey. Sure it’s partially owned by ESPN, but I doubt they’ll do what their American cousins have done and completely ignore the sport. They have some great talent over there like Bob McKenzie, James Duthie and Pierre LeBrun.
We’ll also get to miss fun things like this from the guys over at TSN. They certainly had their fun and I hope it continues without the game rights.
This deal could also be a harbinger for when the American rights come up in a few years. NBC paid less than half of what the new Rogers deal. The Peacock Network has done a great job raising the sports profile despite the mothership’s best efforts. I do think the NHL rights will be contested more than people think. (Especially if ESPN loses the rights to the NBA.)
The world of hockey has now changed and it’s going to change a lot more in the next few. It’s going to be a strange, but exciting time for hockey fans.
See you later in the week and I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Take care.
Dan Mount is an NHL and college football writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.