The biggest business news story of 2013, according to the Canadian Press, was advanced Tuesday as the National Hockey League and Rogers Media unveiled its programming strategy for the 2014-15 NHL season at Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.
More than 500 regular-season games will be broadcast across 13 networks next season, with as many as seven games shown every Saturday night.
“We are working together with the NHL on a strategic game schedule, which allows us to deliver the games that matter most to Canadians,” said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL, Rogers Media. “Our vision is to transform the fan experience. There will be two conventional networks to deliver increased game coverage on Saturday nights, we have created a new national night for hockey on Sundays, we will be in hockey communities every week, and we are leveraging all the Rogers networks and platforms to deliver expanded NHL content.”
At an NHL Upfront for media buyers and the advertising community, Moore was joined Tuesday at the former Maple Leaf Gardens by president of Rogers Media Keith Pelley, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, and guest speaker Mark Messier.
“The magic of this deal is the length,” said Pelley. “NHL hockey coverage in Canada will never be the same.”
As part of the $5.2 billion, 12-year agreement announced in November, Rogers obtained the national rights on all platforms to every NHL game through the 2025-26 campaign—including all playoff games, NHL Centre Ice and Game Centre Live properties, the NHL Draft, the All-Star Game and the Stanley Cup final.
“No sport has ever done what we’ve done with Rogers,” Bettman said. “It’s the type of exclusivity that sports leagues and broadcasters dream of.”
Saturdays will remain Hockey Night in Canada, with games broadcast on CBC, City, Sportsnet, Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet 360, FX Canada, TVA, TVA Sports, and TVA Sports 2. Three to five games will be shown in the 7 p.m. ET slot; an additional one or two contests will begin at 10 p.m. ET.
Hometown Hockey, a brand-new national hockey night, will air Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on City. Each game will feature a Canadian club and be hosted in a different community rink across Canada. Additional matchups will also air Sundays on Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE.
Wednesday’s NHL on Sportsnet will bring more nationally televised games with an emphasis placed on superstar matchups and storytelling. A contest between two U.S. teams will complement the evening on Sportsnet ONE.
On top of the national offering, Sportsnet will air all 82 regular-season games from the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. A minimum of 53 Toronto Maple Leafs games will be aired by Rogers, 40 of them nationally and a minimum of 13 regionally. And a minimum of 100 U.S. team-versus-U.S. team contests will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet ONE and Sportsnet 360; the latter station will be the home of a regular Thursday-night broadcast.
Hockey Central, now a 30-minute hockey news and analysis program, will expand to one hour every night, and the weekend pre-game shows will kick off two hours before puck drop, at 5 p.m. ET.
Rogers is the parent company of CityNews and CityNews.ca