Rogers Communications and the National Hockey League announced Tuesday an exclusive 12-year broadcast and multimedia deal worth $5.2-billion that includes national rights for all NHL games on all platforms.
Sportsnet and other Rogers properties will now have national rights to all regular season and playoff games, as well as the Stanley Cup final, the All-Star game and the NHL draft.
Nadir Mohamed, president and CEO of Rogers; Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media; and Scott Moore, president of broadcast at Rogers Media, as well as NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, formally announced the deal at the Rogers campus in Toronto.
“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians,” Mohamed said in a release.
“Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice.”
Pelley says Canadians are “fiercely passionate about hockey.”
“We look forward to a whole new experience to Canadians. It will be the NHL like never before.”
“The NHL is a shared experience that is deeply entrenched in the fabric of our Canadian culture.”
Fans will be able to see games on Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360, TVA and even City.
Rogers’ wireless resources will also result in more live Internet, tablet and smartphone streaming of hockey.
This is the first time a premium North American sports league has given all of its national rights to one company on a long-term basis.
The deal — which begins with the 2014-15 season and continues through the 2025-26 season — is one of the largest media rights deals ever in Canada, including the largest-ever sports-media rights agreement.
As part of the agreement, Rogers said the CBC will continue to broadcast “Hockey Night in Canada” in a separate sub-licensing deal with Rogers. TVA will also have all of the Canadian French-language multimedia rights.
CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix says the Rogers bid was too rich for the crown corporation.
“NHL frankly set very high standards and very high financial expectations for these negotiations and while we thought we brought something very special to broadcasting, CBC was not, candidly, in a position to spend taxpayers’ money in this game of high stakes.”
But he is happy that the broadcaster will still play a part.
“Our new agreement with Rogers ensures that CBC carries 320 hours of prime-time hockey for the next four years.”
The deal also raises questions about the future of CBC’s talent, especially fan favourite Don Cherry. The high-profile hockey commentator wasn’t sure what would happen to his Coach’s Corner segment when he spoke to reporters Tuesday night.
“I can’t make a comment because I don’t know what’s going on,” said Cherry.
“Usually I’m the best guy in the world for a comment but I can’t comment on something when I don’t know what’s going on.”
Earlier, Bettman told 680News that there will always be a place for Cherry.
“Pelley was very clear that the ink is barely dry and he’s going to have to look at everything but Don is an icon and my guess is they’re going to try and figure out if there’s a way to continue him in an important role because he’s that important,” he said in a live interview.
Bettman says this deal means more games and a closer connection to fans.
“It is a partnership to grow the game, to build and promote the brand and to promote players more than ever before,” he said.
“Every game involving a Canadian team in the national exclusive windows — which will be Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday — will be carried. No black outs, no regionalization.”
Sportsnet’s Michael Grange says the move is exciting for Sportsnet.
“There’s going to be more opportunities to watch NHL games nationally on all kinds of platforms, and I think for Sportsnet and City — very exciting times. Probably positions Sportsnet to be the number one sports media brand in Canada, which has been a goal,” Grange said.
Greg Brady with Sportsnet the FAN 590 said this is a major expansion of NHL games on Sportsnet.
“The CBC-Rogers deal includes a new Sunday night hockey game that will air on Sportsnet and Sportsnet will have a bunch of Stanley Cup playoff games, which we have never had. It’s a brand new start,” Brady said.
The deal is subject to approval by the NHL board of governors, which meets Dec. 9 and 10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.
Rogers is the parent company of this radio station.