Last week, Rogers Communications and the National Hockey League (NHL), officially agreed on a 12 year, $5.232 Billion deal, to give Rogers national television rights to all NHL games, including all playoff games, in each round, on all platforms, and in all languages. Furthermore, Rogers now has rights to any other special events that the NHL decides to run, such as the NHL Draft, and yearly All-Star Weekend. In the past, Rogers has had to regionally blackout some of their telecasts, and this deal also guarantees that will not be the case any longer. This deal will take effect starting next season, and fans across Canada will be able to watch any Canadian team, regardless of their geographical location. The NHL has designated Rogers to broadcast Canadian teams’ games on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings.
The NHL players will receive 50 percent of the revenues from within this agreement based on the collective bargaining agreement, as this is considered hockey-related revenue. Thus, the NHL salary cap should rise significantly from its current $64.3 Million at the start of next season, because of the magnitude within the agreement between the NHL and Rogers. Rogers currently owns the sports television channel, Rogers Sportsnet, which will be where one can watch all NHL hockey games next season. Sportsnet had the rights from 1998-2002, before The Sports Network (TSN) took it over; however, the NHL’s commissioner, Gary Bettman, said this deal with Rogers “made the most sense for the league.”
NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live are two features the NHL has brought to the public with the advancement of technology. It’s the ability to watch, pause, and rewind all NHL games nightly on the internet. Rogers will now have full operating controls over this software. Lastly, as part of the NHL’s agreement with Rogers, CBC, who broadcasts “Hockey Night in Canada” every Saturday night, will continue for at least the next four seasons. However, Rogers will have full production, and execution control, including all editorial content and on-air talent. CBC will not generate any revenue from” Hockey Night in Canada,” as all money earned will go to Rogers. With that being said, CBC will not have to spend any money towards these broadcasts.
Lastly, with TSN no longer in the picture for any NHL national television broadcasts, questions do arise as to what is going to happen with that network. Will TSN focus more on Junior Hockey or on the National Basketball Association (NBA), since Rogers owns all Major League Baseball (MLB) rights. There are a lot of individuals whom currently work full time covering the NHL for TSN that may not be needed next season. Jobs will certainly be on the line, and it will be interesting to see if any significant talent, such as Bob McKenzie of TSN will switch over to work for Rogers Communications.