On November 26th, 2013 Rogers Communications and the National Hockey League (NHL), officially agreed on a 12 year deal worth over $5 Billion, to give Rogers national television rights to all NHL games, including all playoff games on all platforms, and in all languages. Rogers was guaranteed the rights to any other events that the NHL decides to run, such as the NHL Draft, and yearly All-Star Game. This deal will take effect starting from the 2014-15 NHL season, and fans across Canada will be able to watch any Canadian NHL team, regardless of their geographical location. The NHL has designated Rogers to broadcast Canadian teams on the “popular hockey nights” which are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sundays. In the past, Rogers has had to regionally blackout some of their telecasts and this deal guarantees all games will be shown across Roger’s stations.
This deal is a prime example of how major corporations such as Rogers are using their money and power to expand to dominate the sport and media industry. For the past decade the NHL’s regional TV rights in Canada have been owned by TSN/Bell Media. While many people assumed when TSN’s current deal ended with the NHL they would be first in line to renew. However the deal Rogers offered the NHL was too good to pass up. Rogers will be paying over $400 million per year for nation NHL rights which is over 8 times as much as TSN is paying under their current agreement which expires after the current 2013/14 season. This isn’t the first time this year that Rogers has made a serious financial investment in their sport media department as in April 2013, they purchased another Canadian sport channel The Score as well as the broadcast rights to Toronto sports radio station The Fan 590. Rogers now maintains control of 7 Sportsnet channels, the new Sportsnet 590 Radio station, and NHL coverage on CBC and CITY TV.
My real question is how much longer will it be until Rogers created a monopoly and controls all of the sports media outlets in Canada. With all of the money Rogers is spending on sport media coverage it wouldn’t surprise if in the near future they make a sizeable offer to Bell Media in order to purchase TSN, which are deemed “Canada’s sports leader”. I believe that while it will be beneficial too fans that Rogers are getting these NHL rights because more games will be shown on a daily, that in the long run it is never good for one company to dominate an entire sector as they can begin to control everything that is shown on the air. I guess only time will tell, but it will be interesting to follow this story forward to see how big Rogers can grow in the sport media world