Rogers Changing NHL Broadcasting Rights Game

As many of you have probably heard by now, Rogers communication has bought the broadcasting rights for the National Hockey League for the next 12 years. There are many aspects of this deal that will have major consequences on both the NHL and the other communications companies in Canada, most notably Bell.

The deal is worth around $5 billion and lasts for 12 years, which suggests that Rogers is trying to squeeze both Bell-owned TSN and the CBC out of the NHL broadcasting game. Not only is this bad news for TSN, CBC and their employees, but it may also be bad news for Rogers Sportsnet employees, as TSN and CBC employees may be taking over the jobs of current Rogers employees who work as producers, hosts and analysts during NHL broadcasts.

This deal also raises some questions as to the motive of the NHL. One would think the NHL would like to maximize its profits as much as possible, which this 12 year deal may not do, regardless of the immense dollar figure given out by Rogers.

In theory, Bell would be upset about losing the TV contract for the NHL, and would be looking to one-up Rogers the next time the broadcasting rights are up for negotiation. In my opinion, it would be more financially beneficial for the NHL to keep the deal shorter (say, 5 years), so that they can pit the companies against each other in another high stakes negotiation sooner rather than later.

Regardless of the length of the deal, it is a huge deal that will change the landscape of broadcasting rights contracts in the future, and the NHL will surely benefit from this in 12 years when Bell looks to redeem itself at the bargaining table.

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