Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 11/26/13 at 01:25 AM ET
The Globe and Mail's Steve Ladurantaye reports the following regarding the NHL's Canadian TV rights...
The National Hockey League is close to a deal that will keep Hockey Night in Canada on CBC for the next decade, but the exclusive rights won’t come cheaply for the cash-strapped public broadcaster.
The deal would be part of a wide-ranging agreement that ensures Saturday night and Stanley Cup Finals broadcasts remain key components of CBC’s programming, but would see broadcasting rivals Bell Media and Rogers Media bulk up their schedules with more playoff games. One of the competitors – likely Rogers – will also score the rights to an exclusive Canadian game on Sunday nights.
CBC is expected to pay up to $200-million a year, almost double its current fee, to keep Hockey Night in Canada, sources said. President Hubert Lacroix hinted at the end of the broadcaster’s annual public meeting last month that a deal was imminent, and sources said it could be wrapped up in the next two weeks.
CBC had exclusive negotiating rights through the summer, but found itself at a busy negotiating table through the fall as the NHL tried to take advantage of the other broadcasters’ interest. Striking a deal soon would eliminate a major distraction, and allow it to focus on coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, which begin in 73 days.
Neither the league nor the broadcasters would comment on the negotiations, which could also result in the All-Star Game moving from CBC to TSN. But the Canadian deals come as the league enjoys a surge of popularity following a labour dispute that saw half of last season cancelled; the NHL signed a 10-year rights contract with the U.S. network NBC in 2011.
“The NHL is the premiere television property in the country,” said Gord Hendren, president of Charlton Strategic Research, which tracks sports trends. “And that’s largely because of the audience it can draw on Saturday night. Something like the Grey Cup may draw more individually but, night-in and night-out, the NHL delivers that audience.”
And as he continues, the Sporting News's Sean Gentile noted that a certain TSN's Bob McKenzie posited something that echoed SportsBusiness Journal's Christopher Botta's ear-to-the-ground reporting about the NHL's Canadian TV broadcasting rights as posited earlier on Monday:
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