Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: rogers
After 2 days talking to Rogers employees about Ron MacLean and other changes coming (on Monday, they think) one thing was loud and clear.
In hockey dept., morale could not be any worse. I knew it wasn't great but depth of despair among some surprised me. They expect the worst.
-via David Shoalts tweets.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Of all the headaches the NHL broadcast contract has given Rogers Media, one stands out: the constant stream of complaints from viewers.
On Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media, along with the comments following online stories, the majority of gripes fall into two broad categories. The first can be summed up as get rid of Hockey Night In Canada host George Stroumboulopoulos and bring back his predecessor, Ron MacLean. The second is hate for the new look and new faces Rogers brought to the broadcasts, with the bulk of the complaints about Hockey Night, which was a CBC institution for 62 years.
The belly-aching makes some Hockey Night staffers, who go back to the days when the CBC produced the show, shake their heads. They find the non-stop complaining ironic, considering that in the final CBC years, which ended in 2014, viewers complained a lot about that version of Hockey Night on the same forums.
“We were under siege,” is the way one veteran Hockey Night staffer describes the complaints about the show that hit the CBC. Another long-time employee says the criticism was not as intense as that being fired at Rogers: “There was complaining, sure, but not like this.”
from Raju Mudhar of the Toronto Star,
The final numbers on the season’s ratings are still being tallied, but as the playoff schedule is announced, Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL properties at Rogers, had a chat about the year that was and what changes might come.
(This Q &A has been condensed and edited for clarity.)
Q: What is the impact of having no Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs?
A: First, let's look at it as if the glass is half full. This is an opportunity for us to take a slightly different approach to the NHL playoffs. I think viewers will notice us taking a broader view of the tournament. There are no shortages of storylines, and some of them will catch fire.
Will it be the same as having Canadian teams in the playoffs? No, it's never the same when you don't have home rooting interests. The last time there were no Canadian teams was in 1970, and there weren't seven Canadian NHL teams then, so this has really never happened.
I don't expect it happening again during the course of this (12-year) deal. At least I certainly hope not. It's something that we couldn't have expected and it's difficult to explain to our corporate bosses who are not as familiar with hockey and sports as we are.
Q: There are rumours that the poor performance might lead to more job cuts.
A: We announced in January that we were looking at a number of job cuts across all the media divisions. That was due to a number of factors, including the same challenges that other media companies are facing. We have not completed that and there still are some adjustments to be made. We don't know what those are, but those will be completed sometime early in the summer.
from Kevin McGran of Sportsnet,
“This is a historically bad year for Canadian team performance in the NHL,” said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL properties at Rogers. “It’s clearly affecting our ratings this year, which has an impact on our revenue. But we can’t overreact to that.”
The 7 p.m. game on Hockey Night In Canada is averaging 1.66 million viewers, down 16 per cent from last year. That’s on top of another 16 per cent drop from 2013-14.
The Leafs, once good for about 700,000 viewers mid-week on a regional or local broadcast, are treading water lately between 300,000 and 400,000. They have averaged 411,700 on Sportsnet, down 23 per cent.
“They lost money last year, and they’ll lose this year,” said Brian Cooper, the president and chief executive of S&E Sponsorship Group. “This is a long-term play for Rogers. It’s going to be in years 5, 6, 7, 8 that you’ll see the investment paying off. But they’ll take a hit this year.”
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
While NHL TV ratings are down across the board on average for Rogers for the first seven weeks this season, as expected the worst news concerns the Maple Leafs, the team that drives the numbers because it is in the largest broadcast market in Canada.
The combined ratings for the Leafs on all the Rogers-connected networks that carry them, CBC, Sportsnet and City, are down 30 per cent from Oct. 7 through Nov. 21 according to Numeris, the only company in Canada that compiles broadcast ratings.
In 16 games carried on the CBC, Sportsnet or City networks, the average audience for Leafs games was 863,825 viewers, down from 1,226,264 in the same period last year, when 14 games were shown. The difference is that in the first seven weeks of the 2014-15 season, the Leafs were still a playoff contender, unlike this season when they are in rebuilding mode and in last place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division by Thursday night.
The drop in viewership also means a corresponding dip in advertising revenue for Rogers, which gambled heavily on NHL hockey by grabbing the league’s Canadian national broadcast rights in 2014 for $5.2-billion over 12 years.
from James Bradshaw and Christine Dobby of the Globe and Mail,
Ever since Rogers Communications Inc. sealed a deal to grab a near-monopoly on hockey broadcasting in Canada for 12 years, questions have lingered about whether it could squeeze enough value from the precious NHL rights to make its $5.2-billion gamble pay off.
Now, as the deal’s first season enters its final games, the company’s chief executive officer says it made money on the inaugural campaign, and expects a reasonable return over the life of the contract despite the hefty price tag.
“Categorically, we will make a 10-per-cent margin this year and the deal has been profitable for us,” CEO Guy Laurence said in a lengthy interview this week. “And given it’s our first year and we’ve learned a lot and all the rest of it, I don’t see why it won’t be profitable ongoing.”
Rogers’ expansion of the number of games on national television, as well as experimentation with new mobile platforms and camera angles, have driven its Sportsnet network to the best ratings in its 17-year history. And the number of Canadians who tuned in to a game on TV or online is up 2 per cent to 28.8 million.
But there is still much work to do to boost audiences and attract new hockey fans to the fold.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
From the first week of December through the NHL all-star break last weekend, the early Eastern games on Saturday nights on the CBC and the Rogers networks had an average audience of 1.696 million, down 6 per cent from the same period a year ago when the games were only on the CBC and drew an average audience of 1.803 million. A lot of this can be blamed on the dismal performance of the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose audiences drive the ratings more than any other team.
Things are worse for the Western games, as the average audience from December through January was 765,000, a 19-per-cent decline from the previous year. And audiences in the most prized demographic for advertisers, ages 25 to 54, are down 25 per cent compared to 2013-14.
Another big event did not go well for Rogers, as the audience for the Winter Classic outdoor game between the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 1 drew just over 1 million viewers, down almost 2.6 million from the 2014 game, which had 3.6 million viewers. However, that was understandable because the 2014 game featured the Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings.
Since Rogers budgeted for a 20-per-cent increase in viewers this season and went to advertisers with a similar increase in rates, the declines are continuing bad news.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Rogers Communications Inc. is off to a slow start in the quest to win its $5.2-billion gamble on NHL hockey.
After eight weeks, the ratings results for NHL games on Rogers’ various networks plus the CBC are mixed compared to last year – up slightly for the Eastern games on Saturday nights, down significantly for the Western games on Saturday, up nicely on Wednesdays and disappointing on Sundays.
According to the ratings compiled by Numeris, the primary audience measurement company in Canada, the average audience for Hockey Night In Canada’s Eastern games on Saturday nights through Nov. 22 was 2,184,000 people. That is an increase of 17,000 viewers from the same period in 2013, which is 1 per cent. The average audience for the later Western games on Saturdays was 860,000, down 17 per cent from 1,032,000 last year.
via the CP at CBC,
Two of Canada's largest sports broadcasters are facing off over whose customers get free access to exclusive NHL content.
Bell TV says that the GamePlus mobile app should be made available for free to all NHL GameCentre Live subscribers, not just those who are customers of Rogers Communications.
Bell makes the demand in a filing to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
The owner of TSN and other businesses that compete with Rogers says that CRTC rules prohibit its Toronto-based rival from giving its own customers preferential access to the GamePlus mobile app.
Bell argues that GamePlus is being made exclusively available to Rogers mobile and home Internet customers, providing them with features such as on-ice camera angles from NHL hockey games broadcast under a 12-year agreement.
Rogers has until Nov. 20 to respond formally to the complaint.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Ron MacLean has been frozen out of the new version of Hockey Night In Canada. Literally.
While George Stroumboulopoulos will sit in the studio chair and take the starring role that once was his – ringmaster of the most popular show on Canadian television – MacLean will be looking in from the outside on Sunday nights. And even he admits his fractious relationship with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, which saw Bettman boycott Hockey Night after one particularly contentious interview in 2010, might have something to do with it....
But as the conversation continued – and the topic turned to the belief among his broadcasting colleagues that MacLean’s on-air clashes with Bettman played no small role in his reduced role – there were hints MacLean may not be quite as sanguine about the change as it seems. MacLean and Bettman usually butted heads over labour-management issues in the NHL. MacLean consistently took the players’ side during interviews because, he said, he firmly believed the league was better off with a strong NHL Players’ Association.
“Maybe that hurt me but I would gladly fall on my sword for that principle,” MacLean said. “But I don’t know that it had anything to do with [a reduced role]. It could have.”
Fifty-one days and counting until the Toronto Maple Leafs hit the ice for the 2014-15 season, and Sportsnet and Rogers are giving fans more games and access to their beloved team with 56 games on television and 41 games on radio on Sportsnet 590 The FAN. The action gets underway onSportsnet and Sportsnet 590 The FAN at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 8 – opening night of the NHL regular season – with the Maple Leafs hosting the Montreal Canadiens. (See full broadcast schedule below).
On TV – Regional
Sportsnet’s regional television broadcast schedule kicks off on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet Ontario as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings.
All 16 regional Maple Leafs television broadcasts will air on Sportsnet Ontario. Veteran broadcaster Paul Romanuk makes his Sportsnet debut, calling play-by-play for all of the Toronto regional broadcasts alongside analyst Greg Millen.
continued including some of the pre and post game shows...
added 3:53pm, from Bell Media,
TSN is set to deliver more Toronto Maple Leafs games than ever before, as the network broadcasts 26 Leafs games in 2014-15, up from 17 Leafs games last season. TSN’s package of 26 Leafs games will air on TSN4 – part of TSN’s new expanded lineup of five national feeds branded TSN1, TSN2, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 that debut on Monday, August 25.
To access Leafs games on TSN4, fans must live in the Leafs’ designated broadcast region. TSN subscribers with participating television service providers in the Leafs’ broadcast region will receive TSN4.
According to the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts, Rogers Communications is worrying that it overpaid for its Canadian TV-and-internet rights package, but the NHL discovered that the first payment from Rogers and strong performances by the outdoor games held this past season yielded an extra $150 million in revenue for the league:
Thanks to another run of prosperity after the NHL settled its labour problems 18 months ago, [NHL commissioner Gary] Bettman was able to tell the owners there will be a little extra in their piggy banks for the coming season. Each of the 30 teams will get an unexpected $5-million (all currency U.S.) thanks to the success of the league’s Stadium Series and the first payment by Rogers Communications Inc., on its $5.2-billion, 12-year broadcast deal. That is a total of $150-million in cheques mailed out this summer.
The Stadium Series was the four outdoor games played last season in addition to the existing Winter Classic and Heritage Classic. They were added for a revenue boost following the 2012-13 lockout and paid off nicely for the NHL despite fears the league was flirting with killing the golden goose.
Shoalts continues and explains how these revenues will effect the NHLPA going forward (as you already know, the NHLPA chose to accept a $69 million salary cap instead of pushing for a $70-71 million cap to minimize escrow withholdings after surrendering significant portions of their paychecks to the league during the 2013 and 13-14 seasons):
Rogers, Canada’s new home for hockey, today unveiled its 2014-15 NHL national broadcast schedule, delivering double the number of games on free over-the-air TV and twice as many Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night games than ever before for Canadians.
Rogers’ marquee national broadcast schedule showcases an abundance of premium Canadian matchups and all of the marquee events of the season, including the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game and the favourite Canadian tradition: Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.
In addition to the more than 200 national games unveiled today, Rogers will announce its remaining national and regional broadcast schedules in the coming weeks. In total, Rogers will deliver 350 national regular season games across nine networks, including CBC, City, Sportsnet (East, Ontario, West, and Pacific), Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet 360 and FX Canada.
“The NHL delivered what we believe to be a best-in-class broadcast schedule,” said Scott Moore, President of NHL & Sportsnet, Rogers. “This schedule is a hockey fan’s dream – the biggest names, classic rivalries, more games on more nights, and more ways to watch. We are looking forward to providing Canadians with the best seat in the house every week of the NHL season.”
from a press release at Sportsnet,
Rogers today announced the two newest members of its NHL broadcast team, who will be part of delivering NHL national coverage across all Rogers properties, as well as Hockey Night in Canada, starting this fall. Elliotte Friedman and Scott Oake will be joining the NHL broadcast team at Rogers, as announced today on Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The FAN and Sportsnet 360.
Friedman, continuing in his role as an insider and reporter, makes his Sportsnet TV debut on July 1 during Signing Season, a special seven-hour NHL Free Agency special starting at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT on Sportsnet 360.
Scott Oake will continue to appear on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday, as well as across NHL national broadcasts on Rogers as a reporter, starting this fall.
added 6:06pm, Both gentlemen talk about the news, watch below...
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
Rogers has a big hockey job ahead of it, led by Messrs. Pelley, Scott Moore and Gord Cutler, but these are people who have taken on big jobs like this before and succeeded. They have vast experience in hockey and broadcasting all sports. Plans have been announced for a monster studio down in the CBC building on Front St., and decisions are being made with personnel that will be announced in the very near future.
Don Cherry and Ron Maclean are going to be back, it has already been announced. Other key people at both CBC and Rogers will be involved, and some other names from other news organizations will be part of the new organization. A few TSN behind-the-camera folks have switched sides.
So there will be lots of new stuff, and some familiar, experienced faces as well, with an emphasis on creating a new storytelling effort for hockey in Canada that goes beyond trade rumours and panel discussions.
We'll see how it goes. Those of us involved in the project know there will be early criticism next fall no matter what - heck, it's already started before a single light has been turned on - and that's part of how things work. Those with a stake in this will wax poetically about how good things used to be while pretending to be neutral.
Rogers will do some things very well right away, and some things will take time, just as TSN did some things very well, and wasn't as strong in other areas. Sports broadcasting can't be about perfection because perfection lies in the eye of the beholder.
from the CP at The Hockey News,
Who was the big winner in Rogers' shakeup earlier this week of "Hockey Night in Canada"?
Some might conclude it was George Stroumboulopoulos. Indeed, the 41-year-old CBC talk show host and former MuchMusic VJ has been handed what is arguably the best on-air TV job in Canada—host of "Hockey Night in Canada." The iconic TV franchise is so ingrained in Canadian culture it is right up there with the Mounties and the Maple Leaf.
Those feeling sorry for departing host Ron MacLean, however, can put off the pity party. By this time next year, MacLean may be seen as the big winner.
MacLean has been offered about as sweet an after-deal as just about anybody departing a top job could hope for—the chance to be a key part of a whole new night of a famous sports franchise. It's a bit like being asked to go from "Monday Night Football" to "Sunday Night Football," a U.S. transition where the new night now routinely outdraws the original Monday showcase.
Scott Moore, President of Sportsnet, introduces the new hockey team at a press conference today...
from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,
The owner of the voice that just sounds like hockey waits for a telephone call that may never come.
A courtesy call, maybe. A welcoming call. A call out of sheer respect for who he is and what he’s done. Something from his old bosses, his current bosses, maybe the new people who are taking over.
Something to let Bob Cole know anything about today and tomorrow in a broadcast world still swirling from the $5.2-billion Rogers deal that knocked so many people, so many networks, for a loop.
“No one has called me,” said Cole, the voice of Saturday night for so many of our lives, talking on the telephone. “I thought somebody might call, tell me something, say hello, you know...
“Everybody is telling me how I’m supposed to feel about this — ‘Are you upset about this? What does it mean for you?’
from Gerrit De Vynck of Bloomberg,
Rogers Communications Inc. deal to lock up exclusive rights to broadcast hockey, Canada’s favorite sport, is likely to make the government reconsider the way it regulates TV programming, said Moody’s Investors Service.
The C$5.2 billion ($4.9 billion), 12-year agreement makes Rogers the sole distributor of National Hockey League games in Canada beginning in 2014. Rogers may distribute some content only to its subscribers, giving the government pause about the effect on hockey-hungry consumers, Moody’s said.
“Despite the Canadian government’s support of free markets, should Rogers’ plan adversely affect consumers, regulators will respond,” Moody’s analyst Bill Wolfe said in the report published today.
from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,
My first concern was that the 12-year, $5.2-billion deal would spell the death of Hockey Night in Canada and eventual doom for the CBC — concerns that were much allayed after I read Brendan Kelly’s interview with former Montrealer (and dedicated Habs fan) Scott Moore, president of broadcasting for Rogers.
In one sense, Moore’s task should be easy. He has to sell hockey to Canadians, in a country where 98.2 per cent of the folks over age 10 are hockey fans and 95.7 per cent of those are in need of a good 12-step program. And although we like to think of ourselves as a hockey nation, we’re really a nation that watches hockey on TV. On a busy Saturday night, there might be 100,000 people in NHL arenas across the country, but millions watch on television.
The hard part for Moore will be to sort out the mess that is Hockey Night in Canada — and Saturday night’s HNIC telecast of the 4-2 Canadiens win over the Toronto Maple Leafs should give him plenty of food for thought.
First, we had Don Cherry (whose career has been one extended money grab, raking it in with his Rock ’Em, Sock ’Em videos without paying the guys who do the actual fighting a cent) accusing the players who filed a concussion lawsuit against the NHL of a money grab. Roughly three days after I defended Cherry for the one and only time, he made me regret my words.
Cherry is an out-and-out Leafs fan, but if the rest of the broadcast offers some balance, you can ignore Cherry. Saturday night (hush, people), the play-by-play and the commentary from Jim Hughson, Craig Simpson and Garry Galley were fine, as they usually are. They pointed out what the Habs did right and the Leafs did wrong.
It was when we got to the Hotstove that the telecast ran off the rails.
from the CP at The Hockey News,
The 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement announced this week gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games and will see the beloved broadcast shift to the telecommunication giant's multiple platforms, including City and Sportsnet.
Such a radical transformation—from must-see "appointment" viewing to "hockey a la carte"—could call for a shake-up when it comes to on-air talent, including the man many consider the face of "Hockey Night in Canada," said David Kincaid, managing partner and CEO of the Toronto-based Level 5 Strategy Group.
No company invests billions of dollars in a brand only to leave it as it is, said Kincaid, who helped Labatt Breweries wrest sponsorship rights to the NHL from Molson-Coors in the 1990s.
"If they want to say it's the fresh new face of hockey, available across all these different mediums and all this different type of integrated content, if a certain personality is seen as an on-air television commentator, it's off strategy," he said.
"If the equity of their brand is only television, and you're creating content to go across multiple platforms, I kind of want a new spokesperson that travels across all the platforms or a whole range of spokespeople."
more and Cherry has mentioned he will discuss his future on Coach's Corner tomorrow night.