The television deal that rocked Canada is still sending shockwaves through that nation's sports TV landscape. TSN continues to acquire properties and keep talent in response to Rogers' insane NHL deal. However, Rogers is starting to give us a peak at what their NHL experience will look like, and it seems like they're looking to bring more NHL hockey to Canada than ever before. And it's not like they were lacking in coverage before.
Sportsnet announced to the press what their coverage will look like on Tuesday, and it is ceratinly... all-encompassing. Let's take a look at things night-by-night and show you what the Rogers consortium is going to do.
Saturday (Hockey Night in Canada)
Saturdays will, in fact, remain under the HNIC brand. It will, as has been hinted in the past, look very different. Regardless of whether games feature Canadian teams or not, Rogers will air up to five games on Saturdays at 7 p.m. ET and one or two at 10 p.m. ET, with the occasional matinee.
Games will air across seven networks in English: CBC, City, Sportsnet (which includes their regional stations), Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet 360 and FX Canada. TVA, TVA Sports and TVA Sports 2 will broadcast games in French, while the Sportsnet Radio Network will also be a part of HNIC. 130 games will air on Saturday nights alone. To give you an idea of how much hockey that is, NBC and NBCSN combined to air 102 games this season.
A spokesperson for Rogers told Awful Announcing that Hockey Day in Canada will also be back in the new deal.
Sunday (Hometown Hockey)
This was the big package the NHL wanted to create within the new contract. They wanted the NHL's version of Sunday Night Football in Canada and they got it. Broadcast network CityTV will get the package of Sunday games at 7 p.m. ET, which will always feature at least one Canadian team.
The package will be used to showcase the grassroots nature of hockey and will be broadcast from a different community rink from across Canada. There will also be profiles produced on NHL players and their hometowns. Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE will also televise games as part of the package, which will feature the occasional doubleheader.
Wednesdays (NHL on Sportsnet)
This will replace TSN's Wednesday Night Hockey, essentially, and sets up Wednesday as a very light hockey night with very big matchups. Both Rogers and NBC's Wednesday Night Rivalry want to make it so that they have exclusivity on Wednesdays with no other games taking place. The NHL has granted this, so if you don't like the Wednesday game in your country for the next dozen years, you may need something else to do.
The interesting aspect of the deal is that Sportsnet ONE will also get access to the Wednesday Night Rivalry game over on NBCSN while the Sportsnet game is airing simultaneously. There will also be occasional doubleheaders in this package.
Sportsnet 360 will have a regular Thursday night game that will be US vs. US, or "star-on-star" as Scott Moore explained to me a little while back. Rogers also has digital and radio rights, and their ancillary programming will increase throughout the deal. This will be a lot of hockey. It'll be fun to watch Sportsnet try and match the bar they set for themselves.
What of digital properties? Will regional blackouts be eliminated, as was suggested in the initial press release?
What about Leafs games? Still mostly on Leafs TV, still going to have to get Center Ice? This seems like we get a few more games on Sat and maybe Sunday...I don't see a big difference here? TSN won't be showing as many games and Sportsnet will show their share + a few more? I want to see the Leafs play, will they still show this on Sportsnet Ontario with blackouts if you don't have center ice? Blackouts shouldn't even exist. If this is the case, we're getting a few more games on what I think is a sub-par org compared to TSNs coverage.
While I agree with what you are saying. Let's be honest, the Leafs will be on just about every Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday.