Monday night reports emerged the NHL reached a landmark deal with Rogers Sportsnet for Canadian TV rights to the league. The details are even more revolutionary - instead of the odds on favorite of splitting the rights between CBC, TSN, and Sportsnet, the NHL agreed to a 12 year $5.2 billion dollar deal solely with Rogers. The network will sublicense Hockey Night in Canada back to CBC, but in another unique step Rogers will maintain editorial control over the CBC broadcasts. It completely changes the Canadian sports media landscape and is the biggest deal in NHL history.
Earlier today, our Steve Lepore talked with NHL COO John Collins about the inner workings of the deal, how it came about, and what it means for hockey fans in Canada and the United States.
Steve Lepore: There were rumors leading up to this announcement that the league would go with three different networks from three different companies. Why did you decide to go with one company (Rogers) spreading things out over multiple networks?
John Collins: The way we went about it, particularly since the NHL is the No. 1 content in Canada, would be to try to create a bit of an auction around individual packages, like Hockey Night, possibly adding Sunday night and see how many bidders you can get going.
One of the things that's different about the Canadian distribution landscape than the U.S. is that content owners don't really necessarily have the ability to create [revenue]. Content is king, but it doesn't mean that you get paid necessarily for that content. They have pretty broad government oversight by the CRTC.no comments