Wednesday, November 27, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What the new Rogers-NHL deal means for the CBC
National broadcaster to earn no revenue from hockey

The CBC is in trouble. It is losing all of its hockey revenue – but keeping about 320 hours a year of hockey, including Hockey Night in Canada – under the NHL’s new Canadian broadcast rights deal.

Rogers is making big moves to control ever more Canadian media and the announcement on Tuesday that they’re essentially taking over hockey rights across Canada is an enormous move.

Losing hockey is a big deal for the CBC. They’ll keep Hockey Night in Canada for four years on a sub-contract from Rogers, but they don’t own the content anymore. They will not even get the advertising revenue from the broadcasts. They also will not pay for the rights to the games. All that falls to Rogers.

CBC President and CEO Hubert Lacroix acknowledged that the next season of Hockey Night in Canada will be very different.

“Starting next year, Rogers will assume all editorial control (all editorial decisions with respect to the content, on-air talent and the creative direction of HNIC – we have the right to be consulted and there is a commitment to excellence) under the new agreement,” he wrote to CBC staff in an internal memo.

“While this deal will result in job losses, the staffing impact would have been much greater had we lost hockey entirely, as CBC is still producing hockey. Preserving HNIC also allows CBC to maintain a capacity to execute a sports strategy and fulfil lits existing contractual obligations (i.e. Olympics, Pan-Am, FIFA),” he continued.

Lacroix was unclear on which jobs, and how many, would be cut as a result of this deal.

Later, in a press conference with Rogers, Lacroix tried to remain positive but had little to add.

“Rogers takes on all of the revenues from all of the properties. We have no costs that come with that. We don’t pay any broadcasting rights,” he said. “Our friends at Rogers pick up all of the revenue.”

Asked what CBC gains from the deal, he said the CBC has maintained the right “to promote some of our programs through the iconic Hockey Night in Canada.”

That was it. Rogers refused to comment on any specifics of Don Cherry’s future. ()