NHL To Sign Mega Broadcast Deal with CBC and Sportsnet, TSN Frozen Out Nationally


News breaking that the NHL has agreed to a mega 12-year contract with CBC and Sportsnet for exclusive national coverage of the games in Canada.  The deal will mean that Hockey Night in Canada will continue on the nation’s national public broadcaster, while the cable rights will flip from TSN to Sportsnet.  The deal is rumored to be worth $5.2 billion, and is expected to be announced by the league on Tuesday.

Bob McKenzie, ironically of TSN, broke the news Monday.

Pains me to report this, but NHL closing in on landmark CDN TV deal with two CDN networks. Many years (10+), many billions. #overandout

Official announcement expected Tuesday by NHL: CBC and Rogers have exclusive English-language NHL rights deal. Believed to be 12 year deal.


It is rumored that there will be some changes with the CBC having slightly less playoff games (though retaining their priority rights for 2 Canadian series per round and the Full Stanley Cup Final) but with Sportsnet getting the NHL All-Star Game, and a weekly Sunday night game featuring a Canadian Team.

Sportsnet will also be broadcasting Saturday Night games head to head with the CBC on their other Sportsnet channels, meaning that Canadians could have multiple games to choose from.  They will also gain editorial control over CBC content, which means that Sportsnet will be essentially producing the games and will get to control what announcers and talent are assigned to which games.

Its hard to say what is bigger news the continuing of the 61-year relationship between the NHL and Hockey Night in Canada and the changes that program will go through now under Sportsnet control, or the loss of TSN as a national broadcaster for mid-week games.  Many, this writer included, felt that TSN was the highest quality hockey broadcast out there today.


The question also looms as to what will become of all the talent that TSN has amassed (both on-air and off-air) in covering the NHL.  Thats actually a pretty good question, and the answer probably lies in figuring out where TSN goes from here.  Do they allow some of that high priced talent to leave to the other networks? or do they keep up some hockey coverage?

Lets remember that the deal does not change any of  the NHL regional rights, something that has been a big part of Sportsnet since they lost national coverage to TSN what seems like a lifetime ago, and this is where Sportsnet have been utilizing their hockey production and broadcasting staff.  While TSN has regional rights to the Montreal Canadiens, and Winnipeg Jets games, we might see  that after this blow they may go hard after regional rights on the remaining 5 Canadian Teams as those become available.  Of course they will only be able to show those games regionally (as Sportsnet does now) and not Nationally, but they will still need people to put the broadcast out there.

TSN also has a well established relationship with Hockey Canada including the rights to the World Juniors, the Under 18s, and the IIHF World Championships.

Sportsnet has also made the CHL part of their broadcast schedule.  Will TSN, with two networks and plenty of broadcast hours to fill, go after these rights?

Or do they go all in on the NBA?


Update: It would appear that TVA Sports has gotten the French language national rights, meaning that RDS’ hockey package (currently over 200 games) will be drastically reduced.  Included in the deal are 22 Montreal Canadiens games and all playoff games.

RDS has had exclusive Canadiens’ and playoff coverage for several years.

The remaining 60 French Language Canadiens regional broadcasts, and the English Language broadcasts are up for bid this year.  While TSN’s Winnipeg Jets deal was originally an 8-year deal and has five years remaining after this year.

In other words this is a disaster for the media side at Bell Canada.


Update: TSN has also added regional Leaf coverage, with 10 games next season and 26 per year after that.  They have already started the contingency planning.


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