What the Rogers NHL TV Deal Means to Me

What the Rogers NHL TV Deal Means to MeThe other day, while I was watching the Leafs game, the broadcast experienced an issue with their audio mix. The sound of the game remained loud, but those in the booth became quite muted. For a glorious five minutes I watched the game only hearing the crowd, the players and sounds of the game, like the blade along the ice and the puck along the boards.

It was great. The best hockey commentators and analysts know when to shut up, and they don't do it nearly often enough. I don't need them to fill up every second with words, sometimes I just want to hear the game and see the action for myself.

I watch every Leafs game possible, and as much NHL playoff hockey as I can find. Rogers Communications securing a $5.2-billion deal for the right to broadcast NHL games across Canada for the next 12 years doesn't bother me, so long as they provide me with a live HD feed and put quality hockey people on the broadcast.

It's no secret my favourite Hockey Night in Canada games feature Bob Cole calling the action, and that rarely happens these days. It's usually Jim Hughson, who I can take or leave. I'm there to watch the game and just hope whoever is calling the action isn't particularly annoying.

And that's it. I just want to watch my Leafs and the playoffs, ideally my Leafs in the playoffs. Whether it's on CBC, TSN, Sportsnet or Leafs TV makes little difference to me. We got over losing the old HNIC theme song and we'll get over this.

After all, it's all about what the content is, not where it can be found.


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Comments (39 - click here to join in!)

@OldSouthKyle

I agree that this deal is hood, I am particularly happy with the end of broadcast blackouts. However, being a Detroit Red Wings fan, does this deal mean the end of the out of market games sometimes shown on TSN2? I haven't been able to find any answers to this just yet. Does the Rogers deal mean all games played in Canada, or all games on TV in Canada?


November 27, 2013 @ 9:26 AM

Irv

Content?

Yes Mike, that might be the case on Day 1, but it won't be on Day 1000. As soon as the luster wears off, Rogers will start what Rogers always does; cutting costs. Look at what happened to CITY TV & especially CityPulse. The station was arguably the same for 20 years. Rogers walked in & within 5 years it wasn't recognizable & not for the better.

The high paid staff will slowly get the axe or walk out the door. They'll be replaced by cheaper, junior staff who will work for long hours & low pay. The mid term result will be a hockey telecase that resembles something the Hartford Whalers would have had in the 70's.

Whether or not you like the CBC & HNIC, it's the most superior hockey telecast in the world (and I'm not a hockey fan). Networks from all over the world come to study how they do it. The days of that quality have a shelf life so enjoy what you can now.

And Rogers WILL do it. Why? Because you the hockey fan will continue to show up as a "viewer" and they'll make money. and when you get cranky at the game, just head down to Speakers Corner & vent.....oh wait...

November 27, 2013 @ 9:31 AM

519 Rob

I'm a little bummed by this.
I have never been impressed with Rogers/Sportsnets NHL production. Millard, Kypreos and McLean are nowhere near as good as Duthie, McKenzie, and who ever else they have.
And I really hope that Chris Cuthbert ends up at Rogers too.

I guess the only bit of good news is since I am more and more turned off of hockey as I get older (sick of the 'thuggery'), I probably won't watch much anyways.

November 27, 2013 @ 9:34 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

That's my point. I watch (and enjoy for the most part) all Leafs games, whether they're on CBC, TSN, Sportsnet or Leafs TV. I'm there for the content, which is an HD feed of the live on-ice action.

I'd show up for that if they stuck it on CTS or OMNI.

November 27, 2013 @ 9:34 AM

Andrew

@torontomike

Some of my best work had been without announcers. Let it breathe man, let it breathe!
My phone was a flurry of activity all day and I'm not really sure what to expect. Could be more work for 'us' - could be less. We will find out soon.

@oldsouth

Rogers has the rights to broadcast non Canadian teams in the Canadian market just like TSN does with TSN2. So don't be surprised to see the NBCSports nations, game on a Rogers channel next season.

Cheers,
Andrew

November 27, 2013 @ 9:35 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Andrew

Letting it breathe is the best... it's especially effective in baseball, IMHO.

November 27, 2013 @ 9:54 AM

Argie

"For a glorious five minutes I watched the game only hearing the crowd, the players and sounds of the game, like the blade along the ice and the puck along the boards."

I love that too but the problem with Cole is that he would never do that. He still thinks its 1955 and he's calling games for radio. He tells you every action the players are doing. He just sucks, dammit.

November 27, 2013 @ 9:56 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Argie

Haha, fair enough, but if a voice has to be nattering on, please let it be that glorious cadence of Bob Cole.

November 27, 2013 @ 9:57 AM

Argie

"Letting it breathe is the best... it's especially effective in baseball, IMHO."

...and sex.

November 27, 2013 @ 9:57 AM

Gary

I can't think of a situation where someone is given a monopoly like Rogers just got, and it has worked out well for the consumer. The ultra-rich were just handed a monopoly. Remember when Bell had a monopoly on home phones? How was that for the consumer?

November 27, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

Rick2

I do not like this deal. I do not like Rogers, because they overcharge for everything, and give you the bare minimum in return. They scored with this one - they can put out the shitiest telecast, and people will watch. One thing I've learned about Rogers, is that they care about profits, and once they have that, they don't give a shit about you.

November 27, 2013 @ 10:41 AM

Corey

If I look at the deal solely from a personal perspective, then I completely agree with Mike. I've mentioned on here before that the only reason I haven't cut the cord from Bell TV is because of live sports. Although I hate spending the cash every month, I can afford it, so I get to watch the Leafs, the Argos and the Jays wherever they're being broadcast. I couldn't care less who the talking heads are between breaks in the game.

If I take a less urban-centric (i.e.: GTA resident) perspective though, I actually feel bad about the deal. There are a lot of families out there that either can't receive the speciality channels, or can't afford them. Four years from now, when CBC is completely out of the picture, those families are just out of luck.

Deals like this, based only on greed, is just another "fuck you, little guy", continuing a trend that contributes to this "disenfranchised" malaise we keep hearing about. You might say, "It's just a hockey game", but when they keep taking even the small pleasures away from people, they're only widening the gap between the frustrated lower-incomes and the rest. We're following the US model for this stuff more and more - that's not always the best way to go.

November 27, 2013 @ 10:50 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Rick2

Your points about Rogers are valid, but they'd be just as valid if we were talking about Bell. Bell only cares about profits and "overcharge for everything and give you the bare minimum in return".

And the fact is, the CBC was priced out of this deal... imagine the outcry if the CBC had sealed this deal for $5.2 billion using public money...

So if the NHL wanted a single gateway, there are only so many options in this country.

November 27, 2013 @ 10:53 AM

Banger

Lorne had a script for blocking comments from certain people. I wish I knew how to do that for Irv's comments.

For Christmas I'd just like Irv to join Dave Williams in the banned commenters section.

November 27, 2013 @ 10:55 AM

Mr. Beach

Well, Rogers thought they could charge ridiculous prices for tickets to the Bills in Toronto and had to lower them when they didn't sell enough.

It's likely when this deal comes on board the prices will be too high and not as many people will sign up for the full package (which is the only way it will be offered at first) - pretty much Center Ice with no blackouts, so, $250.00 a season? $300.00?

Maybe we'll get a deal on just Leafs games, $199.00 a season but we can watch them on any device.

This will really test just how popular hockey really is in Canada going forward. My kids can't be the only ones with no interest in it...

November 27, 2013 @ 10:56 AM

Al Reda

@Corey

The Grey Cup is only on TSN so those without cable are already out in the cold.

And at least Saturday night games will still be on CBC even if the content is controlled by Rogers.

November 27, 2013 @ 10:57 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mr. Beach

My prediction is that a local guy like me who just wants to watch every Leaf game and the playoffs will be able to do so without buying an additional package. They'll all be on Sportsnet or CBC or maybe TSN / Leafs TV, just like today...

November 27, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

Corey

@Al Reda -

Re: Grey Cup. Exactly - it's not available to everyone in the country to watch. It still gets tremendous ratings on TSN, but when you're excluding a certain percentage of the population from seeing it, it just feels wrong. Now they'll be doing that with hockey. I don't have any confidence that when the "deal" ends with the CBC in four years, Rogers will renew it. I see this more as a transitional, pat-on-the-head from Rogers to CBC, and they'll happily slam the door when the 4 years are up.

November 27, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

Cheryl

Is this going to affect Internet radio? I hope not. I love my Habs announcers, John Bartlet and Sergio Memeso. I hope I'll still be able to get them as well as bob Hihouse from the Phoenix Coyotes. I listen with Internet radio. I need announcers. I am blind. I can't see the game.

November 27, 2013 @ 11:29 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Cheryl

"Letting it breathe" doesn't work nearly as well on the radio...

November 27, 2013 @ 11:29 AM

Andrew

@ cheryl,

Nope… TSN owns the regional rights to Habs games for TV and radio. The only way that would change would be for the Canadienes to cancel their deal with TSN and switch to TVA Sport as they own the French language rights and can negotiate their own deals.

You should be all good.

Cheers,
Andrew

November 27, 2013 @ 11:35 AM

Argie

@Andrew
Are you sure of that? I have in fact read the fine print of the deal and it specifically states that all NHL games will be shown on Rogers however, except those games involving the Habs will not be shown, nor broadcast via radio anywhere! They're doing this as service to Canadians who really couldn't give a crap about the Habs and their annoying fans. For that, I say thank-you, Rogers!

November 27, 2013 @ 11:41 AM

Stephen

I know I am in the minority because I don't have cable (use a digital antena to get 15 stations-incl CBC) I am not looking forward to this. Hopefully I will still be able to veiew the Saturday game & playoffs. First the grey cup was taken from CBC and taken off the regular stations, now it will eventually be hockey.

November 27, 2013 @ 11:48 AM

CQ

@Corey 10:50 a.m.
"We're following the US model for this stuff more and more."
Actually the U.S. system provides tons of over-the-air, or broadcast channel coverage. Nearly all of the major league championships, golf, auto racing, plus regular season games every weekend are all available.
Then they also still have regional broadcast coverage. I was able to watch weekday Yankees games throughout the baseball season as it was picked up, from a local New York station, by another local Buffalo station. That same Buffalo station also picked up a mid-season Bills game in each of these past two years.
Part of this difference is that their networks (now owned by cable giants like we have) only own a small handfull of the actual local affiliate stations.
If anything, the US television industry is only now starting to move towards our seamlessly vertical ownership model.

November 27, 2013 @ 12:41 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Stephen

When I cancelled cable for 2.5 months, it was NHL playoff games on TSN that brought me back.

Sure, my Leafs weren't in the playoffs and I wanted to watch the Pittsburgh series, as I recall. It was on TSN and I looked at what I made and where my entertainment dollars go and how short life is and realized I could afford $100 / month to watch all the live sports I want.

I realize $100 is a lot of money for some people, and it's a lot of money for me, but I wanted to watch Crosby play live, dammit!

November 27, 2013 @ 12:53 PM

Mr. Beach

@Toronto Mike

Why would you say the price won't go up? This deal includes everything - the only way you'll be able to (legally) watch the NHL on any device will be to pay Rogers. Why wouldn't they ask for as much money as possible for that?

Sure, they'll charge the maximum the CRTC allows and they'll tier the games as much as the CRTC allows.


November 27, 2013 @ 1:02 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Mr. Beach

Well, Rogers can always raise the price of cable, which they do all the time anyway, but from what I've read and heard, all Canadian games will be available on stations I already get with my current cable package... so there's no additional bundle I'd have to buy or anything like that.

November 27, 2013 @ 1:04 PM

Andrew

@argie

The deal is for national rights only. Regional tv rights are still bought and sold by the clubs and Montreal owns it's regional English and French rights.

Rogers could try and up the regional deals on Bell, but as of right now and until the end of regional deals, Habs regionals in English and French will remain on TSN.

Regional 😁

Cheers
Andrew

November 27, 2013 @ 1:17 PM

Irv

@MrBeach @TorontoMike

You actually believe that the status quo for the "local guy" like you is going to stay the same? Like how when the Grey Cup was on CBC I could watch it but now it's on TSN (Bell) I have to subscribe?

The acquistion of live sports by Rogers is not about expanding their business. It's a calculated attempt to keep Rogers cable relevant in a time when 1/4 young people have cut the cord. You buy the teams, you buy the stadiums and you buy the rights to broadcast. Live sports is all that cable networks will have in the near to mid term future. Rogers will charge you as much as they can for hockey & then "kick in" a few channels free of charge (likely owned by Rogers). They'll coordinate all things internet around you having...Rogers Internet.

What is most ironic about your point of view is that you're a hockey fan. The game of hockey has become so expensive that only well to do families can afford to put their kids in league based hockey. Now just watching the game will be relegated to those with higher incomes.

Your idol, Wendel Clark, grew up in Saskatchewan. Chances are he spent his free time skating on a frozen pond or river playing hockey with the neighborhood farm kids. His Saturday night was spent in front of the TV likely watching HNIC. Better hope the future Wendel Clarks can afford the pricetag of NHL Hockey on Rogers.

November 27, 2013 @ 2:03 PM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike

@Irv

That's not at all what I said. Not even close.

I have no idea if they'll boot games from CBC to Sportsnet in few years, I just said the stations that will air the games as part of this deal are stations I already get with my current cable package.

November 27, 2013 @ 2:06 PM

Argie

Being serious for a minute here, why do ALL NHL clubs share in the 5.2 billion? This a national TV deal for Cnd TV, is it not?

Why the hell does Columbus or Cheryl's Coyotes receive the same amount as the Leafs??? I can I understand why the 7 Cnd clubs would split it (even though the majority of ratings are generated by the Leafs) but I just don't understand why all of the Americans teams are receiving money from this deal. Has anyone else questioned this?

November 27, 2013 @ 3:08 PM

Mr. Beach

One more thing this may effect - Rogers will be trying to sign up as many customers as possible and one thing that might really help with that is another team in southern Ontario.

November 27, 2013 @ 3:13 PM

Mr. Beach

@Argie

That's the deal they made. The NHL, like all leagues, is trying to be the NFL where total revenue sharing exists. Because the leagues are only as good as their weakest teams (it's interesting how billionaire owners understand they need to be socialist to succeed and they need the government to build their stadiums ;)).

November 27, 2013 @ 3:18 PM

@Argie

Exactly Argie, this deal only serves to prop up those money-losing teams in the US & of course lines the pocket of those owners too. Cdns actually propping up US teams, 2013? is this a dream?

& its not all lose-lose. TSN will now probably show more ESPN programming which means more NBA, Collge football/BB ball, etc. There is more to life than just hockey in Canada.

November 27, 2013 @ 3:42 PM

Anon&on

No cable, no TV. I watch HNIC online, where I get 2 games, maybe 3, and sometimes a choice of 2/3 games.
TSN used to show the odd game online, but I couldn't figure out why or why not with their coverage.
I doubt Rogers is going to be streaming games free.

November 27, 2013 @ 7:13 PM

Andrew

@ Argie,

I might have gotten my english / french rights mixed up. I was typing my reply up in a cab on my way to the Calgary Saddledome.

TSN owns the regional rights for English, not French. The Habs own their French rights and can negotiate and sell to whoever they'd like. Their national rights for radio and TV were part of the package that Rogers bought.

I think I've totally screwed myself up - still trying to figure out how this will affect me and my own livelihood.

Cheers,
Andrew

November 27, 2013 @ 9:08 PM

Andrew

@ Argie @ Cheryl et all,

Here is a great article in The Globe about the French rights for the Habs.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/hockeys-french-connection/article15642270/

Cheers,
Andrew

November 28, 2013 @ 12:15 PM

Argie

I wonder when the Leaf rights come up for renewal. That to me is more interesting than the league rights.

It would bring much more value per dollar for TSN if they acquired all regional Leaf games. That way they could broadcast leaf games throughout Canada at a much less cost than what Rogers is paying. The leafs would also be the sole beneficiary of such deal. A true win-win for the Leafs and TSN (in a capitalist way unlike the socialist win-win of the Rogers deal).

November 28, 2013 @ 3:08 PM

Cheryl

Well, so no English Habs on radio? That's not fair. I can speak and understand some French, but whether I can listen to a whole game in French, I don't know. I guess what I could do is tune into the other team's broadcast if they're playing the Habs. At least I would get a Habs game. I couldn't get along without my hockey. I love my hockey.

November 28, 2013 @ 7:58 PM

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