Canadian-Based NHL Teams Suck and Rogers Suffers

I used to read Chris Zelkovich's column in the Star. The Toronto Star decided to eliminate the media critic role, and Zelkovich was cut.

He now writes for Yahoo! (the exclamation mark is necessary) and just published an article about hockey ratings woes at Rogers. As he puts it, "the Canadian-based teams are killing ratings".

With the delightful fall of the Habs, only one Canadian-based team is currently in a playoff position, and that's the Canucks clinging to 8th place in the Western Conference. That's incredible! Here's a screenshot of a very unlikely moment in history.



Rogers in the second year of its 12-year, $5.2 billion deal with the NHL. If no Canadian teams make the playoffs, ratings will take a serious hit, and there's absolutely nothing Rogers can do about it.

Personally, the only Canadian-based NHL team I give a rat's ass about is my Toronto Maple Leafs, and I'm loving the Shanaplan. Everything is going according to plan... I just hope Reimer doesn't steal too many points down the stretch. Just lose, baby... our future depends on it.

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Comments (15 - click here to join in!)


Love it that Rogers is losing $$$$, but don't worry they make up for it with the Jays. It was a complete overbid for those rights & that buffoon Bettman was all too eager to accept. (Note: a smart buffoon was he)

Avoid anything related to Bell/Rogers, like Domi says "Support the little guy".

January 23, 2016 @ 2:59 PM

Rob J

Ok, they spent huge on the rights...but then they commit a double-minor by presenting a brutal broadcast, foisting unlikeable pro-Leafs personalities onto a national audience, and then decide to hitch their wagon to one of the league's worst teams over 40+ years giving them the prime HNIC slot most weeks. Almost like Rogers owns the team or something.

January 23, 2016 @ 3:10 PM


I don't think the lack of Canadian teams in playoff contention is the biggest reason for the ratings decline. Their horrible broadcasts are a big contributor in my opinion.

January 23, 2016 @ 4:03 PM


Wednesday's horror show won't help ratings, Columbus 3 - 1, over the Leafs.
It was terrible hockey, from both teams! The quality of play was sub-par, broken plays, missed passes, unforced giveaways, there was never any sense of urgency or tenacity from either team, certainly nothing that triggered an extended run of quality shifts by either team.

It was, unwatchable. Certainly lacked any reason to watch all 3 periods.

As the season progresses, I'm not evening considering watching a growing list of teams, of which both Toronto & Columbus are on that list, again.

Pretty sure that's not what the NHL or Rogers is hoping for.

Expansion isn't going to help matters either.

The 3 other games offered that night were better, certainly more entertaining.

I watched Boston & Philly, online - not on a Rogers platform.
Caught the 3rd period of Calgary's thrashing of Florida - again, not on a Rogers platform.
Watched a good portion of Ottawa struggling against Anaheim, also, not on Rogers.

Getting to the point where I just want to watch good hockey, not the NHL's version of beer league teams where the coach has them playing a style best described as, "let's not lose".

January 23, 2016 @ 4:50 PM


Don't care about hockey at all.. but I just received my rate increase letter from Rogers the other day.. $2 increase in Cable $2 in home phone & $3 in internet.

My guess is they getting the rates up before the new channel pic & choose regulation/consumer option comes into play.

I always figured they would pass any losses on to the consumer but 7$ bucks a month even before it takes effect is offensive… time to cut the cord.. I'll listen to the Jays on the radio.. bu bye.. rogers!

January 23, 2016 @ 5:20 PM


Strombo sucks. It's his fault.

January 23, 2016 @ 6:08 PM


NHL is a 5th tier professional sport anyway, watched mostly by Canadian hockey pucks. South of the border, where ratings really count, MLB, NFL, NBA and MSL/BPL are watched by more than those who watch the NHL. Looks good on Rogers!

January 23, 2016 @ 7:17 PM


If ratings continue to be a problem for Rogers, it is hard not to think that they make an overture to TSN to see if they can off-load some games there in an attempt to curb the trend.

The one thing going for them is that the Canadian teams not making the playoffs have a shot at top draft picks which does have a potential to turn a team's fortunes around from one season to another. But that is putting a lot of stock into that and as evidenced by the Oilers, not necessarily true.

January 23, 2016 @ 8:56 PM


Next year the CBC deal is up for Saturday nights and from what the plan originally was these games will go to a tier of pay for cable.

Why would I pay that much for a sub par broadcast of a team that I have followed forever through a lifetime of losing.

Rogers in their bravado over estimated the sheep mentality of Leaf fans, the ACC is full of corporate sponsorship for home games but the average family can't afford $500 for a night out at the rink let alone the full cable package required to watch the broadcasts.

This deal will be a significant blow to Rogers, they'll be forced to sell the rights and probably their share in the team as well in the not too distant future.

January 24, 2016 @ 9:35 AM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

The fun for me on Saturday night at the ACC was that there were two teams playing for draft choices, but only one team that is willing to acknowledge it.
It would have been icing on the cake if the Habs had lost in the shoot-out.
That being said, I don't watch as much as I did two years ago.
Too many out of market games get blacked out in the current format so it's hard for me to take an interest in other teams.

January 25, 2016 @ 8:36 AM

Al The Royal Pain

I have no love for Rogers, but this deal is about more than making money on advertising. It's also about taking market share away from the incumbent sports network.

Remember, when Sportsnet first came on the air, TSN had a 2 decade head-start. No one gave SN a chance.

Well, I don't know about you, but TSN is an afterthought for me right now. With NHL, Blue Jays, half the Raptors games, and Tim & Sid on SN, I've got very little need for TSN.

SN has done what most say was impossible, and that was to unseat (or at least challenge) TSN for sports supremacy in this country, and since sports remains one of the last PVR-proof events on television, I'd say that by the end of these 12 years, it will have been money well spent.

January 25, 2016 @ 9:12 AM


Al Notreallya Royal Pain makes good points. In the Toronto area, I know I am in the minority, tuning in to TSN to watch Canadian football. Apart from watching Sports Centre and some of the year end "best of" shows (that get repeated ad nauseum for months), I definitely watch more Sportsnet than TSN. I doubt that I am going to bother at all with Formula1 this year, as the sport has seriously declined in the past several years, so there's one less TSN (BBC relay) program.

Sometimes, I find the PVR handy for sports. If I'm running a bit late, I can set the PVR to record a game. If the game is somehow important, I'll try not to listen to any news that might spoil things. When I get home, I start the game from the beginning and hit fast forward or the magic "3 minutes forward" button. It usually does not take long to catch up and be watching live.

January 25, 2016 @ 1:09 PM

Al The Royal Pain


The CFL, other half of the Raptors and and World Juniors are the only real reasons to watch TSN anymore. You mention the "best of" shows being shown ad nauseum, I completely agree. Just yesterday I happened upon TSN and they were showing the best/worst something of 2015...last time I checked it was late January, what's the statute of limitations on year-end shows?

I guess this is what you get when you're low on programming options.

January 25, 2016 @ 2:32 PM

Blind Dave

I don't mind the Rogers crew and I do like the panel discussions. The problem for me is the game itself. I can't even recall the last time I watched a full period of hockey.

As for cable & internet, I have Shaw (prairies) and my cable/internet bill is $143 per month. I use the internet all the time but we watch very little on the idiot box. We also have an old fashioned tv from the late 80's. If I ever upgrade the tv I will change the cable package, as I do feel I am geting soaked every month.

January 25, 2016 @ 9:40 PM


Generally the games are dull. But they would have known that going in. I'm sure the plan would have accounted for flat/decreasing ratings. As Al The Royal Pain described: it's all about the long haul, sports hegemony and furthering the Rogers brand.

January 26, 2016 @ 11:30 AM

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