Changes At Rogers Sportsnet NHL

April 5th, 2016 | by torontosportsmedia
Changes At Rogers Sportsnet NHL
business of sports
199

By TSM

 

Pardon the quick hit, but this just broke. For those who follow me on Twitter know I've been talking about news for the last couple of days. It's now official that Gord Cutler Rogers SVP of NHL properties is no longer with the company.

Cutler reported up into Scott Moore (who reports to Rick Brace who in turn report to the big boss).

This is a big deal and the timing of it is quite surprising.

The NHL playoffs are just about to begin, sans Canadian teams and it would seem an odd time to drop the proverbial bomb on a rather nervous team.

By all accounts both on and off air talent are all now looking over the shoulder as we head into the much quieter summer season.

The declining ratings and ad revenue have been well documented. This could be the first of many changes to come to the product before the next season starts.

The question is who will be around then.

More later.

TSM

199 Comments

  1. Sam In Scarb says:

    Bout time robbers started icing some suits to make up for their huge hockey mistake $$$

    Oddly, not a word about it on the sportsnet website Hummm.

  2. Rob J says:

    Good on them for noticing its been a mess. The HNIC intermissions seem like a high-school talent show where the best actors and singers are banned.

  3. Johnny 2 Cents says:

    SUIT THERE IT”S IS!!! love it, let the suits feel the pain instead of the little guy.

    Now cut Moore

  4. yaz says:

    Big changes are coming. You can only layoff so many people. Guy Laurence has no emotional ties to the NHL or Nadir’s deal. It didn’t work. Farming out a portion of the deal to TSN is a becoming more and more a likely possibility to mitigate losses. While I am first to poke fun at the HNIC intermissions, they are only a small portion of the failure of the Rogers/NHL deal.

  5. mario says:

    Not at all a big surprise giving the ratings on one hand but who would have thought that no Canadian teams in the playoffs. Nervous times ahead for sure.

  6. Mike V says:

    Timing is really odd. You’re not going to be making wholesale changes on the fly going into playoffs so why make the move now? Morale has got to be incredibly depressing there knowing that guaranteed more cuts are coming by July 1.

    Wholesale changes for next year is now the base case. Still don’t think games are going to TSN but it will be an overhaul. Strombo is probably gone. He lasted just long enough to avoid being a 1&done guy but wasn’t suited to sports. Only hockey guys I would feel are (and should be) 100% safe are Friedman and McLean.

  7. Curt says:

    “Only hockey guys I would feel are (and should be) 100% safe are Friedman and McLean.”

    They should be but they’ll have to get Gary’s permission to hold onto MacLean.

  8. Art says:

    @MikeV

    I agree with you on Friedman and McLean I would be shocked if they were gone. More so than Shocked I’d be really disappointed, They are both really good.

    I’m not sure I’d say they are the only ones though. Can anyone really see Don Cherry leaving unless he wanted too?

    I would love it because I hate him, but I don’t see it.

  9. Mike V says:

    Disagree Art. Grapes is 82(!!) and from a different era. While he still has followers, it’s safe to say that his influence has diminished over the past decade. If Rogers is looking to re-vamp the entire hockey coverage, the first intermission should be fair game and I could see a chance they let Don go into retirement. Maybe not a likely scenario, but I would not be shocked if it happens.

  10. JShannon says:

    This is BS

    Gord Cutler deserved to be fired, it has nothing to do with the ratings. Everyone understands it was just one unlucky season and there are 10 more years of Connor McDavid coming

  11. Art says:

    Well I hope you are right Mike. I felt like it was time for a change 20 years ago… but hey better late than never I guess

  12. Pants Go Brown says:

    This is all on whomever signed this bloated, unsustainable deal in the first place not on anyone else.

    It’s true that some of the on-air staff aren’t great, nevertheless some smart person should have anticipated the market fragmentation which has taken place.

    $5.2B was a mistake from the start.

  13. Simulcast in Mississauga says:

    Interesting that on the same day as the senior management change at Rogers, all of a sudden the FAN590 started serious and higher profile coverage of the concussion issue. First today with Friedman’s 30 thoughts on the Sportsnet website (although the pro-Gary tone was disappointing to the point of reducing respect for Friedman’s commentary) and then a more realistic discussion on PTS.

    Rogers needs to improve its hockey coverage (and significantly) but with 10 years to go it is much to early for crepe hanging or selling off the rights; in a year or two, we might see several Canadian teams in the playoffs. After all, one deep Leafs playoff run will make up for all the loses from Day One of the Rogers deal with the NHL.

  14. billyjoejimbob says:

    I didn’t think the 30 Thoughts piece was pro-Gary. I believe people hate Gary….so they are genetically pre-disposed to disliking anything that sees anything from his point of view. After reading it, I have a greater idea of why Bettman is so stubborn.

    There’s no doubt the NHL is a more boring game now because there’s less hitting and fighting.

    I thought the Pellman bit was very interesting. His awful research forced the NFL to settle. It’s what could force the NHL to settle. It’s what to watch for.

  15. Rob in Aurora says:

    What was most disappointing about Friedman’s “30 thoughts” was that it effevtively said nothing. It was non-committal and content free. “Weak” isn’t a strong enough word. It was a vain attempt to chase the critics away from Sportsnet writing staff. I lost some respect for Elliotte there. I think he was pressed into action. Cox lacks credibility and he probably played the seniority card and dodged writing the piece. For the most part I like(d) Elliotte’s work before this….it doesn’t really matter, I don’t pay much attention to anything Rogers does anymore. Someone retweeted it, I bit. I wish I had those few minutes back.

  16. Rob in Aurora says:

    Regarding this firing, it appears (to me at least) that Rogers is doing their cuts slowly and somewhat methodically. Like “the lashings will continue until morale improves”. They gonged Jennifer Valenytne from City’s BT and all the other people doing that job in other markets were also let go….a while ago Gord Martineau announced that he had been retired with no long good byes or fanfare.

    This firing seems to be somewhat punitive or a symbol of some kind of foreshadowing that big changes are coming to the hockey broadcast department – are they hoping people will quit?….(He asked sarcastically). I doubt the Sunday night cross country show will return. I’m sure that costs a fortune. So is Ron going too?

  17. billyjoejimbob says:

    See, this is the problem:

    You are engaged in “groupthink.” Concussions bad. NHL bad. I hate Gary. Kill them. Anyone who tries to present the other side=shill.

    I read that piece and learned some new stuff. First, he explained why Bettman takes this so personally. I thought it was interesting how much Bettman’s pr people (I assume) tried to influence his concussion story.

    None of you wonder why Tator, who’s word is used as gospel, is being sued by CFL players? None of you wonder why no CTE was found in Ewen? Pullman? The line from the coach about selling “passing? Do you think a Rogers shill would rip his own product like that?

    He also reported how the NHL lawyers are going to tear these guys apart. I don’t know, I thought that was all new information.

    But I see…unless he’s trashing Bettman he loses integrity. I prefer someone who avoids the groupthink.

  18. billyjoejimbob says:

    Oh and Rob,

    They announced in Sunday’s show Hometown Hockey is coming back. You guys are so clueless.

  19. EX-SN says:

    Here’s a few things to consider:

    Rogers, and especially Moore will never admit they were wrong. Any changes will not be an about face that makes it look like Rogers/Moore fucked things up.

    At SN being number 1 is an obsession. Emails are sent out daily to all staff showing the ratings compared to TSN. They won’t give TSN anything that will help them gain ground. Even with the layoffs and shitty NHL product, SN is still on top. A good run by the Jays will bolster moral and confidence overall. If they do end up selling off some games expect them to go to the CBC before TSN is considered. Even though CBC has sworn off sports, a deal would be worked out that will see the CBC take on more games mid week and maybe even extend their four year agreement for HNIC.

    Moore obviously has real close ties to CBC and the hockey operations at CBC and SN are heavily integrated. There is no easy way to untangle them at this point. Technology wise there is so much at Front street that SN would be dumb to pull out after 4 years. Expect them to entrench themselves more at the CBC building and with the CBC in general.

    Most of the talent have 3 year contracts. If/when they make a change expect it to be a straight up firing of some of the fringe cast before the start of next season. Expect Strombo to take a back seat next year and Ron or a panel introduced as the leads on HNIC.

    As for the firings of some of the bigger talent across Rogers, that was two fold – 1) get rid of some high priced talent, and 2) prevent any “stars” from being created. They don’t want Rogers being held hostage by a McCown or anyone for that matter who can use their popularity to pull strings. Expect Rogers in general to be nameless faces who can be rotated in and out with much fanfare.

    Also expect SN to start leveraging the digital/online side of the NHL deal more in the next few years. More attention will be paid to online delivery as can be seen with their announcement last week.

  20. Huz says:

    This was expected, but there’s another person that needs to go, and that’s Scott Moore.

    Scott Moore is the guy who blamed Canadian teams not being in the playoffs for bad ratings, yet the ratings were not all that great last year when 5 Canadian teams made it. He refuses to admit that his product is garbage, and that he destroyed the institution that was Hockey Night In Canada.

    Rogers just has rights to too many things. The MLB, NBA, NHL, WWE, so they make us pay for their premium channels if we want to watch any of those sports.

    They seriously need to evaluate their Hockey personnel, it’s beyond be how Kypreos, Doug Maclean, Strombo still have jobs.

    Oh how I wish we could go back to gm the good old days when CBC, TSN had the rights.

  21. Scott Moore says:

    @billyjoejimbob

    thanks for setting these fools straight …… see you at the next staff meeting. I’ll bring the donuts this time.

  22. Eric says:

    HA HA HA I don’t know which one of you posted as Scott Moore, but that was awesome!

  23. EX -SN says:

    @Huz

    Actually Rogers has lost key broadcast rights and is under threat to lose more. They put so much into the NHL deal that they can’t compete on other sports. They’ve already lost Champions league and Europa League. They are barely hanging on to some Barclay’s Premiership games and have resorted to the Bundesliga to have some soccer content.

    Expect them to lose NFL Thursday night Football (likely to Twitter) after the SN deal finishes in a year or so.

    The only solid rights they hold are NHL, Bluejays baseball, shared MLSE rights (they split raptors, leafs and TFC games) and WWE (although that’s not a sport. SN is looking for cheap filler otherwise. That’s why they show poker, darts, OHL, CHL and curling.

    Every other rights you mentioned are at risk of being lost next negotiation cycle considering TSN has tons of money to spend

  24. Eric says:

    @EX-SN

    Twitter’s broadcast rights are for online streaming. They will still have a TV rights deal with someone. If Sports does lose TNF, It will be to TSN not twitter.

    It would make sense to go to TSN anyway since TSN/CTV has all the games on Sunday, SNF and MNF. Put it all under one roof.

    Rogers big saving grace is the recent success of the Blue Jays. But if this season doesn’t go as planed and Jose and Edwin walk that could change quickly. Well are head over heals in love with the Jays right now. but this team’s window of success is not huge. We hope they can get it done this year, because next year all bets are off.

    History tells us that When the Jays are winning everyone wants to be a part of it. but when they are not only the hardcore remain.

    As for WWE that’s a shinking ship too. This year’s Mania was garbage, The raw the next night was brutal. They are not devloping true stars. Sure hardcore fans love the NXT guys but the casual fan doesn’t seem to care. There is no obvious young Hogan,Michaels,Austin,Rock,Cena there.

    The value of having the WWE Network will become less every year.

    Rogers is in some trouble. They have the best package to have (NHL) They just paid way too much for it, handled it poorly and didn’t get much help from the Canadian teams. Meanwhile TSN picked up the NFL and some quality other rights and saved a bunch of cash.

  25. EX -SN says:

    @ERIC

    I agree with you on most points, but the ratings for WWE are very strong. During my time at SN, the most complaints we got were when there was an issue with RAW, even a minor blip got a ton of emails and tweets. The unwritten rule was don’t screw up RAW.

    The only reason I mention Twitter is that going forward TV rights will diminish as online streaming becomes the norm. Remember SN just launched it’s streaming service and that in itself is an acknowledgement that online delivery will out pace tv in the next few years.

    The hope that live sports would be the saviour of broadcast TV will quickly diminish as cord cutting becomes the norm and (younger) people navigate to online sports packages. I see this happening a lot quicker than expected – lets say by 2020.

  26. Eric says:

    @EX-SN

    I see it a little differently. I don’t really believe that people would rather watch programming on a laptop,cell phone or tablet.

    I think people like having that option if they are out or whatever.. but I think they would still prefer to watch things on TV. Bigger screen, no buffering, no delay, more reliable, yadda yadda yadda.

    I think the reason people are cutting the cord is more about cost more so than mobility. the option is nice if I’m out. but if I’m home I’m watching TV not my phone.

    Most people who are obsessed with on-line viewing are utilize cheaper or even free services. (legit or otherwise)

    So I really see things like twitter getting rights and no TV option being available. It’s more likely there will be either rights sold for each or a TV/Online rights package sold together.

    I don’t believe TV is dead I just believe the industry needs to adjust to the new world.

    I say this as a youngish guy.

    As for SportnetNow. too expensive if Rogers/Bell think this is the future they are wrong. People will just turn to free options on the net. again I really believe cord cutting is about cost not mobility.

  27. Mike V says:

    Is Champions League really that big of a loss though? I suppose you could call it a prestige event that is a premium to have but every game other than the final is on a weekday afternoon. Never saw a PR boasting about ratings either so they can’t draw that well. Guess we’ll see what happens to the BPL (I thought it was strange a new deal hasn’t been announced yet. It would take effect in August.) but TSN can’t take the full slate unless they resort to putting games back online only again.

    All the talk about Sportsnet “only” really having NHL & the Blue Jays seem to gloss over the fact the those are the #1 & 2 (or maybe #2&1 for this season) TV properties in Canada. TSN may have a more balanced stable but a lot of the additional events TSN can lay claim to (Tennis, early rounds of PGA, Auto racing, NCAA) gets left in the dust ratings wise and you could argue some of that is nichey “filler” too. For example, the first two Blue Jays games of the season were both solidly over 1million viewers & Friday’s home opener might be close to 2, while the only TSN event since the World Juniors that did that well was the Briar final I think. Even before last season the “hardcore” meant 5-600,000 a game. That 162 times a year goes a long way when you are “buying” the rights at well below market value.

  28. Eric says:

    good points Mike V.

    Do you know how the NFL numbers compare to the Blue jays numbers?

  29. Huz says:

    @EX-SN

    Who do you see being let go in the Hockey department? Which personalities? And do you see them poaching any of the TSN guys?

    Also, what do you see happening to Hockey Night In Canada? Do we get some of the old show back?

  30. Commando Bob says:

    To my horror, I saw a NBA playoff commercial on sportsnet. I really hope Rogers doesn’t bury Raptor games on their Sportsnet One channel.

    At least TSN has the decency of showing Raptors on their national station

  31. Mike V says:

    I think Sunday afternoon averages 7-800,000 a game OTA on CTV (so technically excluded from the SNet/TSN ratings war like HNIC is) and S/MNF on TSN gets about half that. Early playoffs rounds do anywhere from 1-3m depending on the game and of course the Super Bowl is a behemoth with 7-8. But if this crazy CRTC rule sticks, that official number will drop with no sim-sum.

  32. Rob in Aurora says:

    Billy Joe – I am hurt and embarrassed. “groupthink”?!… how DARE you?…Perhaps we should all stop posting now and wait for you to tell us all what to think next?….

    -and quite frankly I honestly don’t pay attention to what Sportsnet does (you fan-boy pinhead). I was simply “groupthinking” out loud – So if Hockey on Sunday night is coming back from Fort William and Salmon Arm next year, I (and tens of millions of group-thinkers just like me) won’t be watching then either….It sounds like I touched a nerve though, so I know you will.

    There. Are we finished insulting each other yet? Or should we keep going?
    (Maybe I’ll just post a blanket “GFY” to cover your next few posts that I won’t be reading)

  33. EX -SN says:

    @ERIC
    Smart TVs are the norm now so streaming doesn’t mean you need to watch an online feed via your tablet/phone/laptop etc. And as for reliability, I have netflix and have never had a serious problem with buffering and so on. This will only improve with time, and quickly. Broadcasters themselves are using online streaming and bonded cellular systems like dejero to deliver live content for broadcast, so the old school idea of delivery having to be via satellite, or a dedicated hardwire is diminishing.

    Cord cutting is a bout cost, but the added mobility of a streaming service is a bonus if you only go with Sportsnetnow. I will agree that older generations don’t trust online streaming and getting them to cut the cord isn’t as easy, but younger people have no qualms of going online only. I have friends who only have cable because they want sports channels. I do agree that $25 for SN Now is expensive but if they reduced it to under $20 I can see my friends cutting the cord.

    Once the majority of viewing switches to being online I can see the “trusted providers” for content switch from being traditional broadcasters to companies like facebook, twitter, netflix etc. I once thought viewers would seek out individual content providers and leagues online (ie go to MLB.com to watch baseball or Sony Pictures to view one of their shows) but people don’t want to do too much searching. They just want to go to netflix or twitter and find everything they need. I expect these services to challenge for online rights on all sports

    @MIKE V
    Yes champions league was a big deal. True games were mid week, but the ratings were quite good considering. Soccer obviously isn’t a fringe sport in Canada anymore. BPL is the most prestige soccer property to have and the simple fact is SN won’t be able to afford it once the rights are renegotiated. I can see TSN going all out on saturday mornings with soccer across all of there channels. That might not cover all BPL games going on, but it will be a lot. SN might pick up a few games. At one point SN had different BPL games across all their regional channels and SN ONE and SN World. Nowadays the same game is frequently spread across the regionals, world and ONE.

    I agree NHL and Blue Jays have put SN on top, and that was the goal all along. I think though, they are at risk of having all their eggs in one(or two) basket. As can be seen with the lack of Canadian teams in the playoffs – ratings take a hit. If the Jays go back to being an average team, SN will be in the same boat with MLB as they are with NHL rights/ratings.

  34. EX -SN says:

    @HUZ

    I don’t see them poaching any TSN personnel. TSN locked up the big names from their cast(McKenzie, Miller, Dreger) for at least the next few years.

    This is pure speculation but I can see SN getting rid of some of the more disliked members of the hockey team like Cox and Hrudey, but keeping some of the SN long timers like Kypreos, Shannon and Doug MacLean. I would say it would a general thinning of the herd so that it’s a more consistent group of panelists. They’d be smart to build up a panel around Ron Maclean and hopefully the audience warms up to it.

    You won’t see the old HNIC show again – if they did that they would be admitting defeat. You might see glimpses of it ie bringing Ron back into a more prominent role. They’ll slowly refine it and it will be different but get better. I can’t see Strombo lasting past next year and I have a feeling they’ll push Don into retirement too. Remember the goal was to ween Canadians off of the old CBC/HNIC over four years.

    I think they will do that with the general direction of the show but bow to some pressure and keep Ron around. As I mentioned before they will further integrate with the CBC in terms of facilities and so on, but they will keep overall editorial control unless they sell some games back to the CBC down the line. In that case they’ll likely do it at a discount but still want to keep some editorial influence so that the product between CBC and SN looks the same. There will have to be some give and take obviously

  35. Mulet says:

    I can’t see TSN picking up Thurday Night Football to compete with Thursday night CFL games.

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  37. Eric says:

    @EX-SN

    $20? Still no not even close. $20 for SN, then $20 for TSN and so far all I have is 2 sports networks. My wife wants to watch TV too so do my kids.

    I’ll just cut the cord altogether and go with Kodi.

  38. Curt says:

    @EX-SN: Do you know if Rogers would have called in counsellors to help staff deal with the fallout of the Bautista slide? They all seem traumatized and completely despondent at losing a game in April on a questionable call. I worry for Jamie, Zauny, Buck, Pat, Ken, etc. Jamie is wondering if the crew in New York might have a personal vendetta against Bautista. Zaun believes this is the end of baseball as we know it. Say it ain’t so!

  39. EX -SN says:

    @ERIC – I only mention the $20 price point as that’s what they charge for Sportsnet World which is only one channel. SN Now is all the regionals, SN360 and SN One – that’s 6 channels.

    Also I believe in the a-la carte cable system if you want the skinny package and then add Sportsnet it will cost you about $18

  40. Eric says:

    @EX-SN I get where you are coming from but it’s still a massive rip off. The Al la carte thing is brutal too.

    It will lead to more and more people finding other ways. It’s already happening.

  41. EX -SN says:

    @ERIC

    I agree it’s expensive but I expect Rogers to try and squeeze as much out of people as possible. I think $15 is probably the right price.

  42. Eric says:

    Oh I agree they will 100%.

    I can’t say what I think the right price is until I see what an entire package equal to what I have now is.

    Obviously their are useless channels in today’s cable packages nobody wants. But In the end of the day I I have to spend more than I do now to get all the channels I want, I’m going Kodi.

    $25,20 or even $15 for half of the needed sports is a bad start.

  43. Ian says:

    Re Mulet on TSN and CFL games on Thursdays – I would imagine TSN would simply not schedule Thursday games during NFL season. I don’t think it’s an overly popular move for the teams, done solely for TV, so TSN would probably take the NFL and move CFL games back to Friday/Sat/Sunday.

    And speaking from a Western perspective – is Cox as disliked in Toronto as he is out here? Who on earth thought that having a loud,biased Toronto columnist should be on a national network as an expert on hockey? Bad call.

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  45. Huz says:

    @EX-SN

    If Saturdays, Sundays, Thursdays, Wednesdays are “national broadcast days”, then how come there are still regional games for Canadian teams on those days?

    Also, do you see them retaining the Habs regional rights after next year, or will they go back to TSN?

    Lastly, do you think that Blue Jay’s Central panel should consist of more guys? Campbell and Zaun are good, but I feel like this would be the right time to add another guy or two, to break things down.

  46. EX -SN says:

    @HUZ

    Only Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays are national days. All other days are regional. The common gripe from fans about blackouts is understood but also somewhat misplaced. Rogers botched their initial announcement of the 12 year deal because they were never clear about what it meant for blackouts. In fact I vaguely remember them saying blackouts wouldn’t be enforced. The thing to remember is the 12 year deal for national rights was negotiated with the league, while regional rights are negotiated with the teams, so the teams want to protect that revenue stream.

    So you may ask why regional blackouts are still a thing? Well, they shouldn’t be. It’s an outdated model and is in place to “protect” the teams but the reasoning is convoluted at best. Blackouts are also used to push the sale of Gamecenter live/NHL.tv packages – “Watch out of market games for only $XX.XX!!!”
    To put it simply – the blackout situation is a mess. Even people who worked for SN for a decade had difficulty understanding it

    The Habs rights are kind of complex as there are both English and French rights. I don’t remember the exact details but I believe RDS has the regional French rights and TVA, through its relationship with Rogers, has the national French rights. SN holds the regional English rights.

    I can see TSN fighting for the english rights when the deal with SN is up. As you may recall TSN scooped up the Senators regional rights as soon as their deal with SN expired. Expect TSN to challenge for Flames, Canucks and Oilers rights as soon as those deals expire with SN. TSN now has multiple channels so they can place regional games on different channels and still enforce the blackouts. It would have been a bit more difficult to do so when they were just TSN1 and TSN2.

    I like Zaun and Campbell and the surrounding characters. Zaun and Campbell have a bit of a Ron and Don quality about them. Campbell plays it straight, and Zaun is the guy who stirs up controversy If think about it they might not have a full panel at the desk, but they have Buck and Tabler who contribute some analysis and then theres Barry Davis and Hazel who are attached to baseball as well.

    I can see them adding another person to the panel if the Jays really pick up and interest in baseball is sustained. In that case I’d like to see them bring in a former player or manager to balance out Zaun and have Campbell be there to keep the flow of the show. If they were to add someone from internal stocks, some might say Brunt would be a good choice, but he’s already stretched thin, and is more of a deep analysis guy, looking at bigger issues in the game. The other alternative is someone like Shi Davidi.

  47. Dave in Bolton says:

    I think Rogers would strike a deal with Shaw/Corrus before they ever make a deal with Bell. I could see Hockey end up on Shaw properties like Global before TSN getting games back.

  48. EX -SN says:

    @dave in bolton

    A few years back Shaw flirted with launching a sports network but decided not to. Now that Shaw is now Corus, I don’t think they have a sports strategy at all.

    At one point Canwest had a minor stake in theScore and did have some NFL rights back in the mid 2000s. I would see SN cutting a deal with the CBC but Corus is a left field option that can’t be disgarded.

  49. edge says:

    @ Ex-SN

    Shaw/Corus does the WHL, and that’s pretty much it. They’re mostly western based so to suddenly buy a national property would definitely be out of left field for them. I could see Rogers putting more games on CBC, but then again CBC has sworn off pro sports, and does not get any ad revenue for Rogers version of HNIC. Why would CBC want to take on more product that doesn’t directly benefit them? The Leafs and Canucks aren’t projected to make the playoffs for at least another year, so if things continue the way they are with the yearly payout of the deal increasing I can see Rogers selling the All-American games to TSN.

    Hockey certainly is #1 in Canada, but that has an upper limit. I generally much prefer TSN to Sportsnet anyway, but I do think TSN over-did the hockey when they had it, to the point where TSN virtually ignored everything else, like baseball, basketball and soccer. To me, it got a little annoying. At least now they’re learning to balance things out, although very few things will get hockey-type numbers. Rogers has made the mistake of overpaying for the NHL, thinking that the NHL in Canada is what the NFL is in the US. It’s not. They must be thanking their lucky stars for the Blue Jays, but even this is less-than-ideal for both sides. Rogers has to pay $116 million US to field that team to compete in the toughest division in baseball. For the Jays the fact that their owner is also their broadcaster means they don’t make third-party tv money, so they can’t capitalize on their popularity the same way the Cubs or Cardinals do. Ideally you want someone else paying you for the rights to your games, not your owner giving himself “free content”.

  50. Huz says:

    @EX-SN

    Do you happen to know when the regional rights will expire for the Flames, Oilers, Canucks?

    Also, how come the main TSN guys didn’t jump ship. Correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t Dreger and Ferraro with Sportsnet before?

    Do you also see a day where the WWE, Blue Jay’s end up on TSN? Why did TSN give up their Jay’s rights in 2009?

    Lastly, what’s up with the Vancouver bureau? They fire a fan favourite in Don Taylor a few years ago, now they get rid of Cybulski, Cameron?

  51. Mullet says:

    RE Ian That’s a good point. But in 2015 TSN pushed for Thursday night CFL games, maybe to compete?

  52. Mullet says:

    @EX -SN
    just hypothetical… If Roger’s does sell off games (time is ticking) for 2016/17 who would be ready and willing to pay… TSN? That would make all games purchased “national” feeds.

  53. Rob in Aurora says:

    Shoalts has an article about the recent firing at Sportsnet on the globe website….this quote is particularly interesting:
    “Broadcasting insiders have suggested Rogers could get some revenue relief by selling games from its national package to TSN. However, a source close to senior management at TSN said the network, which remains profitable, is not interested in buying any NHL games.”

    TSN is most likely waiting in the weeds with some extra cash to spend on regional rights as they come up for renewal with each team. Makes sense to me. Why go hat in hand to Rogers? If you control regional rights across Canada, your position is pretty strong.

  54. Huz says:

    Smart move by TSN to let Rogers bleed out.

    It’ll be an even smarter move to jump at the regional rights for the Habs, Flames, Canucks, Oilers once they’re available.

    I do miss Wednesday Night Hockey and playoff Hockey on TSN though.

  55. Daz66778 says:

    And hey, whatever became of Aaron Nemteam?

  56. Art says:

    @Huz, EX-SN

    The Habs and Sportsnet have a 3 year deal for the English Regional rights. TSN may want it back after it expires but then again they may not. They had an opportunity to renew their deal before but passed. I heard The Habs set the price too high. Funny thing is TSN’s parent company Bell does have a small stake in the Habs ownership, so you would think it would be a natural fit. I guess not.

    Also to be factored in is the French Regional Deal. This is the deal that really matters to Bell Media. RDS had previously carried all 82 Habs games, The play-offs and even pre season. because they had both the national and regional rights, and because of the language issue they were allowed to broadcast every game nationally too. They need to prevent TVA from doing the same now that they had the national rights. So Bell Paid up big time and secured the regional rights on a 12 year deal. It’s also interesting that their regional deal is bigger than most teams as they have the rights to 60 games plus the pre season. Even games on Wednesdays and Sundays are regional not national unlike other teams. TVA only has Saturdays.

    funny thing is RDS has become so popular over the years with Habs fans that even English fans who don’t speak French at all prefer the RDS broadcast over Sportsnet,CBC or even TSN when they had Habs games. I my self have subscribed to NHL Centre Ice (French) from Bell FibeTV. I pay $60 and get all the Habs and Sens regional games on RDS. I have been watching RDS for years and I absolutely love Pierre Houde. Even when the games are on sportsnet I watch in French on RDS.

    Because so many Habs fans watch in French (including the English fans) How much is that English deal really worth. I understand why TSN walked away. It’s possible that when that 3 year deal expires Sportsnet might as well. It wasn’t long ago when there was no regional games in English, It could happen again.

  57. Mike V says:

    Rogers wouldn’t be interested in selling games off to Bell at a big discount either. That “insider” didn’t think that one through.

    If TSN’s plan was to pay as much for Oilers/Flames/Canucks rights as they did for the Senators (over half a mill a game for ~150,000 viewers, maybe less this year) then it’s a losing strategy as well. Total it all up with the Habs RDS rights and you’re in the neighbourhood of $225-250M/year for nothing national or playoffs. How exactly is that better than the ~300M/year Rogers is paying (ex TVA fees)? Oh and that is a strategy that is 5-7 years away still. Sportsnet has the rights locked up through at least this decade for all three.

  58. Art says:

    @Mike V

    I agree with you.

    That’s why I think TSN will pass again on the English Habs rights. And if Sportsnet is hurting from the national deal they may pass too.

  59. Huz says:

    @Art

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but RDS used to be able to broadcast all Montreal games in French, right? Did TVA put an end to that?

    I like the English broadcast Sportsnet does for the Habs, but the only problem is the studio crew at intermissions. They bring on some of the worst people, and it’s always a revolving door with 10 people doing the intermissions for all Canadian teams.

    Also, did the CBC in Montreal ever have Habs rights? What happened to them?

    I’m also guessing TVA will own the rights to a Quebec City team once they get one?

  60. Mike V says:

    Art, it almost happened again this go round. Sportsnet came in during the pre-season last year to pick of the rights, otherwise no English. I’m don’t quite remember, but I believe the reporting at the time said the Habs budged on price a bit to get it done.

    You’re right that the Habs are in a unique situation with the split rights, english is not nearly as valuable as french (which is $60M/year). Plus, TSN would’ve had some conflicts on 5 with Sens games that they already secured and likely played a role in why they passed.

  61. Huz says:

    So if Bell and Rogers don’t pick up the English regional rights for the Habs, who does?

  62. Art says:

    @Huz

    Yes RDS carried all games in French nationally. TVA has 22 national games now (Saturdays) and play-offs. RDS has the 60 regional games plus pre season.

    Out of market Habs fans can get the RDS French regional games by subscribing to LNH Centre Ice. It’s like the English NHL centre Ice but you pay $60 instead of $200, and you only get the Habs and Sens French games and not every team.

    CBC Montreal had HNIC Canada. National Habs games same as Rogers has now. before RDS. Radio Canada (SRC) had the French National games.

    TVA would defiently get the Quebec Nordiques rights as the owner would be Quebecor who owns TVA.

  63. Art says:

    @HUZ probably nobody.

    TSN only had the English rights for 2 years before the sportsnet deal. They went years without English regional games

    If the Habs want english regional games they are going to have to sell them off cheap.

  64. EX -SN says:

    @HUZ
    I’m not sure of the exact terms of SN’s Oilers, Canucks and Flames regional rights but as Art mentioned the deals are usually 3 years or so. I’m pretty confident SN’s regional rights expire in the next year or so.

    As soon as the 12 year deal was announced by SN, TSN quickly came out and stated that they wouldn’t give up on hockey and re-signed their top talent. SN did make an approach to some TSN talent, but TSN did a good job locking them in. At this point it would a major coup for SN to steal away some of the TSN talent. If/when there is a shake up of SN NHL talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if they lure a TSN personality over.

    As for the Jays and WWE on SN – Rogers owns the Blue Jays so naturally they get first dibs on the Jays rights. At one point TSN and the Jays were owned by Labatts, so there was a relationship there.
    I can’t see the Jays on TSN as long as Rogers owns the team. Even if TSN “outbid” SN for the Blue Jays rights, it wouldn’t look good to go with someone outside the Rogers family. Relinquishing the Jays rights, even for an obscene amount of money, would leave a huge whole in SN’s programming that they would then have to fill.

    Likewise WWE won’t be moving from SN anytime soon. Rogers and WWE have a deal until 2024 for distribution of WWE network in Canada as well as rights to WWE programming.

    The Vancouver “bureau” just doesn’t make sense anymore. At one point when SN tried to remain true to being a regional network content was specifically created and aimed at the region. If you watch SN regional channels now, they for the most part have the same schedule. It’s only during NHL season with multiple games on that you will see SN West and SN Pacific break away to a regional game. Don Taylor was pushed out to save money, same with the cancelling of the morning show with Cybulski and Cameron. Cameron is back in Toronto now and still with SN.

    Having the studio in Vancouver and the crews in Toronto was an attempt to minimize staffing, and also to claim that SN had some west coast content. The Toronto based crew would work until approximately 3am each morning to shoot the morning show with the Studio in Vancouver. They would shoot the 1am edition of SN Central and then just keep going with the Vancouver show. This would minimize the need to have a crew come in the morning to shoot a morning show.

    The truth is counting for overtime penalties etc, and just the logistics of producing the show across the country were a pain in the ass for everyone involved. And the content of the morning show was not that different than the 1am show.

    You’ll actually notice that SN has moved away from typical sports news shows like SN Central. Highlights are more often consumed online so the need for a sports news show isn’t there as much. They got rid of the 6pm show with Hazel Mae and replaced it with Tim and Sid, which focuses on sports issues, highlights and is based around their personalities and now they’ve cancelled the morning show. Highlights are pushed to SN360 or the web now.

    Also instead of having a full crew to produce a full news show through the day, SN staffs a skeleton crew through the slow period of 9-5 each day for the purpose of doing highlight/news inserts when needed or if breaking news happens. These are your “updates” with Faizal.

  65. EX -SN says:

    The other thing to consider with the Blue Jays is SN has made a major investment into 4K and a commitment into broadcasting all Jays games in 4K.

    One of the things I find interesting is the fate of the UFC rights in Canada. When the UFC was building up steam 5-8 years ago SN was heavily invested in it. Even when theScore became SN360 it was meant as an outlet for all the “extreme” or alternate sports (WWE, UFC, Redbull Crashed Ice etc). Once hockey became the be all and end all that vision for SN360 was scrapped and it’s basically now a spill over channel for the other SN channels. TSN bought up the UFC rights in a deal with Fight Netrwork, but other than showing the pre-lims and some other cards, they don’t do much to push UFC.

    @Mike V
    I’m not fully aware of the length of Flames/Oilers and Canucks deals, but 5-7 years seems a bit long. When I was at SN there was only a few years left on the deals.

  66. Mike V says:

    Ex-SN, how long ago was that? Canucks were re-upped for 10 years, through to 2023 last time. http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/sportsnet-signs-10-year-canucks-deal/

    Flames & Oilers are to 2020.

  67. Art says:

    UFC’s popularity Canada was tied to GSP

    Once he stepped away the casual fan did too. there will always be fans but not as many.

  68. EX -SN says:

    @mike V

    I stand corrected!

  69. Art says:

    maybe if Rogers were to sell anything off to TSN it would be some of those regional games.

    still don’t see it. but it makes more sense to me

  70. billyjoejimbob says:

    Not buying the TSN quote in the Shoalts story. Posturing. They have asked about games. Big internal debate at Rogers…take the money (giving them games), or don’t let them off the mat?

    And sources tell billyjoejimbob Ron & Don may appear after games in the playoffs. Being discussed. The first step to a return?

  71. Original Mitch says:

    If ratings were down 16 percent last year when 5 Canadian teams were in the hunt and making playoffs and they are down 16 percent this year with zero Canadian teams in the hunt and making playoffs, then there is no correlation between the two. Sportsnet can’t just blame Canadian teams for lack of viewership, there is no cause and effect here.

  72. Art says:

    Wait so are they down 16 % in 2014-15 and then an additional 16 in 2015-2016? or just 16 percent total?

    If it’s a additional 16% then yeah the Canadian teams had an impact

  73. Sam In Scarb says:

    Here is an open letter to rogers posted on SOWNY this morning.
    He/She is not alone in the opinions.

    An Open Letter To Rogers Media….

    Sure lousy teams like Toronto and my beloved Canadiens helped to stink up the joint at Rogers this year….

    But these pr!cks at Rogers are their own worst enemies…making the customer jump through hoops to watch N.H.L. games…then blacking out your favourite team constantly…even though you live nearly 5 hundred miles from their arena. WTF is that all about????? Well here’s a little tip Rogers….I only jump for the Mrs. these days and that’s it. Their marketing of their hockey product exudes greed pure and simple. Why?? No one can provide me with anything approaching a satisfactory answer. Even though they are my worst self-professed enemy I would pay for a product I found to be worthwhile…because it’s Canada and because it’s hockey. And even with that….these F’ucks still can’t get it right.

    Now considering the position they find themselves in they may have to begin to accommodate the paying customer rather than Lording over them. Lord over me and I’ll tell you to go F’uck your hat. I can’t make that any clearer. So until you provide a decent product at a fair price and let Me watch MY team and stop acting like your crap don’t stink….go F’uck your hat….Got it ????? You’ll get ZERO dollars from me and a whole host of others.
    Think about it and let me know what you decide. Till then…suffer in silence because I don’t want to hear about “your problems” My best advice to you is blow it out your @$$….

    Yours truly,

    Unclefester

  74. Mike V says:

    Rogers is not responsible for the local blackout rules though. They are set by the leagues and are the exact same under the new contract that they were under the old one.

    Uncle Fester might not be alone but it doesn’t make him any less ignorant.

  75. Curt says:

    Again though, wouldn’t $5.2 billion grant you the right to renegotiate the blackout rules?

  76. Art says:

    I’m a Rogers hater

    But that open letter was a mess. He’s a Hab fan like me, so I know the real issue he has. He used to be able to watch all the Habs games on RDS nationaly and now he thinks he can’t.

    but in reality. to get RDS you used to have to subscribe to the French package $7.99 a month from Rogers. or the 7 months of the NHL season that’s $56 bucks. If you want preason it’s another 8 for September.

    Now the games are blackout on RDS. so drop the french channel pack. You can now subscribe to LNH Centre Ice (French) for $60. He can be right back to watching every Habs game out of market for basiclly the same price.

    Too many Habs fans are flipping out over this issue because (a) we were kind of spoiled in the past. and (b) we don’t know about this $60 option.

    And like Mike V said Rogers doesn’t control blackouts the NHL does.

    lots of reason to be upset with Rogers but not this. He should do his homework before flipping out. And clean up the language it doesn’t help.

  77. Art says:

    5.2 bill was for the national package. Teams still want their regional deals and the league still wants to sell NHL Centre Ice or Game Centre Live

  78. Mike V says:

    ESPN/TNT is giving the NBA $24B for the new national deal coming next year and as far as I know that league will still have local blackout rules in place.

  79. Art says:

    WOW 24B over how many years?

  80. Curt says:

    I haven’t watched an NHL game in a few years – the on-ice product is simply just too boring for me to bother, never mind the production. But it is absurd that regional games are blacked out. Hockey has a much more regional appeal than the NBA. And when you’re paying that kind of money I would have expected Pelley to pressure the NHL into pressuring its teams to relax the blackout restrictions in Canada.

  81. Art says:

    bottom line as much as fans hate blackouts, It doesn’t make sense to remove them from a buisness stand point.

    NHL gets to sell NHL Centre Ice/ Game Centre

    Teams get to sell Regional deals

    Rogers doesn’t want to pay more for games that won’t get big ratings nationaly.

    The current model works for everyone…. Other than out of market fans ofcorse we get screwed.

  82. EX -SN says:

    Regional games are negotiated with the teams not the league. As discussed regional contracts are in place for a number of years. Rogers can’t just demand to change the terms of the contract “just because”.

    I agree with the sentiment that regional blackouts are an outdated model, but until the contracts expire it’s what viewers and broadcasters are stuck with. I also agree with Mike V that Rogers is not to blame about blackouts. The one thing I will fault Rogers with is when they announced the NHL deal they gave conflicting statements about how the deal would impact blackouts and it confused the viewers.

    The blackouts are meant to protect the teams, but operate basically in the opposite way the old NFL blackouts worked. The NFL was worried that if viewers could watch their local team on TV they would never turn up at the stadium, so they blacked out the game if a certain % of the seats weren’t sold.

    The logic behind the NHL blackouts is this: Lets say the Leafs are the most beloved team across the country with fans across all regions. If leafs games were available in Vancouver, then those fans would watch Leafs games and not Canuck’s games, therefore hurting the Canucks ability to sell their non-national broadcast rights and in turn ad space etc for that broadcast. I would argue it’s some flawed logic and dumb, but again it’s not the broadcaster that sets those rules.

    Also it is used as a way to push people into paying for the NHL Center Ice (all games on cable/satellite) or GameCenter live (streaming). The blackout rules for GameCenter live are a bit convoluted but Rogers is changing the rules to get as many games as possible on there.

    In short – Are blackouts dumb and should they be a thing of the past? Yes.
    Is it Rogers fault that they exist? No.

  83. EX -SN says:

    As for that open letter and Sowny as forum – it’s a mess.

    Sowny is basically people who have been out of the industry for decades and like to reminisce about “the good old days” without even acknowledging the reality of the media/broadcasting landscape as it stands today.

  84. Joe says:

    Good insight by EX-SN and terrible news for Gord Cutler, one of the finest NHL Broadcasters in Canada. However, if look back to my post below 2 years ago, I predicted that all the top people Keith Pelley hired at time of the NHL deal will be in trouble. With 200 layoffs already at Rogers due to lost revenue on the NHL deal, they are now going after top people with top salaries. It’s a shame. Spending 5.2 Billion on NHL was ludricrous. I don’t know how this gets any better and we are only in year 2. TSN has a great variety of programming(not just hockey and baseball). I’m sure seeing that Rogers is in trouble with this deal, TSN will not help them out. Once the Blue Jays start a downward trend in a couple of years to rebuild, Rogers is in trouble and everything will go back to that NHL deal. Scott Moore might be next but he has ties to Rick Brace who took over from Keith and ran TSN/CTV for many years. But it might be Rick’s bosses, Guy Laurence and CO. who pull the plug on Scott as they were the ones who pulled the plug on Gord. Very anxious times for all Executives hired by Keith at Rogers right now.

    ***************************************

    Joe says:
    April 17, 2015 at 12:14 pm
    It’s pretty obvious he is leaving before this 12 year deal blows up big time. It will be tough to make any profits after overspending 5.2 billion for the NHL rights. They clearly don’t have the on-air personnel to attract the younger audience and there is not an appetite for all things hockey in Canada to watch all those games from the audience and advertisers.

    Also, he was gunning for the President/CEO of Rogers and that didn’t pan out when they hired a more experienced Guy Laurence who more than likely pushed him out so he can bring in his own people.

    However, his legacy will be this Rogers NHL deal which is not looking good after Year 1. Stay tuned for more changes for all those Executives hired by Keith who are now obviously watching their backs for a domino effect.

  85. Pete says:

    Thanks EX-SN for the enlightening answers. There are so many more I can think of that I’d be curious to the answers of.

    I find the dismissal of Cutler a breath of fresh air. I didn’t think Rogers had the stones to do something drastic and recognize their product is crap. Would be interesting to know if it was the delusional and stubborn Moore who made the call, or Rick Brace above him. If the latter, having no previous ties to Rogers and coming from a company whose hockey broadcasts are widely viewed as being superior, I’m hopeful he instills a much better direction in trying to salvage this deal.

    For me, punting Strombo and restoring MacLean as host would go a long way to bringing respectability back to the HNiC brand. The Leafs and the rest of the Canadian teams sucking is an excuse — I’m not tuning out because the teams are bad, I’m doing so because of the broadcasts.

    If Don is indeed going to be pushed into retirement, I wouldn’t mind seeing the reincarnation of Behind the Mask with Kelly Hrudey. I find him to be one of the few bright spots.

    I think there is a role for Kypreos in the whole thing, just not being the face of it. He has come a long way as an insider. If he’s the third voice as opposed to the main one, he’d be fine.

    Would also make sense to tighten up the broadcasts. Is it really necessary to have Strombo, Millard, Hextall, Amber and Marek all as hosts on different nights? Seems excessive and a waste of money. (Maybe this has already been curtailed — as I mentioned above, I don’t watch much anymore)

  86. Joe says:

    Not fair to pin this the awful broadcasts to just Gord and his team. But I do agree with Pete, the Sportsnet broadcasts are not very good or up to par with TSN’s. TSN does have the better personalities and major changes need to be made for Sportsnet to improve. The problem is, the best broadcasters are at TSN and as EX-SN mentioned Sportnet tried to get some of them to come over but they all got raises to stay. So now you have to work with what you have and Strombo is definitely not the LEAD guy. Ron will be back hosting, Strombo needs a new role and major on-air changes will be made now. Scott Moore needs to find a way to get the right chemistry. The problem is the young guys, Marek, Millard, Kyrpreos, Johnson, Friedman, etc are just not grabbing anyone’s attention. The older guys in studio, Healy, Cox, and whoever else are decent but are not keeping people to watch the intermissions. Not sure how to fix it but something has to be done and Scott Moore needs to move some people out and bring some fresh talent in to revamp the entire hockey broadcasts.
    TSN’s hockey broadcast( Habs, Ottaw, World Jr’s) sing in comparison. Maybe they need to take a page out of their playbook. The funny thing is Rick Brace and Moore were both running the place at TSN and can do it, the problem is finding the equivalent to the on-air talent that TSN has on their hockey broadcasts. That is not happening anytime soon. Could be a long 10 more years at Rogers Sportsnet.

  87. Original Mitch says:

    great article here: http://rrj.ca/lost-in-translation-3/
    its a long one and has nothing to do with Sports per say, but the parallels with the NHL and sports properties are pretty obvious.
    Rogers bit off more than it can chew. Too big..too fast. Its not really all that hard to explain. Raptors games on SN1 (which few get), mlb playoffs over Leafs in October. Tried spreading their wings and it has backfired. They could have continued to dominate MLB and regional hockey, but instead went crazy buying properties they had no room (or talent) for.
    Talent is generally awful and 2nd rate at Sportsnet. that’s a fact. But taking our national sport and shrinking viewership by more than 30 percent in 2 years? that’s a whole other discussion.

  88. dogpounder says:

    Best comments section I’ve seen in awhile.

  89. Mullet says:

    I agree 100% dogpounder!

  90. Huz says:

    @Original Mitch

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Rogers owns everything when it comes to Sports.

    I remember when we could get all NBA, NHL games on just the main TSN, Sportsnet channels. Now, we’re forced to buy the specialty channels if we want programming that would usually be on a main cable channel.

    I also remember last year, NHL playoff games being on Sportsnet 360,One. Those games were usually split between the CBC and TSN’s main channels before the Rogers deal. Same with the WWE, they used to be on TSN’s main channel, too.

    Once the playoffs start for the NHL, I’m expecting Blue Jay’s games to be on Sportsnet 360,One.

    I don’t know why Bettman could not just split the rights among 3 networks like the NBA, MLB, NFL etc.

  91. EX -SN says:

    @edge

    I must have missed your comment yesterday but here are my thoughts:
    You are correct about the CBC not taking any ad revenue in the current deal it has with SN. If SN decides it needs to sell off some games and does so with CBC, it won’t be under the same terms. If the CBC bought some games from SN/extended its hockey relationship it would likely involve a preferable rate/per game and allow CBC to make some ad revenue off the games. Again because there is an existing relationship between SN and CBC other terms would be introduced to sweeten the deal for both sides – ie CBC can collect ad revenue but SN retains some editorial control and control over the look of the broadcast, as well as a commitment by SN to remain in the CBC for X number of years. The main reason the CBC has sworn off sports is because the cost of purchasing the rights has gotten too high, however it is still doing olympics, world cup soccer etc. You’ll also notice that for those events it has partnered with SN in the last few years, so the relationship is strong.

    I agree with you that SN overestimated Canada’s appetite for hockey. I like your comparison of the NHL in Canada and NFL in the US not being on the same level in terms for fans desire to watch the product.

    SN is extremely thankful the Jays are doing well. The Jays playoff run last year saved SN. I see what you are saying about Jays not getting top dollar for their broadcast rights by going with SN as their broadcaster, but don’t think SN is getting free content. Rogers obviously owns the Jays abut they still have to “purchase” the rights from the team. The difference is the money is just being passed around internally in the company. This is essentially the same deal with the Leafs, TFC and Raptors. They are all MLSE teams, half owned by Rogers and Bell. And as such both broadcasters just split the games. Or even Turner broadcasting with the Braves. Any of those sports teams could not survive if they were giving away their broadcast rights to their corporate owners for free.

    If you look at it from the team’s perspective I can see where it looks like a bad deal, but the reality is they are one company and allocating money to different divisions in that company. You can bet that when the books are opened the Jays have a bit of leverage in that they can say “look at the ratings/revenue we brought in, we need a bigger budget”.

    @Mullet
    TSN would have the money and the set up ready to go, but I really can’t see SN selling off games to TSN. Doing this would basically be admitting defeat and giving TSN a chance to catch up again in the ratings. CBC would be ready too and I would imagine it would playout as I mentioned above. Going with the CBC would less like “we couldn’t handle it and had to sell off games” but more like “We have a great relationship with the CBC and we are expanding our partnership to bring more hockey to Canadians”.

    If the games being sold off were for Wed, Sat, Sun and part of the 12 year deal then yes they would be national games. If they were part of the regional deals then they would remain so.

    A few other things to consider is that SN and the NHL have both made major commitments to eachother so there is some flexibility. Both want it to succeed and there have been a few instances where the NHL eased up and on a few restrictions and allowed SN to air a game nationally. The one thing I am not sure about though is that if SN decides it wants to sell off games, can they do it unilaterally? or will they need the NHL’s permission/input?

    @HUZ
    As much as the Jays success is a blessing it does pose a bit of a problem for SN. The Jays playoff run last year created a scheduling conflict for SN. They put the games on the main SN channels and pushed early season NHL games to the others as you mentioned. They are lucky that the hockey and baseball seasons are at opposite ends when they overlap (ie baseball is starting as hockey goes into playoffs and vice versa)

    For this season there is a lot of hope and attention on the Jays and viewership is going to be very good for the opening games of the Jays season. With no Canadian teams in the playoffs, and Canadians indicating that they are going to barely watch the the playoffs, Rogers has hinted that they want to put less emphasis on airing the NHL playoffs. Obviously the NHL isn’t happy about this, but from Rogers perspective if the choice is a Blue Jays vs Redsox game with David price pitching conflicting with a NHL playoff game with two american teams, I can see SN deciding to put the Jays game on the main SN channels and pushing the playoff game to CBC, CityTV, SNone etc.

    I’m not too sure of the Raptors playoff rights, but if SN has a few playoff games and the Raptors do well, then it will be very interesting to watch how all this is juggled.
    .

  92. Mullet says:

    @ EX-SN

    I totally agree that SN & NHL made a major commitment to succeed, but (maybe just a rumour) SN wanted to picky back off of NBC for playoffs (save $ with no CAN teams), NHL said no.

    If this is true, there’s not much wiggle room for SN in this 12y contract and I’d assume SN would have to consult the NHL regarding selling off games.

  93. Original Mitch says:

    the nhl playoffs will consist of Crosby, Toews, Doughty, Holtby and other incredible Canadian born players…but yeah, blame the ratings on no Canadian-based team.
    Cop. out.

  94. GoldStar says:

    It was evident from the beginning of Rogers’ NHL deal they wanted to facelift their broadcast team. But they couldn’t poach any TSN talent and are now stuck for the near future with the existing on-air crew. They were basically forced to blend in the CBC talent as part of the new SN team – while signing former TSN castoffs Randorf and Romanuk. They have been unwilling to break their main hockey trifecta of Millard/Kypreos/MacLean for the past eight years, so what makes us think it is going to change heading into next season?

    If you listen to Toronto Mike’s podcast with James Duthie, he pretty much confirms (although remaining coy) that SN lobbied hard to get him, but in the end re-signed with TSN (as referenced above when he and many of the TSN hockey guys received hefty raises to remain with the network). It’s funny how Duthie can be paired with any number of the TSN talent and still have chemistry with the panel. Millard is always out of touch with his panel when both Kypreos & MacLean are absent. I am positive had SN snatched Duthie, Millard would have been canned or relegated to hosting CIS hockey.

    Speaking of canned, both TSN and SN (it appears) have each terminated their Director of Communications and are now being run with skeleton crews without someone heading up their Communication departments. I find this interesting as we have witnessed many members of the media losing their jobs the past couple years and now this is trickling down to the media departments of the two biggest sports networks in Canada. I guess the chickens have finally come home to roost.

    Additionally, with all the recent people gassed at Rogers, I am sure the remaining SN staff are looking over their shoulders. Can’t imagine it being a fun environment (regardless of the all the excitement around the Jays) for anyone. Basically “Dead Man Walking” for everyone left there.

  95. Mike S says:

    Jonah Keri is on 590 with Walker right now……….don’t know if that means his exclusive agreement with 1050 from last year is over or not……….he has been appearing on 1050 every once in a while so far this year

  96. Big G says:

    Predictions leading up to the end of the NHL rights deal:

    With the NHL ratings struggling out of the gate under Rogers ownership of the broadcast rights I would assume competitors are taking notes and getting ready to capitalize at the next auction for NHL broadcast rights. Rogers will probably have an additional competitor as it seems like Shaw has been positioning itself as a player for sports content. Shaw will be looking to push live content through it’s newly acquired mobile division called wind mobile. By the time the NHL broadcast rights are once again up for grabs, Shaw will have completely built out it’s network to service it’s wireless customers and will have fully established themselves as the fourth national carrier. I could also see Shaw using chorus it’s entertainment/media arm to go to Larry Tannambaum for 50% of his 25% stake in mlse giving both 12.5%. What would Shaw offer? Larry would get a seat on the chorus entertainment board and a boatload of cash, while maintaining part ownership in mlse. Shaw will also likely sell it’s 50% stake in shomi to Rogers or Telus

  97. Mike V says:

    Ex-SN, I thought the pretty much same thing about the Jays/NHL Playoffs on TV –CBC would get their traditional doubleheader every night, SN1/360 would show the other games and the main channel would feature baseball to maximize exposure followed by maybe a late west coast start. But then the broadcast schedule came out last week and Jays are relegated to 1 pretty much every weeknight from Wednesday to mid-May.

    Jonah did a TV hit from Montreal as well on the weekend. Think his TSN exclusivity was only in place time at ESPN/Grantland .

    Shaw just got out of the media business by selling it to Corus to focus on Wind. They also abandoned the idea of a Global-affiliated sports network years ago. Sports are not a focus for them right now.

  98. Holden says:

    With all this talk about Sportsnets streaming service going around, does anybody here know with any certainty if the Jays are to be blacked out on MLB.tv either now or during this season? Does anybody here currently subscribe to MLB and are the Jays games working in Canada (BC specifically)? I can’t find a definitive answer anywhere. It’s a top notch service and I’m on the fence about purchasing it again this season with this potential blackout hanging over it.

    Fantastic comments section, btw. Great discourse.

  99. EX -SN says:

    @mike V

    again I stand corrected! Ever since leaving I don’t pay too much attention to the exact SN details, but can speculate based on what I experienced and saw when I was there.

    You seem to be on the ball with exact numbers and figures.

  100. GoldStar says:

    @ EX-SN

    Did you see my comments above about the hockey SN talent? What are your thoughts?

  101. Whitey says:

    Interesting discussion and helpful to have insider information from ex-sn…as an ex-cbcer, a lot of this makes sense. As a westerner, main hassle here is the fact we can’t get regional games that we want, i.e. Flames and Oilers. Living in BC we only have access to Canucks regional games. In past, we often were able to buy single games through Flames site, but that’s not available any more as well. Definitely people changed are need to attract people back to SN telecasts. In-studio productions just can’t compare with what hockey fans have had in the past. Strombo and Kypreos need to go. The hockey IQ of both these guys is elementary at best, and that’s diminished the abilities of both Friedman and Hrudey…as one earlier post mentioned, it’s grade school stuff. I’m thinking one of the biggest hurdles to overcome will be getting Bettman’s permission (yes, permission) to bring MacLean back into a major role. Obviously he played a major role in dumping RM, and it likely was a requirement of SN to make sure Ron was pushed into the background. SN has errored in thinking hockey fans, especially fans over 34, will pay for different platforms. Yep, younger people might be willing to carry around their phones and watch a game, but not older folks. SN had forgotten that watching television is habit…and old habits die hard, especially for Canadian hockey fans. Change doesn’t come easily. Yes, CBC is carrying Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday nights, but CBC is doing so gratis. As well, Rogers gets all the advertising revenue. Whomever signed that deal for CBC should have been canned because the Saturday night games are where SN gets its largest audiences. If the CBC deal were to be extended past the four years, CBC should make SN pay the piper…pay for the games to be televised on CBC, and that just might happen with a infusion of money from the feds, which hopefully will bring about a change in attitude at CBC itself. (That’s a whole different story.) Bottom line: What hockey fans are getting these days is crap… crappy production, crappy on air performance resulting in caps ratings. All good reasons why Pelley left for the PGA European tour…Hopefully Moore is next. Former CBCers who thought they could ride on a fortutious deal with a desperate CBC, and it’s come back to bit them. Good luck SN. NOT

  102. Moe Howard says:

    Every opening day I look forward to watching McCown’s show from the ballpark. Why the hell would they put Shannon on with him?? He’s bad enough on hockey but know nothing about baseball!!

  103. Rob J says:

    Finally. Back to the petty ‘______ sucks’ comment we know and love here.

  104. Erik says:

    @RobJ

    Oh thank God! I’ve been waiting! the following people suck

    -Everybody!

    ok that felt great

  105. Whitey says:

    One other thought….absolutely disgraceful that SN used John Shannon for players interviews rather than MacLean at the Farewell to Rexall. The only saving grace…it wasn’t Strombo. MacLean is an Albertan, grew up in Red Deer at a time the Oilers were beginning their Stanley Cup quests. As well, his institutional memory of the NHL, Oilers, Gretzky and other is unmatched. Another slap in the face…to MacLean, and not only Oiler fans, but all Canadian hockey fans.

  106. dogpounder says:

    @holden

    Until answering your question no longer sets off alarm bells…. I won’t answer your question…

    *wink wink*

  107. EX -SN says:

    @goldstar

    SN wanted to put it’s own stamp on the NHL broadcast. When the deal was put together and announced there was a lot of optimism of what they could do with the NHL broadcasts. Both SN and NHL wanted to shake things up but they didn’t think they were in over their heads and needed TSN talent. They were always going to keep the Kypreos, Millard, MacLean trio and planned on adding the best people they can. There’s no doubt that some of those people are at TSN.
    They also knew they needed more people because there was going to be more games, and more games to cover. Bringing in Strombo was an attempt to moderninze the HNIC franchise, and Bettman and the NHL were supportive of the strategy.
    They kept the CBC, Ron and Don, on as partners for four years to slowly transition from the old HNIC to the new one. Believe it or not SN didn’t come out of the blocks with the intent to “destroy” HNIC – they just miscalculated the rate of change that the public would tolerate. They weren’t forced or get “stuck” with blending CBC with SN. They took them on as part of a plan.
    If SN thought that they needed to get TSN talent to succeed, they would basically be admitting their product was second rate all along. They were always going to keep SN talent and compliment them with the best people they could get.

    So why would it change next year? Because it’s not working out. And I’m not talking about people complaining about the talent on twitter. People aren’t watching, ratings are dropping and so are ad revenues. They need to try something different otherwise it’s a downward spiral.

    Gord Cutler was the SVP of NHL Production, he didn’t have anything to do with communications. He was responsible for the overall NHL product/broadcasts. “Communications” is a different role altogether. Rob Corte, has taken over Cutlers responsibility, and he’ll do well.

    As for the other layoffs at SN consider this. In the lead up to the first year of the deal SN wanted to make sure it had the resources and people to make it a success. In that process a lot of money was thrown at it and the production staff got bloated. Alot of producers, promo producers, support staf etc were added. The layoffs thinned that out.
    There has been no layoffs of unionized SN production crews who are part of the NHL broadcasts(ie camera ops, editors, graphics etc) so it’s not a skeleton crew. Seeing people losing their jobs is never a fun thing and we shouldn’t bask in it. Are other SN employees nervous that they might be next – yes. Morale is low but with a successful Jays season that will turn around. Employees in other Rogers Media properties like CityTV etc are at greater risk than SN employees to get laid off

    Sports and SN are the core of Rogers broadcast strategy so its the most stable of the Rogers Media places to be. And despite how much people like to hate Rogers, SN is actually a cool and fun place to be a part of.

  108. Claire A Fye says:

    @EX-SN I agree with most of what you’re saying. Of course Sportsnet can’t admit there’s is an inferior broadcast, at least not directly. But I think behind closed doors at the Rogers Campus they certainly know changes are necessary. Strombo was hired to grab a younger demographic than a Ron MacLean would. But it hasn’t worked. Millard, MacLean and Kypreos have been overexposed. The best play-by -play guys are still at TSN ( Miller and Cuthbert) and Ray Ferraro is unquestionably the best colour guy. Those guys are all front and centre in the telecasts, and until Sportsnet finds some better alternatives, the perception will always be they’re inferior. I really think that’s the crux of the problem and it will only get worse when Cherry leaves.

  109. Claire A Fye says:

    Don’t take that to mean I’m a Cherry fan by the way. I’m not. But it’s a sign of just how bad the telecasts are that he’s the one bringing credibility

  110. EX -SN says:

    @claire a fye
    Without a doubt they know they know things are going bad. They’ll just never admit it and they have to put on a brave face.

    I think getting rid of Cherry is a good thing. I would say most people are over his boorish personality.

  111. Claire A Fye says:

    Except the salesmen! Still gets a spike

  112. Goldstar says:

    @EX-SN

    I realize Cutler, Corte, Ed Hall etc were not part of “Communications” but in charge of Production. I was not referring to any of the SN production teams running on a skeleton crew.

    Just found it interesting that a “media” company would eliminate the head of their “media” department for SN and run it with a “skeleton crew”.

    I agree that SN wanted to put their own imprint on the hockey broadcasts. There is good knowledgable hockey talent at the network (i.e. Marek, Johnston, Friedman) but the fact is: Millard/Kyperos/MacLean as the face of SN hockey broadcasts has completely turned off viewers. They just can’t compete with the Duthie/MacKenzie/Dreger/LeBrun lineup. And you are bang on. SN and Moore will NEVER admit the inferiority complex. That attitude has carried over from the Beeforth/Akande days.

    I am a big Strombo fan and know his passion for hockey runs deep, but even I must admit he was ‘mis-cast’ as host of HNIC. Just makes sense he and Ron should switch roles as Strombo would be a great choice for Hometown Hockey. Although, Ron is a star in his own right and I am sure he is a huge draw for the those attending the live show in the featured city every week. But I can’t anticipate any chemistry between Ron and the current HNIC panel. And there lies the problem for SN/Rogers. Very interested at the potential on-air shuffling by next season.

    Also, I must bring this up as I am watching the Jays home opener. Is it me or has SN recycled the same “Coming Home” promo from 4 years ago and just updated with new shots from last season? Did the promo producers take a year off after the Jays season? Very lazy stuff.

  113. Big G says:

    @Mike V

    Chorus is the media arm of Shaw, given that the two companies are controlled by the Shaw Family. Shaw is the holding company for all the business units i.e Chorus, wind, Internet, Cable. Splits like the Shaw and Chorus are strategic, nonetheless they are one. i.e Cbs and Viacom.

    I think Shaw given the content strength in their portfolio will eventually be a big player in sports regardless of what they try to say. Sports will definitely round out Shaws media assets. Don’t sleep on Shaw Communications. Sports will greatly accommodate their current transformation.

  114. Paul G. says:

    @ Rob J

    While I normally agree with you about the ongoing comments about on air personalities; I agree with Moe’s comment about this particular show.

    I too look forward to the annual broadcast from the home opener and upon seeing the opening camera shot my reaction was the same as his, upon seeing Shannon at the table.

    My issue simply is the inclusion of a hockey individual on an all baseball show; at a major Blue Jays event. I would have had the same reaction if any other hockey commentator was used. Surely an event such as this warranted an all baseball knowledgeable team.

  115. Huz says:

    I agree that it’s stupid to have Hockey guys appear on a Baseball broadcast and vice versa. They did the same thing with Doug Maclean when he was covering Basketball.

    Rogers does cheap out when it comes to promos and commercials. I have heard that Coming Home song a bunch of times before the start of a season.

    Rogers also fired Tim Thompson because they had to pay royalties for songs that he used. If the CBC can pay, then why can’t Rogers? They could’ve used that million dollars on their set to actually put on a good production. He was one of the reasons why HNIC was a must watch show every Saturday night. The guy they’ve replaced him with makes some of the most boring openings ever. Let’s hope Rogers comes to their senses and re-hires him.

  116. Cirroc says:

    Not only are the SN broadcasts inferior, but there is a very real likability factor missing with some of it’s key players, namely Kypreos, and Healy. Now, I can put up with second rate, hell I’ll watch the Hamilton Bulldogs Cable 14 broadcasts, but I won’t watch two miserable clowns emitting their smugness all over my tv.

  117. Robert says:

    Blair would have made much more sense than Shannon for the home opener, but he’s been sick all week. Brunt would have been good too, but what’s his relationship with McCown like these days? They would have been together at Pitch Talks on Thursday. I wonder how that went.

  118. Curt says:

    It’s refreshing having someone like EX-SN validate what a lot of us have been saying for a long time: Sportsnet product is sub-standard. He/she also has the true insider’s perspective of why that is and what it might mean. Great stuff. It’s also nice not to have have to put up with the Rogers apologists who like to shout down anyone critical of SN as “haters” or some such nonsense. I hope EX-SN sticks around.

  119. Curt says:

    Actually, “substandard product” is my impression. EX-SN, to be fair, is describing why Rogers is having a tough time.

  120. EX -SN says:

    @Curt
    I just want to clarify that I don’t necessarily think SN’s product is substandard. I know all the people at SN are very talented and hardworking. I will admit that SN’s NHL broadcast hasn’t been well received by viewers. Many inside SN recognize that things need to change/improve, but they also know when they do things well. I would say SN Jays/baseball team is great. Zaun, Campbell, Buck,Tabler, Davis and now Dan Shulman are some amazing talent.

    Like it or not SN has the NHL rights for another 10 years so the broadcast will be refined and improved.

    I don’t want to seem like a critic/ nor an apologist. I think I’m commenting on the reality of the situation.

    As I mentioned before SN is actually a great place to work but unfortunately people tend to bash SN and Rogers for the sake of it and link what Rogers might be doing with it’s other divisions to SN’s product. (ie My cellphone bill is too high so therefore I’m glad Rogers NHL ratings are down)

  121. billyjoejimbob says:

    The other thing people have to realize here is how badly CBC was getting ripped at the end of its HNIC run. That’s been largely forgotten. People HATED that broadcast.

    Ron and Don were under siege. Every week, CBC was getting comments saying, “We can’t wait until you lose the rights.” Then, it happens…Sportsnet makes radical changes, and people hate that too. It’s a reminder of, “Be careful what you wish for.”

  122. d says:

    Am I naive to think that sportsnet never expected to profit from this deal and simply wanted to keep content from tsn.

    There is no chance Rogers is selling games to Bell.

    No chance. Ever.

  123. Alex says:

    I was hoping also that the home opener would be the rapproachment for Bob and Brunt. C’est la vie.

  124. Curt says:

    @EX-SN: I hear you. That’s why I did my quick follow-up – didn’t want to put words in your mouth.

    Agree about Dan Shulman – he’s just so good. Unfortunately, I can’t say I think the rest of the SN baseball crew are good at all (which is why I watch MLB.tv instead of SN). But again, that’s just my opinion. Cheers.

  125. Huz says:

    Even if Rogers were to let Ron Maclean host HNIC again, it will not work if Kypreos is still there. Guys like Kypreos, Doug Maclean can never keep their mouths shut and listen to other peoples opinions. Look what they do to Darren Millard every Wednesday night.

    I would keep Friedman and Hrudey, then add another person. I also would stop with these goofy segments with the Nets, the social media stuff etc.

    They also need to stop using that stupid Rogers Skycam, I can’t see the game when they use it. The worst part is that they use it during crucial times in the games like power plays.

    I would like to see John Garret and John Shorthouse get more national time along with Dan Murphy. They’re probably tied with Hughson, Simpson for best broadcast crew at Rogers.

  126. Rob in Aurora says:

    Well thanks for all the info ex SN bitbnoebyou lost me. I don’t like Sportsnet’s programming because I think it’s pretty awful and por quality. It has nothing to do with my cell bills because I don’t use Rogers, I’m on Bell…your objectivity is difficult to maintain because you worked there and have friends there. Just because people work hard and rhey aree nive and it’s a great place to work doents mean they produce good shows, they obviously don’t. Dan Shulman is saving that broadcast from being unwatchable for me. The hockey is putrid and the news (hilihht) shows are so bad that they don’t ebwn try to compete with TSN.

    So I just wanted to confirm that to most people with no skin in the game, itbisnt “groupthink” (whatever that means) and it’s nothing to do with “Rogers hate ” it’s completely to do with quality and for the most part it’s inferior. Really inferior…(I’m typing on a phone here, so the quality of this post may be “Sportsnet-like”)

  127. Mike V says:

    Ex-SN, you’re on to something with people’s perceptions and experiences with Rogers’ other departments influencing how they view Sportsnet. I’ve noticed that too; how interchangeable “Rogers” and “Sportsnet” are as if the company is one monolith. It appears to be special because you don’t see that same thing with “Bell” and “TSN”, even though Bell is just as despised by a significant percent of the population who have had billing issues. Not sure how they overcome this as it looks to be pretty entrenched. I would say it could be because Rogers is in the name but if you look to the states with FOX, most people can separate their feelings on the “News” section when looking at “sports”. Ditto for NBC/MSNBC.

  128. Art says:

    Here is one of the things that bugs me most about Rogers, Sportsnet and HNIC today.

    They have no feel for the game, atmosphere or fan experience. That is the biggest difference between HNIC before Rogers and now. They are obsessed with their big studio and insanely large roster of B class talking heads that they forgot about the actual fan experience. Stop trying to prove your smarter than the guys at TSN and just focus on the mood in the arena.

    Here are some examples of what I mean. It’s game 1 of the playoffs, before Ron MacLean would have some poetic deep meaning monolog and then send you to the arena and shut up and let you experience the entire pre show. You got to hear the crowd see those towels waive her the intro songs and see the entire production start to Finnish. As a Hab fan this was HUGELY important. It’s part of the experience, It hypes me up for the game, it’s the playoffs. I want to see the special effect show, I want to see the torch light up the building I wanna here fix you and the player intros I want it all.

    The last 2 years under Rogers, they give you a small taste but not the whole thing and they talk over it. some off the time it’s going on behind Healy talking in the corner. Meanwhile the dummy is standing there holding a noise reader. Stop telling me how noisy the fans are and let me experience it you idiot! It’s not just in MTL but in every building. fans want to get some of the arena experience at home.

    Another example. After the game is over show us the 3 stars on the ice. Don’t just show us a graphic and cut to studio. The Habs have the 1st star throw signed pucks into the crowd then do a on ice interview. I see it on RDS or TVA but not Rogers. Come on Rogers my team just won let me enjoy the celebration a little before you force me to listen to PJ Stock ramble. Again other teams do post game things too let me see it.

    Last night last game of the year. A big salute to the fans and Jerseys being given to fans off players backs. TVA showed it, RDS and CBC have in the past as well. Sportsnet cuts to studio right away.

    Fans want the fan experience. They tuned into see their team not YOU! That’s what Rogers just doesn’t understand. They are obsessed with themselves, their studio, their hosts, their insiders, their this and their that.

    But fans don’t care they want THEIR TEAM!

    Until Rogers gets that they will suck. I can’t wait for 2026

  129. Art says:

    Oh just 1 quick pint to add to that.

    The awesome Intros that used to lead into Hockey Night. That was another thing that used to set the vibe for the night. used to get us hyped up. Tim Thompson did a great job it was just magic. watching those vibes before a big game like Habs/Leafs would give me goose bumps. Just a great way to use music and video to create a feeling.

    Now I get Strombo talking

    You just don’t get it Rogers

  130. Curt says:

    @Rob in Aurora: Agreed. Shulman is class and I’ll watch when he’s working, but I can’t imagine he’ll ever be the full-time guy – he’s too good and ESPN wouldn’t let him go. Although, maybe at some point, he replaces Joe Buck (I hope) at Fox. Apart from Shulman, Shi is also good. But the rest of the SN baseball crew are dog poop.

  131. dogpounder says:

    Ben Nicholson-Smith is not dog poop.

  132. Curt says:

    I’m referring more to the broadcasting side of things. I’ve seen Shi on occasionally, but I don’t remember seeing Ben.

  133. rpm33 says:

    As much as I despise Sportsnet’s hockey coverage (how could they turn the usually excellent Elliotte Friedman into cringe-worthy TV??), I have to blame Bettman/NHL 50% for creating this disaster…I understand Bettman wanted to consolidate to one broadcaster for a long-term to maximize profit, but he never stopped to consider the Canadian fans and the implications of this strategy. If TSN had received the rights with the same terms as Sportsnet, then at least fans would have been well served for 12 years and HNIC would have been somewhat preserved (and I would have trusted TSN to get the much-needed makeover of HNIC right instead of the disaster that is the Sportsnet HNIC)…This deal is yet another example of corporate greed and ego benefiting a small percentage of insiders and everyone else getting meagre scraps from the table.

    This excellent discussion thread reflects the frustration of watching something we love be ruined in front of our eyes and having no power to do anything about it. Does anyone have any ideas of how fans can get our voices heard by the powers-that-be at the NHL and Sportsnet (other than writing letters or staying away in droves from the terrible coverage and letting declining revenues be a proxy for dissatisfaction – though the suits can explain this away by saying it’s the terrible play of Canadian teams that is the cause of the declining viewers)? I realize how ‘pollyana-ish’ this question sounds but I have been so pissed for so long about how Canadian fans have been screwed over by this terrible deal (and my worst nightmares have been confirmed after 2 years of garbage coverage), so any ideas would be appreciated!!

  134. edge says:

    @Mike V,

    As I’ve said above I generally prefer TSN to SN anyway, but I am a Rogers cell phone customer, and on that front I’ve got no complaints other than the bill being a bit higher than I’d like. I think Rogers problem is that, moreso than Bell, they like to brand everything they touch to the point where people may make connections that might not be there. Everyone knows Bell/ESPN owns TSN, but you don’t see the Bell logo all over the network or the Bell named mentioned over every broadcast. That’s not the case with Sportsnet. They make no secret that Rogers owns Sportsnet, that the NHL deal is a Rogers/NHL deal and that Rogers owns the Blue Jays. So when there’s something people don’t like about an NHL broadcast on Sportsnet, they blame Rogers. When there’s something they don’t like about Sportsnet in general, they blame Rogers. When the Blue Jays let David Price walk after all the success they had last year, they blame Rogers.

    @EX-SN
    I remember reading back in the fall how the success of the Blue Jays hurt Rogers because it caused them to move their prized NHL games off the main Sportsnet channel in favor of Blue Jays baseball games. Now the Jays gave them their highest ratings ever, so at the end of the day Rogers was smiling even if the NHL was not. But it’s interesting now how the situation has reversed. I’ve read in the Globe and Mail that because of the decline in ratings for the NHL Rogers has to offer ‘make-goods’ for advertisers during the playoffs, often in a ‘two free ads for every paid spot’ arrangement. Those make goods are so numerous that not only do they take up a ton of inventory for the playoffs (which, due to the lack of Canadian teams will also face a ratings decline), but they also bleed into the ad inventory for Blue Jays games. So the failure of the NHL deal hurts not just the NHL product but the Blue Jays as well. Not fun times at SN.

  135. jbg says:

    @ex_sn is John Shannon involved in production of hockey broadcasts in anyway? Is that not the department he made his name?

  136. EX -SN says:

    @edge

    The Blue Jays playoff run was a bit of a scheduling problem for SN, but a good one at that. The ratings were great but they may have conflicted with the first few weeks of hockey. In the end the Jays were put on the main SN channels as they should have been. Could you imagine the outrage if the Jays playoff games were on SN360 or SNOne?!

    @jbg

    John Shannon is an analyst/talent. He’s not a producer. Well before a show, the producer(s), analysts and others involved in the show have a meeting where they lay out what they want to discuss on the show. The editors then edit any highlights or clips they want to show and the show is packaged. If its a live show or segment they might do a quick run through and then go live with the segment. If it’s live to tape then they’ll keep doing takes until they get it right.

    So Shannon is involved in the make up of the show but ultimately it is the producer who is responsible for the content. Shannon also writes for sportsnet.ca as do most SN talent

  137. yaz says:

    I have made a lot of comments as well about various SN / TSN commentators but SN / CBC / TSN or anybody could be broadcasting the NHL and the ratings would be down. The NHL product is in decline. Nothing happens on the ice.

    What do you think fans think about the game when they’re sitting at home when the commentators themselves like Ferraro are saying ‘A lot of nights I feel like I’m watching soccer on ice.’ or ‘A lot of nights I really really have to dig deep while play is on to think of anything at all to say after the next whistle.’ ( That about the NHL in general, no specific team) And then Kypreos, one of the faces of the Rogers deal reiterating on the Blundell show Apr 7 what he heard Pang say about the CBJ / Leafs game ‘It’s like watching two guys fish.’ Or Jeff O’Neill saying he was in the press box during a game sometime mid-season, I forget, and everyone was saying how incredibly boring the game was – including executives on the Leafs themselves.

    And spare me the ‘I like watching more skill’ default response to this. I am not advocating bringing back the goonery. Bring back the red line to begin with, encourage more creative skilled play. The only thing that would quickly make the game worse would be to make the rink bigger. Like Hayes and O’Neill often say, it’s not the fighting that’s missing, it’s the fire. Players aren’t engaged.

    The product the NHL is serving up to SN to broadcast is substandard and is likely 75% or more of the problem. Putting Ron Maclean back on Saturday night or anybody else will not recover subsequent years of 16% drops in ratings. There is so much money on the line that the NHL will be forced to make substantial changes to the game in the next couple of years. At the rate of 16% a year, ratings will be half what they were in 4 years – and we are half way there. HALF. Consider that number after Rogers promised a 20% increase to begin with. Pick your own personal dream team of broadcasters and sure, they will have an impact on ratings but they won’t recover the decline. Maybe instead of 16 and 16 declines it would have been 12 and 12 at most, but not zero and zero ( which still would have been considered a failure.)

    Change the guys calling the fishing all you want but it’s still fishing.

  138. Cirroc says:

    @Yaz

    You’re bang on about the on ice product. It’s just not that entertaining. Everyone is so well coached and well trained that there are limited amount of breakdowns out there. The teams seem to neutralize each other most nights. I know the Leafs weren’t the most talented team in the league but if I have to watch 60 minutes of cycling then throwing it back to the point I might just die of boredom. I don’t know that the solution is because fitness and coaching certainly aren’t going away.

  139. jbg says:

    I haven’t listened in awhile but Millard seems to be handling the radio show much better. He has been calling people on silly comments this week. Makes it much easier to listen.

  140. Eric says:

    No offence but I think the on ice product complaints, have more to do with your team than the game it self. When the Leafs were playing the Bruins in the Playoffs a couple years back I didn’t hear anyone complaining about coaching making the game dull.

    I talk to a lot of hockey fans from cities all over and I here more complaints about the quality of the game in Toronto than any where else.

    Obviously watching your team struggle is no fun. The team has made the playoffs just once in the last decade and are coming of a rebuilding year with a 30th place finish.

    Yeah That’s not very exciting. I think in a couple of years once the Leafs are back playing competitve hockey and in the playoffs, a lot of these hockey is dull complaints will go away.

    Or maybe you just don’t like hockey and that’s ok too.

  141. yaz says:

    Is Ferraro a Leafs fan? Would he even watch one Leafs game if he wasn’t calling it or forced to talk about them on TSN? Or how about big Leafs fan Darren Pang? How many Leafs games does Panger call? Best to you Eric.

  142. Eric says:

    @Yaz

    Well your Pang Quote was a about a Leaf/CBJ game.
    O’Neil was talking about a Leaf game too.
    Ferraro said a lot of nights it’s like watching soccer. oh well Soccer is the most popular sport in the world so that’s not so bad.

    All sports leagues have dull games.

    Again if you just don’t like Hockey that’s ok. But for me I don’t need them to change it every year trying to chase people that just don’t like it much to begin with. I’ll watch a 1-0 NHL game over any other sport any day of the week.

  143. yaz says:

    Happy fishing.

  144. edge says:

    There was a piece with Scott Moore today in the Star. He shot down the idea of selling games to TSN and then said knowing what he knew now, he would do the deal again in heartbeat. Now, we could brush these comments off as things he absolutely has to say. He has to double-down on the network that pays him and the deal that he helped land. But the fact is two of the people who signed the deal, Nadir Mohammed and Keith Pelley, are now gone. The fact that some significant heads have rolled tells us the losses are large. And ratings aren’t going to get better in the near term. Ratings were down last year even when 5 Canadian teams made the playoffs. So if you’re a believer in Rogers/SN you put all of this on the Leafs and Connor McDavid.

    I maintain that this is a combination of a lot of things both in and out of control of Rogers. They can’t control the performance of the actual teams, of course. They can’t affect the overall lack of scoring in the NHL. But they still have a production that many people find unlikable, whether its Strombo or Kyrpeos or the lack of musical montages or whatever element you can name. How hardheaded they are with these going into next season will be interesting to see. The excuse of, “It’s the Leaf’s fault!” can only run for so long I’d imagine.

  145. Huz says:

    It was only a matter of time, but Sportsnet had moved the Jay’s to Sportsnet One during the NHL playoffs, and I’m expecting the same to happen to the Raptors when their playoffs start.

    This is what happens when one corporation owns the rights to every sport. The consumers get screwed in the end by having to pay more for content that they’d usually get on a normal cable channels.

    If TSN owned some of the rights, we’d never have this problem.

    Thank you, Gary Bettman!

  146. EX -SN says:

    @edge

    VERY interesting article with Moore in The Star indeed. As you mentioned, a lot of what Moore says are things he has to say. Management in any company will never admit that things are going poorly, or if it is they will try and spin it. After all they are accountable to the shareholders and anything that will affect share price negatively is a bad thing. You can be sure that internally Moore recognizes that changes need to be made, but it is hard to put a positive spin on layoffs and firing the head of NHL production. It’s a clear sign that money is tight and the product needs a change of direction.

    I’ll agree with Moore that sports are the most important and valuable broadcast rights in general, and being the exclusive owner of them is a good position to be in. But at the end of the day you have to turn those rights into profits. Also you can see Moore confirmed that SN would never sell rights to TSN as many of us predicted.

    The most interesting part of the article is the mention of “remote from home”. The way sports are produced now is each stadium/arena has a large area where 18 wheeler production trucks pull up and act as the control room for the game. All the equipment to produce a game is built into the trailer and all the cameras etc from around the stadium are sent to the truck and then the final feed is sent back to SN or other broadcasters around the world

    Basically “remote at home” will eliminate most of that and instead all the camera feeds will be sent directly back to SN in Toronto and the game produced there. Previously the technology to do this wasn’t reliable or cost effective, but now it is. This will lead to some job losses as roles are condensed, but mostly it will lead to a concentration of jobs in one spot – ie Toronto. The savings will be that there will be less travel expenses, and also the same crew can do back to back games, even if the games are in completely different cities.

    The other thing to look out for is automated production. It’s basically hardware and software that will automate the tasks of most people in the control room. Currently there are usually about 6-8 people in a control room that produce a show, plus 2-3 camera operators. Automated production will reduce the total number of people needed to 2 or 3 people. Many smaller local news stations use this to streamline things and it’s something that is making it’s way through all of television. So expect lay offs related to this.

  147. EX -SN says:

    one other note about “remote at home” – if the plan is to do most or all of the NHL games via this set up, expect an expansion of the facilities at SN/CBC to accommodate all this.

  148. edge says:

    @EX-SN

    It’s interesting to know the tradeoff of what Rogers values over what it controls. Obviously in their ideal world, both the NHL deal and the Blue Jays are successful, which would mean an entire non-stop year of success televising the two most popular entities currently in Canada, the NHL and the Blue Jays. But given what we know, if Rogers could only choose success for one of them, it would definitely be the NHL deal, which is bad news for those who aren’t high on their NHL telecasts or are riding the Blue Jays wave. As far as I know the media division suffered a loss last year even with the monster success of the Jays. The losses can be attributed to several things like the decline of print media, cordcutting and underwhelming performance of the NHL deal.

    This is where the control part comes in. In order for the NHL deal to succeed Rogers has to bank on seven teams it doesn’t control. Even if you’re cynical and say SN really only cares about the Leafs, it still can’t march into the offices of Leafs management and tell them what to do. But they do own the Blue Jays and an argument could be made that any additional dollars spent on the Blue Jays yields a greater chance of success than dollars at the NHL production. But I digress. Rogers has a contract with the NHL and the payroll of the Jays can be anything Rogers wants.

    There’s a Globe article out there highlighting the major difference between being owned by Rogers and being owned by MLSE. Basically, the Jays are a division of a public company, and what that division spends and makes must always be justified to benefit the shareholders, shareholders who may or may not be baseball fans. Conversely MLSE is a private company that just happens to be partly owned by Rogers, and the teams that MLSE owns are subsidiaries. As a private company those subsidiaries and the company that owns them don’t have to report their earnings or answer to anyone but themselves, meaning the money spent on the Leafs, Raptors or TFC isn’t subject to the same controls as that for the Blue Jays.

  149. Mike V says:

    There was a lot wrong with that Shoalts article. Bay St. Isn’t as stupid as he made it seem, you could easily make an adjustment to EBITDA to include “other income”.

  150. Joe says:

    Another article has surfaced today by the Globe’s Bill Brioux and once again Scott Moore says he would do this deal in a heartbeat. Most interesting is also the fact that he said look at the Jays how well they turned things around. Unfortunately, that took 20 years. Advertisers will not wait this long for Rogers to turn this around. He is also states Sports is about “hope”. Well he is hoping for big things to change. But they never will until as everyone has mentioned in this forum, the on-air talent for NHL hockey in not up to par at Rogers. If that doesn’t change, it doesen’t matter how many Canadian team are in and not in the playoffs. Moreso, when there are not any Canadian team. Fans enjoy good commentators and on-air host. Moore has never addressed this. Firing the best NHL Hockey Executive in Gord Cutler is not the answer. Everything he has touched has turned to gold with good talent. Rogers does not have enough good talent.

    Also, this 5.2 Billion dollar deal with 10 years left was just as much Moore’s as it was Pelley’s and Nadir Mohammed. Pelley first hire was Moore who came up with this big deal , sold Pelley, who sold Nadir. Nadir looks like he makes the deal but it’s all Moore and Pelley. With Pelley gone, Moore is now holding his breath. It was Moore that hired Cutler.

    Anyhow, you get the idea, Moore is saying all the right things about doing this deal in a heartbeat because it was his deal. How he increase ratings which are down 20 percent is another story. And it really comes down to talent, and the fact that the Raptors and Jays’ audiences have increased ten-fold in the last 2 years killing hockey in general for now until the Leafs make the front pages and that won’t be for another 3-4 years.

  151. dave says:

    Keith Pelley was absolutely brilliant, did the deal and vamoosed.

  152. Matt says:

    Art wrote:

    “WOW 24B over how many years?”

    ESPN & TNT will continue to be broadcasting NBA games through the 2024-2025 season.

  153. Cirroc says:

    I know it’s a cost cutting measure, but Rogers should be embarrassed at how many playoff series it’s simulcasting. Pre-Rogers deal you could count on nearly every first round series being covered by either CBC or TSN.

  154. EX -SN says:

    @cirroc

    If you look at the schedule they are covering every game of every series on either SN, SN360 or CBC. If by simulcast you mean having the same game on SN east, ontario, west and pacific – well that’s a much larger conversation regarding scheduling.

  155. Huzaifah Chohan says:

    They have enough crews to send to cover each series, but they’re cheaping out.

    I’ve already seen them steal the NBC, MSG feed for 2 series’ so far.

    The opening to the playoffs was also pretty pathetic. It was the same one they use every Saturday night where Strombo stands in a dark room saying the same stuff over and over again. I was also expecting an epic montage like the ones Tim Thompson used to bring us before the start of every playoffs, yet we go nothing.

    I can’t believe that they think that people still watch the intermissions when you still have Kypreos, Strombo on them.

  156. Cirroc says:

    @EX SN

    I was referring to the simulcasting of the American broadcast of the games. I’ve been following this site so I’m aware of the reasons Rogers may be doing this, but for the viewer it’s still a step back from the previous regime. I know it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation because everybody here (including myself) complains about SN’s broadcasts, but it’s definitely a change having to listen to announcers that I’ve only heard rarely in the past.

  157. Art says:

    I know a lot of people here love Elliot Friedman so, You can catch him talking Riley, Kadri, Stamkos and the NHL Playoffs on my favourite posdcast Bastl’s Bytes staring David Bastl.

    Dave also has Hacksaw Jim Duggen on the show HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    If you havn’t given the podcast a shot you are missing out. http://www.bastlsbytes.libsyn.com or you can catch it on iTunes.

  158. Art says:

    Now that I’ve plugged my favourite show lol.. I gotta comment on Sportsnet using the MSG feed last night.

    It’s the Freaking playoffs! And Crosby is playing didn’t that se to be a big ratings draw?

    I get that they saved some bucks, but man does it look bush league. If you can’t send out a crew for a Playoff game on day 1 man you’re in trouble.

    I can’t wait for this 12 year deal to end.

  159. Huz says:

    Over under on the amount of American feeds they steal tonight?

    The irony is that the TSN guys work for NBC during the playoffs, so they appear on Rogers’ properties without even being on Rogers’payroll.

    The intermission panels are so brutal: Last night we got Kypreos and Strombo. Tonight we’ll probably get Millard with Doug Maclean and Damien Cox.

  160. Claire A Fye says:

    Re: Scott Moore Surely nobody who visits this site can be surprised that Scott Moore is defending the decision to pay $5.2B to have the NHL national package. And you can’t be surprised he would defend the SN personnel. I don’t see the point of even asking him about these things. He can’t publicly admit there are problems. The question is whether he believes changes are necessary and he’ll never say that publicly. We’ll know what he really thinks in the next few months when changes are actually made. Assuming of course that he isn’t one of the changes.

  161. edge says:

    @Huz,

    Interestingly it appears that Sportsnet sim-subbed the local FSN feeds last night instead of the national NBCSN feeds. A lot of the TSN guys such as Dreger, Mackenzie, Ferraro, and former/part-timer McGuire work for NBCSN. Maybe they use the FSN feeds to avoid highlighting the competition? In any case, sim-subbing on night 1 of what is supposedly your highlight period looks bad. You say you’ll never sell any of the rights to the competition, but you turn around and poach someone else’s work so you can produce it as cheaply as possible? This is what you paid $5.2 bn to do??

    It’ll be interesting to see the ratings for night 1 of the playoffs. Last night was a huge night for the NBA with the Warriors chasing the regular season wins record and Kobe’s final game. Combine that with a Blue Jays game and I would not be surprised if the NHL playoffs lost to all of these things.

  162. Alex says:

    Using local feeds probably still means guys employed by Comcast (philly, dc, bay area, chicago). Presume the rest are Fox or Roots (and MSG).

    In a way, using local talent makes sense aince they are familiar with the teams. But you also will have people crying bias if they are fans of the other team.

  163. Mike V says:

    There is no way the NHL playoffs are losing to a west coast basketball game in Canada. Ratings might be down, but they would half to be half way to China to get beat by that.

  164. Mike V says:

    Interesting that 4 of 7 potential first round Raptors games are on Sportsnet. Previous years it was exclusively TSN.

  165. Huz says:

    It’s just strange how they’ll have their own commentary for the Detroit series, but won’t have it for the other ones that are more popular?

    When using the American feed, it’s made for some awkward moments. When they’re going into an intermission, they have to cut the American commentator off so Strombo can get his airtime.

    Also, did anyone else notice the picture to fuzzy before the Detroit game yesterday when Chris Simpson was speaking?

  166. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    Is it just me or is PTS with Cox co-hosting getting a little too ‘cute’ with his fawning all over the guests? And enough with the inside jokes –

  167. Paul G. says:

    @ Montfromlondon

    It’s not just you.

  168. Huz says:

    Let me guess all those Sportsnet Raptors games will either be on Sportsnet 360,One because of the NHL Playoffs and Blue Jay’s?

    Ridiculous.

  169. Huz says:

    Let me guess, all those Sportsnet Raptors games will either be on Sportsnet 360,One because of the NHL Playoffs and Blue Jay’s?

    Ridiculous.

  170. Mike V says:

    Schedule says the main Sportsnet channel for all games. Kinda surprised they were able to fit that many in and TSN may have been the one with the conflict (are airing soccer, NASCAR and Aussie Football during game 1 instead).

  171. Cirroc says:

    Can we all agree that SN is a steaming turd? It’s telling that they are obsessed with being “number one” and not obsessed with being the best at what they do. Quite the sign of the times, where quality takes a back seat to page views and retweets and other such bullshit. Of course they are going to be number one, they bought all the content. It would be like the LCBO calling themselves number one in liquor sales in Ontario.

  172. Huz says:

    Can someone explain to me why Sportsnet can hire guys like Matt Devlin and Leo Rautins (both work for TSN), but can’t hire a beloved guy like Jack Armstrong?

    The chemistry between Devlin and Armstrong on TSN cannot be duplicated. Armstrong has the best catchphrases, which every Raptors fan knows. He makes the game soo much more entertaining.

    Leo is a great studio guy for TSN, but he sounds soo boring when paired with Devlin for Sportsnet broadcasts.

    The only people who suffer when Sportsnet cheaps out is the fans. It happens to every department other than the Jay’s. Then again, they probably had to hire Shulman after the season that the Jay’s had.

    I am not looking forward to Sportsnet broadcasting the Raptors’ playoff games.

  173. Rob in Aurora says:

    Jack Armstrong signed an exclusive agreement with TSN after Bell and Rogers bought MLSE . Armstrong was effectively employed by the raptors the same way Devlin is and appeared on both TV networks. Obviously TSN wanted to have exclusivity with Armstrong as their main basketball personality/insider. He’s a high energy, high profile guy, so worth the investment. It’s a feather in their hats…..But Sportsnet has Eric Smith!….. (Never mind)

  174. Mike V says:

    Wait, so now we’re mad at them for just wanting to be #1?

  175. Cirroc says:

    @MIke V

    I’m not mad at them. I just don’t enjoy their product so I don’t get to watch pre-game and intermissions like I used to. That being said, it was pointed out recently by someone seemingly in the know that there is a strong emphasis at SN at being “number one”. I’m sure it’s not much different at TSN, but at least TSN has the capability to produce quality broadcasts with above average personalities. Rogers went for it with this deal and so far it doesn’t seem to be working out that well.

  176. Huz says:

    I swear, they put Doug Maclean to do that Florida series because he was Florida’s coach in the 96 finals.

    Also, they stole all the American regional feeds once again. The only series where they had their own commentators was SJ-LA.

    So out of the 7 game 1’s so far, Rogers has only sent crews to 2 of them.

    Pretty pathetic if you ask me.

  177. Mike S says:

    I think I read somewhere that Rogers is using their own commentators for only three out of the eight first round series…………and for play by play they are using Hughson, Bob Cole, and Romanuk……….that means Randorf is the odd man out

  178. Matt says:

    Do any of you on here think there’s a chance that Rogers might sell the Hockey Night In Canada package & commercial rights back to the CBC once the four year sublicense is finished?

    Too bad that up to four of the seven Raptors games against Indiana will be on Sportsnet. Ugh.

  179. Eric says:

    3 out of 8 what a complete joke. Can’t wait to see the ratings.

    10 more years of this garbage. I wonder If I’ll still be a hockey fan by the time they’re done.

  180. Matt says:

    I bet that some non-Raptors playoff games that air on TSN will draw better ratings certain nights.

    For the most part I watch my local NHL team (their regional games don’t air on Sportsnet).

  181. edge says:

    @Matt

    I think the original idea behind keeping HNIC on CBC was to transition people away from the CBC, as to suddenly move HNIC to another channel would probably be too drastic a change of viewing habits that have been around for decades. At the end of the four years they figured people would be used to Rogers version of HNIC and naturally moved to watching it on SN. Of course, these are the same people who figured hockey fans would watch hockey on Sunday nights on City TV, and look how that turned out. At the end of the four years it wouldn’t shock me either way, because CBC is still CBC, a broadcast network, and as such has higher reach than anything on cable. CBC doesn’t make ad money from Rogers HNIC, so I figure if the deal were to be re-upped they’d want some money.

  182. Huz says:

    The thing is, the CBC owns the Hockey Night In Canada brand. So after another year, they can completely pull the plug on the Hockey Night In Canada brand being used.

    Just imagine Rogers trying to have something else on Saturdays besides Hockey Night In Canada? It’d be a disaster.

    They’ve already ruined the show, but to lose it with be an even bigger hit to the ratings.

    That’s why it’s in their best interest to keep Hockey Night In Canada going.

  183. Mike V says:

    Yeah, not calling it HNIC would ruin it. Just like how CBC losing the theme song to Bell years ago was the end of the show. Wait, no it wasn’t; show went on. It was a complete overreaction from the media and all parties involved.

    But it probably won’t come to that. Most likely the sublicensed contract will continue past 4 years and barring that, why wouldn’t Rogers just buy the brand off of CBC?

    No non-Raptor NBA games are going to beat NHL playoffs in Canada for the same reason the opposite won’t happen in the states.

  184. Huz says:

    I don’t think the CBC would ever sell the HNIC brand. That’s the only thing they have, and what good would it be if they were to bid on the next contract and not have HNIC?

    I just hope for the sake of HNIC that there are some major changes this summer.

    The current product is unwatchable.

  185. Mike V says:

    Because the brand would be useless to them without hockey. Because the broadcaster is in need of cash, even with the new money from Trudeau. Because the CBC is probably not going to be in a position to compete with Rogers and Bell for the next contract in a decades time and a public broadcaster shouldn’t be using large amounts of capital to beat out private ones for the right to show professional sports.

  186. EX -SN says:

    wow this is the comments section that never ends!

    @edge
    You are correct about the 4 year part of the deal was to transition viewers away from CBC to SN. Another thing to consider is this – part of the NHL deal(or spirit of the deal) is that Rogers would keep some hockey on free to air (ie broadcast) TV. The plan was to build a national network out of the CITYTV channels and eventually that would replace CBC as the broadcast portion of the deal. There were plans to expand the CITYTV brand into the Maritimes but that was abandoned. TVA is the french component of this. Right now as a national network CITYTV doesn’t have coverage anywhere near what CBC has.

    I still suspect they will negotiate an extension with CBC, or if they decide to pursue the CITYTV route, they would have to figure out local rebroadcast in areas not covered by CITY. They would likely use CBC in those regions. I do disagree with you with regards to the cable vs broadcast reach. Geographically an over the air broadcaster such as the CBC has a greater footprint, but in Canada the reality is most people get their tv over cable/satelitte compared to just having an antenna. Other than the CBC most broadcasters want to get away from conventional over the air broadcasting – it’s a money pit. CRTC restrictions are in many cases what force broadcasters to keep transmitting over the air. If Rogers could turn off it’s CityTV transmitter or turn CITY into a cable channel, they likely would.

    @Mike V
    I agree with you with regards to the HNIC brand. There is no reason for the CBC to hold on to it. They have backed away from live sports and bidding on big money rights, so they won’t be able to compete on NHL rights in 10 years. If CBC doesn’t sell the HNIC brand and sits on them with no hockey content, it will degrade in value and into obscurity.

    If HNIC were sold off to Rogers or was shelved completely as a brand, I agree that it the public would eventually be ok with it, as they were with the HNIC theme. If HNIC is more than just a name, but it’s the feel/look etc of the show, then Rogers has already changed that drastically on both SN and CBC, so really HNIC is just a name.

    Lets make a big assumption and say Rogers hockey broadcasts become 100% better in the next year or so and the viewers like it, but Rogers doesn’t buy the HNIC brand and instead they name/brand it something else. With a good product and a different name – do you think Canadians would care? There would be some nostalgia but viewers would get over it.

  187. edge says:

    @EX-SN

    This thread never ends because a lot of people (me included) are as intrigued in the business of sports as anything that happens on the field of play. And this isn’t just a ‘bash SN’ thread (although yes there’s a lot of it lol). I thought TSN overdid hockey when they had it at the expense of everything else. Remember when they showed sports movies in the summer and early fall because they had nothing? It’s strange that although hockey is definitely no. 1 in Canada, the consensus appears to be that Bell dodged a bullet in not landing the deal. That could change of course, but listening to the Rogers executives they put all of this on the Leafs. Well, if you’re a believer in 4 or 5 year rebuilds then their meal ticket won’t be ready until the deal is about half over.

  188. Huz says:

    @EX-SN

    Do you think the next TV Deal in both the U.S and Canada will be done with one company like the deals with NBC and Rogers, or they will divide the rights up among 2-3 networks?

  189. MontfromLondonOnt says:

    Little things that please me – No Wilner on the road trip to Boston –

  190. Rob J says:

    Heads up for Tor fans who love to invent fake outrage regarding game start-times: Monday’s jays game is at 11:00 am.

  191. Huz says:

    What happened to Barry Davis? Has Hazel Mae taken his job permanently?

    Also, someone told me that the 11 AM start on Monday is because of the Boston Marathon.

  192. Paul G. says:

    @ Huz

    You are right about the 11:00am start. Monday is Patriots Day is the US and with a sellout at Fenway, the game was scheduled early to allow for the crowd getting out after the game; with the Marathon in progress.

  193. Paul G. says:

    “is” should be “in”.

  194. Mike V says:

    Yes, it’s the marathon day game. A long standing tradition for it to start at 11. Everybody knows this. Just Rob trying his typical troll.

  195. Paul G. says:

    @ Mike V

    Thanks for the additional info. I didn’t know it was an annual event before your post.

  196. mike (in boston) says:

    Marathon Monday is one of the best days on the Boston sports calendar. Lots of people go hang out and watch the end of the marathon, catch the Sox game over a BBQ, and then spend time with their families the rest of the afternoon. It’s kind of unique. Don’t know how far back the tradition goes but it’s at least a decade.

  197. Whitey says:

    oh, the absurdity of the Sportsbet NHL productions…So Sportsnet is so cheap that it won’t send its own crews to broadcast some of the games in the U.S., so it picks up the NBC feeds. In some cases we have to put up with lousy, homer announcers, i.e. Anaheim Ducks and Brian Hayward, but in other cases, we getting exactly what Sportsbet doesn’t want…Canadian announcers calling U.S. games on Sportsnet and the CBC. The other night Gord Miller and tonight Chris Cuthbert calling games for NBC, and can you believe it, that’s Sportsnet using TSN announcers calling the games. Sportsnet is so hard up it’s got the competition calling the games. Well good anyway for Canadian fans who want to hear Canadian announcers who know the game. Dumb, dumb, Scott Moore!

  198. edge says:

    I figured that with the playoffs moving on to the second round SN would staff more of the series. That’s not the case. CBC is doing the the Washington/Pittsburgh series and splitting the Tampa Bay/New York series, but Sportsnet is using NBC feeds for both Western Conference series, even though those feature both current and former TSN announcers like Chris Cuthbert and Pierre Mcquire. That is really, really bad.

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