NHL Effectively Kills CBC In Mega Deal With Rogers


Do you remember this?

It’s one of a few interviews that many insiders are telling me was behind what ultimately led to a phone call from the NHL to the CBC this past Thursday night telling the CBC that they were out of the running for the Canadian national TV deal.

In fact, if you’ve read Richard Peddie’s recent book he suggests that it interviews like this would be the end of a lengthy relationship between the CBC and the NHL.

I am not a total idiot. Rogers offered up a ton of dough. If the money wasn’t there it would have been harder to leave the CBC. However, I am told that Bettman Inc. was very happy to be leaving the likes of the CBC.

Make no mistake, this is the beginning of the end of the CBC. The bulk of their revenue came from hockey related revenue (had to throw that in there). The rest of their revenue is a result of having the hockey revenue in the first place. Yes, the CBC will have games. They are no more than a canvas. Yes, they can promote the games. They get no revenue from the games. They don’t sell the games. They get no benefit except for the fact that their most valuable time slot remains taken. Did you see the example Keith Pelley gave yesterday, where the Leafs would be on Sportsnet or CityTV and the Senators would be on the CBC. With no offense to our friends in Ottawa, that’s not exactly the same national draw as the Maple Leafs.

Tons of people are talking about the effect on Bell and TSN. No doubt this is painful. However, I am told that Bell made a conscious decision NOT to play in this sandbox. Bell has the money to do so if it wanted to do so.

Rogers? There are rumblings this morning that the incoming CEO wasn’t as fully invested in this opportunity as outgoing CEO Nadir was/is. If you take a step back and look at life at Rogers today, they’ve not only doubled down on sports, they’ve 4 down on sports. That’s a BIG bet in one vertical wouldn’t you say?

I’ll do the traditional review of the coverage over the weekend.

My overall take? It’s a great day for hockey fans in Canada. More games on TV is a good thing. The value is in mobile and internet rights. That’s what Rogers is banking on. I think this maimes Bell/TSN, wounds them- not fatally. CBC? They are done. They have sales folks that have NOTHING to sell. This is the beginning of the end of the CBC. I have to wonder just how much Maclean’s interviews had…

More later.

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