Changes At Rogers Sportsnet NHL

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

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Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
April 5, 2016 3:35 pm

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.

Rob J
Rob J
April 5, 2016 3:38 pm

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.

Johnny 2 Cents
Johnny 2 Cents
April 5, 2016 3:39 pm

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

Now cut Moore

yaz
yaz
April 5, 2016 3:47 pm

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.

mario
mario
April 5, 2016 3:54 pm

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.

Mike V
Mike V
April 5, 2016 4:01 pm

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.

Curt
Curt
April 5, 2016 4:16 pm

“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.

Art
Art
April 5, 2016 4:18 pm

@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.

Mike V
Mike V
April 5, 2016 4:35 pm

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.

JShannon
JShannon
April 5, 2016 4:43 pm

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

Art
Art
April 5, 2016 4:58 pm

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

Pants Go Brown
Pants Go Brown
April 5, 2016 4:59 pm

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.

Simulcast in Mississauga
Simulcast in Mississauga
April 5, 2016 5:59 pm

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.

billyjoejimbob
billyjoejimbob
April 5, 2016 7:05 pm

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.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
April 5, 2016 7:55 pm

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.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
April 5, 2016 8:08 pm

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?

billyjoejimbob
billyjoejimbob
April 5, 2016 10:14 pm

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.

billyjoejimbob
billyjoejimbob
April 5, 2016 10:16 pm

Oh and Rob,

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

EX-SN
EX-SN
April 5, 2016 10:48 pm

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.

Huz
Huz
April 6, 2016 6:50 am

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.

Scott Moore
Scott Moore
April 6, 2016 7:22 am

@billyjoejimbob

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

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 8:19 am

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

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 9:39 am

@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

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 9:53 am

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 10:18 am

@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.

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 10:29 am

@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.

Mike V
Mike V
April 6, 2016 10:32 am

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.

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 10:46 am

good points Mike V.

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

Huz
Huz
April 6, 2016 10:55 am

@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?

Commando Bob
Commando Bob
April 6, 2016 10:58 am

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

Mike V
Mike V
April 6, 2016 11:01 am

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.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
April 6, 2016 11:30 am

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)

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 11:48 am

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 12:03 pm

@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

Mulet
Mulet
April 6, 2016 12:24 pm

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

trackback

[…] Same goes for sports media. More rumblings of changes at Sportsnet. […]

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 1:10 pm

@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.

Curt
Curt
April 6, 2016 1:14 pm

@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!

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 1:22 pm

@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

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 1:26 pm

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 1:30 pm

@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.

Eric
Eric
April 6, 2016 2:06 pm

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.

Ian
Ian
April 6, 2016 5:45 pm

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.

trackback

[…] Changes at Rogers Sportsnet NHL. [Toronto Sports Media] […]

Huz
Huz
April 6, 2016 9:08 pm

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 11:16 pm

@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.

Dave in Bolton
Dave in Bolton
April 6, 2016 11:30 pm

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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 6, 2016 11:48 pm

@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.

edge
edge
April 7, 2016 12:51 am

@ 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”.

Huz
Huz
April 7, 2016 1:54 am

@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?

Mullet
Mullet
April 7, 2016 2:49 am

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

Mullet
Mullet
April 7, 2016 3:22 am

@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.

Rob in Aurora
Rob in Aurora
April 7, 2016 7:47 am

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.

Huz
Huz
April 7, 2016 8:00 am

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.

Daz66778
Daz66778
April 7, 2016 8:04 am

And hey, whatever became of Aaron Nemteam?

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 8:11 am

@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.

Mike V
Mike V
April 7, 2016 8:22 am

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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 8:26 am

@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.

Huz
Huz
April 7, 2016 8:31 am

@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?

Mike V
Mike V
April 7, 2016 8:33 am

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.

Huz
Huz
April 7, 2016 8:36 am

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

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 8:40 am

@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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 8:42 am

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 7, 2016 8:49 am

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 7, 2016 9:03 am

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.

Mike V
Mike V
April 7, 2016 9:21 am

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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 9:21 am

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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 7, 2016 9:25 am

@mike V

I stand corrected!

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 9:31 am

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

billyjoejimbob
billyjoejimbob
April 7, 2016 9:39 am

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?

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
April 7, 2016 10:54 am

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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 11:27 am

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

Sam In Scarb
Sam In Scarb
April 7, 2016 11:50 am

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

Mike V
Mike V
April 7, 2016 11:56 am

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.

Curt
Curt
April 7, 2016 12:21 pm

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

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 12:21 pm

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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 12:22 pm

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

Mike V
Mike V
April 7, 2016 12:24 pm

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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 12:32 pm

WOW 24B over how many years?

Curt
Curt
April 7, 2016 12:43 pm

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.

Art
Art
April 7, 2016 1:20 pm

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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 7, 2016 1:25 pm

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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 7, 2016 1:31 pm

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.

Joe
Joe
April 7, 2016 2:15 pm

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.

Pete
Pete
April 7, 2016 3:38 pm

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)

Joe
Joe
April 7, 2016 7:32 pm

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.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
April 7, 2016 9:56 pm

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.

dogpounder
dogpounder
April 7, 2016 10:57 pm

Best comments section I’ve seen in awhile.

Mullet
Mullet
April 7, 2016 11:22 pm

I agree 100% dogpounder!

Huz
Huz
April 7, 2016 11:59 pm

@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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 8, 2016 9:08 am

@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.
.

Mullet
Mullet
April 8, 2016 12:59 pm

@ 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.

Original Mitch
Original Mitch
April 8, 2016 1:53 pm

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.

GoldStar
GoldStar
April 8, 2016 2:08 pm

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.

Mike S
Mike S
April 8, 2016 2:18 pm

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

Big G
Big G
April 8, 2016 2:28 pm

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

Mike V
Mike V
April 8, 2016 2:59 pm

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.

Holden
Holden
April 8, 2016 3:08 pm

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.

EX -SN
EX -SN
April 8, 2016 3:10 pm

@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.

GoldStar
GoldStar
April 8, 2016 3:13 pm

@ EX-SN

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

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