The way Canadians watch hockey is about to change. Broadcasting giant Rogers has signed a 12-year, $5.2 billion CAD contract with the National Hockey League for the media rights of NHL games across the country this past Tuesday.
The agreement, which starts during the 2014-15 NHL season, gives Rogers the right to all NHL games in all languages on all media platforms from coast-to-coast through to the 2025-26 season. All regular season, post season, Stanley Cup Final, NHL All-Star and NHL Draft games will become available on Rogers’ vast portfolio of media platforms. With Rogers’ wide reach, hockey fans can not only watch their favourite teams on television through City and Sportsnet channels, but on mobile devices (phones and tablets), the World Wide Web and satellite radio. Rogers will also manage the NHL Centre Ice and NHL Game Centre digital cable packages. The NHL is promising that there won’t be any blackouts or regionalization of games involving Canadian teams.
Currently, Canadian broadcast rights in English are held by TSN (a joint venture between Bell Media and ESPN). Rogers mentioned that it is sub-licensing English-language broadcasts to the CBC for Hockey Night in Canada and to TVA for French-language transmissions. And yes, Don Cherry is expected to continue making appearances with his colourful suits and commentaries.
Rogers CEO, Nadir Mohamed made the announcement with other senior Rogers executives alongside NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman at the communication company’s Toronto offices. This monumental contract still needs to be reviewed and approved by the NHL’s Board of Governors who are set to convene on December 9th – 10th, 2013.