The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. is planning a series of parties from coast to coast to mark 60 years of Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts.
The public broadcaster wants to stage Saturday-night concerts in eight Canadian cities – Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver, Winnipeg and an “Eastern location” – through the next hockey season to help celebrate its longstanding association with the National Hockey League.
Performers haven’t been approached yet, and the broadcaster said in a tender that it is seeking a private-sector events manager that can come forward with “concepts and a framework for national CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada – Concert Series.”
“The main objective of this program is to create a series of concerts in eight Canadian communities to celebrate CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada’s 60th Anniversary,” the request for proposals states.
The winning bidder must have 10 years experience “running national event campaigns,” and be able to provide services in English and French.
The broadcaster has held the rights to Hockey Night in Canada since 1952, giving it exclusive broadcasting rights to Canadian teams on Saturdays.
But with renewed budget pressure forcing the broadcaster to re-evaluate its priorities, speculation is mounting that the CBC could lose out on the bidding when the rights come up for renewal in 2015 (it lost the theme song to CTV in 2008, after a short battle over licencing fees).
Rogers Media has indicated it would consider a bid, as it looks to fill a Saturday-night programming void on its recently expanded CityTV network. CTV has also said it would consider a bid.
CBC, meanwhile, has vowed to hang on to the property. It is a major revenue generator for the network, which uses profits from the broadcasts to fund less lucrative initiatives. The broadcaster is looking to cut about 10 per cent from its budget over the next two years, or $115-million.