While Sportsnet was busy crowing about its new lucrative deal to broadcast National Hockey League game across all media platforms over the next 12 years, beginning for the 2014-15 season, reaction to the move across Canada was a little more muted.
While there is little doubt that a lot more hockey will become available on TV as a result of the Rogers broadcasting deal, consumers are also being warned to fasten their chin straps, that the move will ultimately wind up costing them more.
“The first thing I noticed is the big price tag, and obviously Rogers has to recoup that,” said University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business professor James Brander. “I think there will be more hockey product out there. Obviously, they’ll expand it because most of their revenue comes from advertising.”
Brander said that Rogers will have to find some way to recoup the $5.2-billion the deal cost and it will start by reaching into the pockets of cable subscribers.
“We’ll see a lot of bundling or extra charges for premium channels,” said Brander. “I’m sure Rogers will be pushing hard on all those buttons because they’ve got a lot of money to recoup. Whether it means having to buy stuff you don’t want or premium channels, your cable bill will be going up.”
For teams like the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets, the new deal is not expected to change the viewing habits of their fans all that much.
The Flames were already partnered with Sportsnet on a regional deal and there will still be Saturday night Flames games on CBC going forward.
In Winnipeg, the Sportsnet broadcasting deal will have “minimal impact” on where Jets fans go to watch their team play.
It is the same scenario for those who follow the Montreal Canadiens as fans there will continue to see all 82 regular-season games.
There is also speculation that Pierre Karl Peladeau, the president and CEO of Quebecor Inc., whose TVA has emerged as the French-language rights holder, is now in a better bargaining position to bring NHL hockey back to Quebec City.
The big loser is all this is undoubtedly TSN, who will somehow have to try to fill its airwaves next season with the majority of games now being handled by its competitor.
As one blogger adroitly noted “Hockey No Longer Lives Here” will presumably become TSN’s new tagline next season.
Gay bans stats from the locker
Rudy Gay made just three of his 12 shots for the Toronto Raptors during a 102-100 loss to the Brooklyn Nets at the Air Canada Centre.
It is no wonder, then, that the Toronto forward has banned scoresheets from the Raptors locker room, describing them as an “unnecessary barrier” to team unity.
The move prompted at least one call that maybe Gay’s shot, which has been rather erratic this season, should be the subject of a ban.
Leafs hope to rebound against Penguins
A shudder could be felt throughout Leaf nation Monday night when Toronto played its worst game of the season, getting shutout 6-0 by Columbus.
It was also an outcome that was not enjoyed by Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, whose Penguins will play the Leafs Wednesday night.
“You know that this is a response game, and a response game against the Pittsburgh Penguins,” Bylsma said. “I don’t think they’re going to be caught with their guard down or exposed after that loss.”
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