Toronto Maple Leafs - Win in Rogers Communications $5.2-billion NHL Agreement

Toronto Maple Leafs - Win in Rogers Communications $5.2-billion NHL Agreement
Posted on November 26, 2013 | Mike Smith | Written on November 26, 2013
Letter type:

A 12 year deal was reached with the NHL as Rogers Communications now grasps entire control of Hockey Night In Canada (HNIC) and all National Broadcasts of the Hockey League here in Canada.  Playoffs and all media platforms will now be produced by Rogers Communications in this the largest broadcast deal in NHL history.

TSN was sent packing, and with no NHL content left for national broadcast will likely continue to use TSN2 as a platform for spitting out "rebroadcast" NBC games and American rivalry games from south of the border.  CBC was also a big loser in this deal that sends them to the boardroom to take orders from Rogers Communications as they now have production control of Hockey Night in Canada.

Goodbye Don Cherry?

With this deal the CBC is bound to lose jobs and send some of the HNIC team looking for work.  Will this include Don Cherry?  Time will tell if the new HNIC will have room for an old windbag that has eaten up tax dollars for far too long.  Elliot Friedman and his cupboard of lumpy suits may have to find another channel to give middle of the road criticisms and boring pre-game rambles on.  May I suggest he go to The Score network where the sound of  crickets and table tennis can distract us from his useless dribble.

Toronto Maple Leafs come out on Top

The Toronto Maple Leafs will come out on top of this deal as they will no longer be blacked out of national spotlight when the Ottawa Senators play.  Ottawa residents who still bleed blue and white and subscribe to the Nation (Toronto) and not the Army (Ottawa) can tune in anytime and watch the Leafs play.  I think this will be a big win for the NHL if it becomes a reality, no longer will national teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens be drowned out by smaller market teams like Ottawa, Edmonton and Winnipeg.  Montreal and Toronto fans are far and wide in this country and they deserve to watch games on a national broadcast.

Goodnight TSN

James Duthie will need to study the CFL media guide because that is all TSN has left in their arsenal sponsor driven Canadian content.  Who wants to watch TSN hockey insiders when the broadcaster doesn't air or produce their own content?  Not many sponsors are lining up for that ticket.

TSN says goodbye to NHL and really is the biggest loser in this deal.  Media giant Bell and ESPN that owns TSN will now have to rely on Major League Soccer, CFL, Curling and a few Raptors games to produce and generate ad revenue.  Those being the only arenas of sport that TSN can produce a broadcast from will drive revenue down.  Job losses are soon to follow.  How can you promote that broadcasting to a large NHL audience if they no longer show up to tune in?  Simply put TSN will become the channel that rebroadcasts NFL, EPL, PGA and some Tennis events.  Just the position Rogers Communications wants them in.

Is It a Fair Deal?

The Toronto Maple Leafs and MLSE will benefit from this the most.  If you are a Leafs fan then you are really happy.  If you are a Canadian tax payer you may also be happy to see that CBC will have their purse strings brought in a notch or three to save money.  CBC should direct that money back into solid Canadian Content  and start producing shows that a demographic younger than 74 years old will tune in for.

The deal is fair

TSN had their chance in a free market to come up with the best package for the NHL to showcase its product.  They failed to do so.  Is it surprising?  Not really, the company Bell Media already mails it in with their broadcasts of games and commitment to the CFL as it is.  The NHL would have spent time looking at the track record and ratings for CFL and it would have weighed heavy in the decision.  CFL ratings just started moving north this year with indication that the Argos had been driving the viewership.   270,000 - 350,000 viewership per CFL game is still peanuts compared to producing and generating income for sports that have 4 times the people tuning in.  Leave that up to the experts at Rogers Sportsnet.  Great deal for them.


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Mike Smith's picture

Amateur Sports Blogger and one time self-proclaimed Electric Table Top Football champ that can’t wait until the day he can call the Redblacks Grey Cup Champs. While growing up in Ottawa throwing around the Spalding... More


Thanks for posting your letter Mike. As a Sens fan and a fan of hockey in general, I have to disagree with you. Not only is this deal bad for hockey fans in Canada because its a monopoly and will undoubtedly lead to higher prices to watch games on TV and online, but its also a huge threat to Canadian culture because it will mean the end to a Canadian institution in Hockey Night in Canada and our national tradition of watching NHL hockey on Saturday nights.

The Senators are paying dearly at the box office this year by going with a schedule heavy with Friday night and Sunday afternoon games rather than Saturday night games. Why? Because most Canadians (and Ottawans) who watch hockey don't watch on Friday night or Sunday afternoon. Its not their tradition to do so. Saturday night is hockey night in Canada as much today as it was 50 years ago.

Multiple media platforms is good but not under the control of one media firm. Canada is not the US. Our population is still small enough for monopolies to be easily created, especially in media, which is why we have national rules preventing monopolies in our country. Competition is also good for consumers. This deal throws those values out the window.

I could care less about Leaf and Hab fans and I really don't think their interests should take precedence over Sens fans in Ottawa. I've hated both teams since I was born (I used to cheer for any team playing against them before the Sens rebirth). Do you think the NHL would be better off without Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton in the league? Because that's what will happen if their markets are eroded. Why do you think we had media blackout regions in first place?

This deal is about nothing more than greed. Plain and simple. But, because I believe its ramifications will have tremendously harmful long term effects on Canada, Canadians, as well as our hockey heritage and traditions, I am exploring all options to stop it.

No joke. Having worked at TSN and Molstar on Leaf broadcasts at an earlier point in my life, I know the sports broadcasting industry. I know what this means to many people working in it, people I worked with like Elliot Friedman (who came up through The Score by the way), and whom I consider friends. As someone who is pro-Canada, who has played hockey abroad and who is political aware, I am very concerned about what this deal will mean to Canadians' and our family hockey traditions.

The NHL could have achieved the same objective for the same amount of money if they had bundled it together with all Canadian media companies instead of choosing the easy way out. A course of action that threatens the very future of our national sport in Canada.

You can read my full take tomorrow when I post my letter to the editor of the Ottawa Citizen to

Jeff Baldwin

Really James?? I have news for you...nobody outside the city limits of Ottawa CARE about the Sens...heck I am only 25 minutes south of the city and we are full of Leafs, Habs , Bruins fans with a mear sprinkling of others including your beloved Sens...and by the way I am probably old enough to be your father son!! You are soo out of touch, probably because you have never been outside the city limits so it is understandable, but in reality Hamilton should have been given the franchise. If you can't fill the rink on ANY night in CANADA you DO NOT DESERVE a team...bottom line, so as the saying goes " suck it up buttercup"!!! And oh ya I work in the "city" and have tom put up with the so called Sens fans day in and day out, quite sickening actually!! I have seen my team win 4 cups in my life time, which is 4 times MORE than ANY Sens fan will ever say!! Cheers for now James

Out of touch? Haven't traveled outside Ottawa? Are you kidding? I played overseas and I lived in TO working Leafs games for three years. It didn't make any difference though, I still don't like the Leafs. Never will. The Leafs had sixty years of operation while the Sens were waiting to rejoin the league. If our team was around during the Original Six you can be sure the Sens would have continued their winning ways...