The NHL and Rogers Communications announced today a 12-year blockbuster deal worth $5.3 billion that will see Rogers controlling every broadcast game in Canada. Partnering up with CBC and Hockey Night in Canada, Rogers now holds control of every NHL game that will be played on TV and radio.
Rogers, who started with Sportsnet, bought out The Score earlier this year and now have ultimately ended TSN’s reputation as the premium hockey channel in Canada. Also, by keeping HNIC alive, they have insured that people not acceptable to change still get their Don Cherry fix. As hard as it is to see TSN lose their foothold, the pros heavily outweigh the cons in this deal for Jets fans.
First of all, we get WAY more games. Looking at a chart made by Sportsnet, last Saturday only showed two games nationally, with the Jets game only being broadcast on TSN Jets. With the new deal, last Saturday would have seen 10 games being broadcast nationally, including the Jets game. This is all on most basic cable providers.
There will also be no more local blackouts. This is HUGE for fans of other teams who had their games blacked out. There won’t be any specific games for specific zones, so you won’t be forced to watch a Leafs/Sabres game instead of the Red Wings/Oilers.
With so much hockey to be broadcast, people of course need something to complain about. All the familiar voices like Gord Miller and James Duthie are now going to be out of a job. With Rogers spending big bucks on this deal, expect to see them spend big bucks on acquiring big names. They need people to fill in for these open spots, since so many games will need people to host, analyze and announce the games. Expect big names like Cuthbert and Dreger to jump ship. And don’t worry, Rogers said they want to play Don Cherry as much as possible.
Even though TSN still owns the regional rights to the Jets, they have lost their name as Canada’s sports leader. We will still see a lot of TSN with TSN Jets, but no longer will they have such an impact in our living rooms. This deal is great for all of Canada, and we should really be excited for it.
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