Rights For "HNIC" Expected To Produce Battle Between Media Cos.Published May 30, 2012
Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said that the broadcaster "is taking a serious look at bidding on rights to Saturday night hockey when they come up for renewal in two years,” according to Steve Ladurantaye of the GLOBE & MAIL. Pelley said, “Sports is a major focus. Is Hockey Night part of our plan? It’s a little premature to talk about details, but we certainly have to take a look.” Ladurantaye noted earlier this month, Rogers bought Metro14 Montreal CJNT and "partnered with the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group to deliver CityTV content to communities in British Columbia and Alberta.” Pelley said that Rogers "can now offer advertisers national packages with the promise of about 9 million potential viewers, and can pursue programming that is intended to reach audiences across the country.” CityTV does not have an Atlantic presence, but Pelley said that "there is a plan that is 'not quite ready to be announced yet' that will address the gap" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/29). In Toronto, Lu & Mitchell noted speculation of the CBC losing its rights to "HNIC" has been growing "in part because the cash-strapped public broadcaster has been forced to cut employees and shed programming due to funding woes." But the net "insists it will fight to keep the Saturday night program it has had for six decades." CBC Exec Dir of Sports Properties Jeffrey Orridge said, "It's a priority. It provides free over-the-air access to a cultural institution that we believe is part of the fabric of Canadian society." Lu & Mitchell noted when "HNIC's" rights were last up for renewal in '07, "some media reports suggested it ranged from $90 million to $100 million for the six-year contract, up $20 million from the previous deal." Under its current contract, the CBC "will again get a first crack at renewal when the deal expires" in '14. Meanwhile, Bell Media also "looks ready to put up a fight against CBC and Rogers." Bell Media VP/Communications Scott Henderson: "We would most likely take a look at it when the time comes, as we would look at any sports contract that becomes available and that could strengthen our business" (TORONTO STAR, 5/29).
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