Sportsnet officially announced their new broadcast contract with the National Hockey League this morning. And the scope of the new deal is much wider than I could have imagined when news of it first broke 12 hours ago. Sportsnet has bought rights to all nationally-broadcast NHL games for 12 seasons beginning next fall. Sportsnet also picks up rights to the NHL All Star Game and Entry Draft. Rogers will also take over operation of NHL Centre Ice and GameCentre Live in Canada. Rogers is paying $5.2 billion for rights to every game for 12 seasons. The NHL will receive approximately $300 million next season, with fees raising to $500 million by the end of the contract.
Coverage on Saturdays and Sundays will begin at 4pm Eastern. Sportsnet has exclusive national coverage on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. Sportsnet will also launch a new studio that will host all NHL on Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. As part of the deal Rogers will sub-license some Saturday night coverage to the CBC. Two games every Saturday will air on CBC, with the rest airing on Citytv and Sportsnet. This eliminates the need for regional broadcasting. Sportsnet will assume complete creative control over all Hockey Night in Canada broadcasts. This means the future for CBC’s hockey talent is uncertain. It also means that Sportsnet will have the pick of all on-air personalities at TSN and CBC for their new broadcasts. Games will air on CBC, Sportsnet, SN1, SN360, TVA, TVA Sports, TVA Sports 2, as well as other potential channels on Saturday nights.
Keith Pelley, who was key in the plans for how Sportsnet will cover the NHL, was also the head of the Olympic Broadcast Consortium’s Vancouver 2010 coverage. Sportsnet will aim to offer Hockey Night in Canada in a similar fashion with all networks pooling resources and cross-promoting. Pelley set a new standard for Olympic broadcasting in Canada and is looking to do the same for hockey. Since the Sportsnet deal with CBC only came together in the past few days the broadcasters haven’t decided which CBC on-air personalities will transfer over to Sportsnet.
Sportsnet will get to show 30 Leafs games nationally (some could air on CBC) as part of the new agreement. Sportsnet will retain 26 for regional consumption beginning in 2016, with the other 26 airing on TSN regionally. Since TSN has regional rights to 60 Jets games, the Jets will appear on Sportsnet a maximum of 22 times. It is unclear how many games for each of Canada’s other five teams will air on Sportsnet. TVA will pick up rights to 22 Montreal Canadiens games, most of which will air on their over-the-air channel on Saturday nights.
The sub-licensing deal with the CBC is one of the most intriguing aspects of the deal. The CBC will have around 320 hours of primetime hockey. That probably equates to around 50 regular season games and 50 playoff games. There is no word yet on how CBC and Sportsnet will split-up the playoffs, except that the Stanley Cup Final will air on CBC. The sub-license will last for four years; however, in a news conference Rogers Media President Keith Pelley said that he hopes the deal with CBC can extend beyond four years. The CBC and Sportsnet will also work together to acquire and broadcast other major sports properties. Sub-licensing deals are already in place for the two networks to split the Grand Slam of Curling and 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In a letter to CBC employees President Hubert Lacroix outlined what the four-year deal means for the public broadcaster. CBC will no longer assume any control over production or content, although Sportsnet will consult with them. CBC also will not make any advertising revenue from the broadcasts; however, they also are not paying Rogers or the NHL a cent to show the games. Lacroix also notes that the loss of advertising revenue will mean job losses at the CBC. These additional cuts come on the heels of CBC Sports cutting costs just two years ago due to a lack of funding.
This is a very complex deal and there are many questions that still need asked and answered. It is a complete game-changer in Canadian sports broadcasting and will result in many changes at CBC and TSN. I’ll leave the speculation, and there is lots of it, for a later date (and the comments section). I do plan to look into the effects this deal will have on all networks, but especially the CBC, in the coming weeks.
Sportsnet has confirmed the deal this morning. Rogers will own the rights to every NHL broadcast in Canada, paying $5.2 billion for the next 12 years. Rogers will sub-licence games to CBC for Hockey Night in Canada, playoffs and the Stanley Cup. CBC will no longer be the only network showing hockey on a Saturday night with City now in the mix (see graphic on right). Rogers has the exclusive window to broadcast any Canadian team on a Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday. TVA Sports will have French-language coverage.
“Hockey No Longer Lives Here” will presumably be TSN’s new tagline next fall. That after TSN lost NHL TV rights to CBC and Sportsnet. The news first surfaced when Bob McKenzie tweeted that two networks had acquired the new NHL national television contract that takes effect next season. That tweet, from hockey’s best insider, flew in the face of everything that everyone has reported in the past week. As recently as this morning, publications had reported that the NHL would sell smaller packages to CBC, TSN and Sportsnet to maximize exposure and revenue.
Well, it turns out that somehow TSN has missed out as McKenzie has now confirmed that CBC and Sportsnet have picked up NHL rights for 12 seasons beginning next fall. While more information will probably become available in the morning in terms of which network will broadcast which games. According to reports CBC will keep most of what they have now. Sportsnet will replace TSN as the national cable broadcaster, with Sunday night the likely landing spot for an exclusive weekly broadcast. Sportsnet will also likely have one exclusive conference final.
Steve Ladurantaye of The Globe reported Monday that CBC will like pay around $200 million per year. The Globe article also stated that the CBC could lose $175 million in advertising revenue without the NHL. So, it is clear that even at a $200 million pricetag the CBC would have been out almost as much money without broadcasting the NHL as it is paying the hefty fee the NHL is requesting to show games.
In another report earlier Monday, Chris Botta of Sports Business Daily reported that all three networks would get a slice of the NHL pie. In the piece Botta reported that TSN was likely to retain Wednesday Night Hockey and add the All Star Game. With the recent developments it is unclear whether Sportsnet will offer national broadcasts on Wednesday night or whether CBC or Sportsnet will show the All Star Game. Botta projected that Sportsnet and TSN’s deals would be worth over $125 million combined, which means Sportsnet likely paid upwards of $150 million for exclusivity.
In losing TSN, the NHL has lost a partner that revolutionized broadcasting of the league. Day-long trade deadline and free agent coverage were TSN innovations. As was TV coverage of the NHL draft and even the All Star Game fantasy draft. The NHL also loses TSN’s in-game coverage, which featured award-winning broadcasters like Chris Cuthbert, James Duthie and Bob McKenzie.
However, the bigger loss is undoubtedly for TSN. It’s not the end for TSN, as some were quick to project. They still have CFL and curling locked up in long-term contracts (which, yes, a lot of people do watch). TSN also has the World Juniors locked up for a decade in a new contract that kicks in this December. The NHL can live without TSN because the network will still bid aggressively in 12 years. That’s in comparison to CBC, who probably would be out of broadcasting hockey for good if they had lost NHL rights for over a decade.
So, to recap. TSN has the CFL through 2018, Season of Champions curling through 2020 and World Juniors through 2023. Those are the most valuable sports properties in Canada outside of the Olympics, NHL and NFL. The Canadian Hockey League will also sign a new contract in the coming year, which TSN is probably now very interested in.
TSN will have to worry about an exodus of its esteemed hockey talent following this season. Is there room for both Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller at a network with no weekly national hockey broadcasts? I doubt it. Miller has worked at TSN since 1990 and called World Junior games since 2002; however, Cuthbert is TSN’s most valuable voice since he also calls the Grey Cup. I wonder if Miller and Ray Ferraro are a natural choice for Sportsnet’s primary broadcast crew. Another question is where will James Duthie go? Surely not back to SportsCentre. While he’d make sense at the helm of TSN’s CFL coverage that would come at the expense of long time TSN employee Dave Randorf. Maybe he’ll follow the example of fellow highly-touted TSN employees Dan O’Toole and Jay Onrait and look south of the 49th.
Remember the night of November 25th, 2013 everyone. It is a landmark in Canadian sports broadcasting that could lead to Sportsnet becoming the top-rated sports network in Canada. Of course this landmark is really just the latest occurrence in a trend that began in 2010 when Scott Moore left CBC and Keith Pelley left CTV to lead Rogers’ broadcasting division.
Burgundy to TSN… While TSN has lost hockey, they have gained Ron Burgundy. That’s right, the fake news anchor from the movie Anchorman. Burgundy, played by Will Ferrell, will join Vic Rauter in the broadcast booth for TSN’s coverage of the first draw of the Olympic Curling Trials on Sunday afternoon. Now, I love Anchorman as much as anybody, but this is a ridiculous ploy for attention. It only promotes the idea that curling needs a gimmick to draw in viewers, which isn’t true in my opinion. Not only is TSN trying this gimmick, but they are doing it at the biggest Canadian curling event on the calendar. But then again, it’s a gimmick that will work because even I will tune in to see what Ferrell knows about curling.
Grey Cup ratings… An average of 4.5 million Canadians tuned into TSN for the 101st Grey Cup from Regina Sunday evening. That makes it the fourth most watched Grey Cup ever on TSN, which is mildly impressive considering it was a blowout by halftime. A ratings peak in the second quarter exemplifies this. But isn’t so impressive when considered that it is the lowest rated Grey Cup on TSN since BBM introduced Portable People Metres to measure audiences in 2009. Ratings are down a million viewers compared to last season, despite a victory for the league’s most popular team. However, regular season CFL ratings were up 4.3% this year.
5.4 million – Average number of viewers who watched the 100th GREY CUP on TSN last year – the most-watched CFL championship ever recorded on Canadian English-language television
33,528 – Metres of cable (camera, audio, and video) needed for TSN’s broadcast of the 101st GREY CUP (equal to 333 CFL football fields)
2,656 – Number of kilometres traveled by the CFL ON TSN panel desk on its journey from TSN’s Toronto studio to Mosaic Stadium in Regina
FACT: TSN’s producer and director team of Jon Hynes and Paul Hemming have worked together to broadcast thousands of marquee sporting events. In addition to numerous Grey Cups, they both worked on the men’s hockey gold medal game at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games
1,500 – Estimated number of split-second decisions that will be made by TSN’s production team during the 101st GREY CUP broadcast
1,117 – Total combined height in centimetres of the CFL on TSN panel
250 – Estimated number of watermelon helmets TSN will show on air during its two-day Grey Cup coverage
FACT: TSN’s Brian Williams has interviewed a total of 10 different CFL commissioners on Grey Cup Sundays
195 – Total number of TSN staff (technical, production, support and on-air) working Grey Cup weekend
155 – Number of microphones used by TSN on GREY CUP SUNDAY
150 – Number of broadcast monitors in one TSN broadcast truck
55 – Number of Darren Dutchyshen’s “extended” family from Porcupine Plain, Sask. joining him at the game
FACT: TSN uses two different production crews for the 101st GREY CUP: one for the game and one for the pre-game show and SiriusXM Grey Cup Half-Time Show
37 – Number of cameras TSN will use during TSN’s broadcast of the 101st GREY CUP including a helicopter cam to capture aerial views of the city
21 – Number of JUNO nominations garnered by multi-platinum pop group Hedley, who will perform at the SiriusXM Grey Cup Half-Time Show at the 101st GREY CUP
15 – Number of Grey Cup games called by TSN’s Chris Cuthbert. He is joined by CFL ON TSN analyst Glen Suitor in the broadcast booth for the 101st GREY CUP
FACT: Hedley singer Jacob Hoggard finished in third place on the second season of CTV’s Canadian Idol
1 – Ranking of the 1989 Grey Cup (Riders vs. Ti-Cats) on the SPORTSCENTRE Top 10 list of the greatest CFL championship games of all time
The biggest annual sporting event in Canada is here once again. The 101st edition of the CFL Grey Cup will be played this Sunday at Mosaic Stadium in Regina as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders. TSN television and radio networks will have full English-language coverage, with RDS handling the French side of things from 5pm ET.
Saturday, Nov. 23
GREY CUP SATURDAY – 12 noon ET live on TSN
TSN delivers comprehensive coverage of the CFL championship on GREY CUP SATURDAY, with SPORTSCENTRE hosts Jennifer Hedger and Darren Dutchyshen live from the Nissan Family Zone in Regina. Throughout the day, the CFL ON TSN panel checks in from Mosaic Stadium with Grey Cup news and analysis.
Additional GREY CUP SATURDAY highlights include:
- GIBSON’S FINEST CFL PLAYER AWARDS at 12:30 p.m. ET, honouring the CFL’s top players from the 2013 season
- SPORTSCENTRE TOP 25 CFL PLAYS OF 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ET, counting down the 25 best plays from the 2013 CFL season
- A special CABBIE PRESENTS from Regina with host Cabral ‘Cabbie’ Richards
- 100th GREY CUP at 7 p.m. ET. In anticipation of this year’s championship game, TSN delivers an encore presentation of the historic 100th GREY CUP that saw the Toronto Argonauts defeat the Calgary Stampeders in front of a home crowd.
Sunday, Nov. 24
GREY CUP SUNDAY PRE-GAME SHOW – 1 p.m. ET live on TSN
TSN’s pre-game coverage airs live from Mosaic Stadium, kicking off with SPORTSCENTRE hosts Jennifer Hedger and Darren Dutchyshen.
At 3 p.m. ET, hosts Dave Randorf and Brian Williams take over at Mosaic Stadium for the game, alongside the CFL ON TSN panel featuring Grey Cup champion Chris Schultz, two-time Grey Cup champion and Canadian Football Hall of Famer Matt Dunigan, Jock Climie, Canadian Football Hall of Famer Milt Stegall, and former CFL head coach Paul LaPolice.
The GREY CUP SUNDAY PRE-GAME SHOW also checks in with Cabbie as he hosts the Sun Life Grey Cup Fan March from Victoria Park to Mosaic Stadium, and delivers another special edition of CABBIE PRESENTS from Regina.
Includes four pieces presented by TSN’s Brian Williams, these features explore the fascinating tales behind some of the CFL’s greatest stories, achievements, and venues:
- The History of Taylor Field
As the Saskatchewan Roughriders plan the construction of their new stadium, Brian Williams celebrates the storied history of Taylor Field, which has been home to Rider Nation for over a century. Williams’ piece is a look back at this hallowed football ground, which has played host to Roughriders football as far back as 1910.
- The Ottawa RedBlacks
The city of Ottawa revives its CFL dreams next season with the inception of the Ottawa RedBlacks. Presented by Brian Williams, this piece is an update on the CFL’s return to the nation’s capital, including a tour of the newly-renovated Lansdowne Park and an interview with RedBlacks president Jeff Hunt.
- Journey to the Grey Cup
In two separate features, TSN follows the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats on their drive towards the CFL’s championship game. Seen through the eyes of players and coaches, and featuring in-game mic commentary from star players including Darian Durant and Jamall Johnson, fans can relive the highs and lows of the Riders and Ti-Cats’ respective seasons.
- Saskatchewan, by Michael Farber
As a tribute to the host province of the 101st GREY CUP, Sports Illustrated journalist and TSN contributor Michael Farber has penned a video essay about the psyche of Saskatchewan. It illustrates the history of the province, the geographic hardships faced by its settlers, and the significance of football to those who make their home in the Land of Living Skies.
101st GREY CUP – 6 p.m. ET live on TSN, TSN Radio, and TEAM Radio
TSN’s acclaimed broadcast team of Chris Cuthbert and Glen Suitor are in the broadcast booth at Mosaic Stadium, providing play-by-play commentary and game analysis during the 101st GREY CUP on TSN. Veteran broadcaster Cuthbert has called the action in 15 previous CFL championship games, while Suitor – a Grey Cup champion with the Saskatchewan Roughriders – makes his sixth appearance in the booth for the big game. Reporting from the sidelines are TSN’s Sara Orlesky and Farhan Lalji.
Prior to kick-off, TSN will feature a performance by Saskatchewan natives The Sheepdogs as part of the CFL’s special Kick-Off Show, which also features player introductions and the national anthem performed by Serena Ryder. At halftime, TSN has live coverage of the SiriusXM Grey Cup Half-Time Show featuring Canadian multi-platinum pop group Hedley. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve haven’t watched a CIS game in my life, so I figure rather than potential getting something wrong by typing up a post, I’d go for the safe option of just copying and pasting the press release below.
The other thing I wonder though is why Sportsnet is showing this on their four regional channels as well as 360. I understand CIS games have been on SN 360 all season, but surely people aren’t so stupid they would go to 360, see something that wasn’t the Vanier Cup (such as NCAA football, which Sportsnet seems to have forgotten all about lately, but I digress), and change to another sports network? Are they? I’m sure that’s the thinking anyway. Read the rest of this entry »
Sunday November 24
1pm: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) at Detroit Lions (6-4)
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick
1pm: San Diego Chargers (4-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
CTV Alberta, British Columbia | RDS
CBS Seattle, Spokane
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
1pm: Carolina Panthers (7-3) at Miami Dolphins (5-5)
CTV Ontario, Saskatchewan
Fox Boston, Burlington, Rochester, Buffalo, Spokane, Tacoma
Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
1pm: Minnesota Vikings (2-8) at Green Bay Packers (5-5)
Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch
1pm: New York Jets (5-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
CTV Montreal, Atlantic
CBS Boston, Burlington, Buffalo, Watertown, Rochester
Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
1pm: Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) at Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
4:05pm: Indianapolis Colts (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
Sportsnet Ontario, West, Pacific
CBS Detroit, Minneapolis
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
4:25pm: Dallas Cowboys (5-5) at New York Giants (4-6)
City | Sportsnet East | RDS2
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
8:30pm: Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3)
TSN2 | NBC | RDS2
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth
Monday November 25
8:30pm: San Francisco 49ers (6-4) at Washington Redskins (3-7)
TSN2 | RDS2
Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden
BYE: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks.
Sunday November 17
1pm: New York Jets (5-4) at Buffalo Bills (3-7)
CTV Ontario, Montreal, Atlantic
CBS Boston, Burlington, Buffalo, Watertown, Rochester
1pm: Washington Redskins (3-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
CTV British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta
Fox Buffalo, Burlington, Spokane, Tacoma
1pm: Detroit Lions (6-3) at Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
Fox Detroit, Minneapolis
1pm: Baltimore Ravens (4-5) at Chicago Bears (5-4)
CBS Minneapolis, Spokane, Seattle
1pm: Cleveland Browns (4-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
4:05pm: San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-5)
4:25pm: San Francisco 49ers (6-3) at New Orleans Saints (7-2)
City | Sportsnet East | Fox Buffalo | RDS2
4pm: Green Bay Packers (5-4) at New York Giants (3-6)
Sportsnet Ontario, West Pacific | Fox Burlington, Rochester, Buffalo, Detroit
4pm: Minnesota Vikings (2-7) at Seattle Seahawks (9-1)
Fox Minneapolis, Spokane, Seattle
8:30pm: Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) at Denver Broncos (8-1)
TSN | RDS | NBC
Monday November 18
8:30pm: New England Patriots (7-2) at Carolina Panthers (6-3)
TSN | RDS2