Salary cap expected to rise after NHL's deal with Rogers

Nov 26, 9:25 AM

As the hockey world continues to sort through the NHL's new 12-year, $5.2B rights deal with Rogers, one thing that's all but certain is that it will benefit the league's 30 teams and hundreds of players.

As explained here by Matt Kwong of CBC, the NHL decides how much money teams can spend on player salaries based on a portion of total revenues generated by the league in the previous season. 

In other words, the salary cap is dependent on the NHL's financial success which helps to dictate the payroll formula. A more profitable year for the league equals both higher salary cap ceilings and floors for teams to work with.

After this new TV deal kicks in next year, "hockey-related revenues" will climb and therefore the salary cap is expected to rise, and perhaps significantly, for the 2015-16 NHL season.

Nov 30, 8:24 PM

Don Cherry not a fan of concussion lawsuit, asks Rogers not to 'ruin a good thing'

Nov 30, 8:24 PM

Don Cherry took his usual spot on Hockey Night in Canada's Coach's Corner segment beside Ron MacLean to discuss the future of the segment, the concussion lawsuit, and fighting.

Cherry spent the majority of the segment talking about Kevin "Bieska" having a lot of rage while fighting Brian Boyle, but Ron MacLean did get him back on track if only for a moment. 

The long awaited announcement on the future of Coach's Corner and Cherry's future with the company was made briefly as, per usual, they were pressed for time. 

"Let's just talk about something here, I'm happy with the way things are. The big thing is... the year I left Bobby Orr alone was when he had his best season ever. Let's take it easy, don't try and ruin a good thing. Just leave us alone and it'll be just as good next year."

While it was an anticlimactic announcement, Cherry made his opinion known about the concussion lawsuit against the NHL collecting over 200 participants. "This is a money grab as far as I'm concerned. All of a sudden 200 guys say they didn't know the danger going into the National Hockey League."

Cherry went on to explain the players who have joined the lawsuit who have played "14, 15" games in the NHL are just looking to cash in.

Nov 28, 6:53 PM

Don Cherry waits for Hockey Night in Canada to discuss show's future

Nov 28, 6:53 PM

TORONTO - Don Cherry will wait until this weekend's "Hockey Night in Canada" to weigh in on the future of the flagship hockey broadcast.

CBC says that during his "Coach's Corner" segment Cherry will address this week's announcement that Rogers Communications has gained national broadcast and multimedia rights to all NHL games starting next hockey season.

The high-profile hockey commentator is also expected to discuss his possible role in the new "Hockey Night in Canada."

The iconic hockey broadcast will remain on TV for at least the next four years, but CBC will not have editorial control of the show.

That raises questions about the future of on-air personalities like Cherry and his "Coach's Corner" sidekick Ron MacLean.

Cherry said earlier this week he wasn't sure what would happen to the show, but in a later interview with CBC, he brushed off rumours predicting his retirement.

"They've been saying that for 30 years," he said.

"I know I'm No. 1 and `Coach's Corner` is No. 1 and what are you going to do?"

Cherry joined "Hockey Night in Canada'' full-time in 1981 and CBC started the "Coach's Corner'' segment shortly after his arrival.

Nov 28, 1:44 AM

Report: NHL wasn't impressed with TSN's 'attitude' in broadcast rights negotiations

Nov 28, 1:44 AM

According to a report from the Globe and Mail's David Shoalts, Bell Canada Enterprises and TSN's approach to broadcast rights negotiations with the National Hockey League, and in particular, what he refers to as the network's relative sense of entitlement, may have contributed to being shut out for 12 years.

"A lot of people connected to the negotiations for the new Canadian NHL television contract think it was a question of attitude as much as the dollars behind the NHL’s decision to dump BCE Inc. and TSN for Rogers Communications Inc. and Sportsnet," Shoalts writes.

Shoalts continues: 

"Separate sources say when negotiations opened between the NHL and TSN to extend its contract for the broadcast rights in Canada, executives from the all-sports cable network and its parent company could have showed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman a little more respect. Instead, sources say, the message delivered to Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly was TSN carried the NHL’s water for many years and the network was prepared to pay only so much to carry on the relationship – so the league should sit down and sign a contract.

Read the full report here and scroll down for more coverage of the landmark Canadian broadcast rights deal consummated by the NHL and Rogers Sportsnet this week.

Nov 26, 1:25 PM

Bourne: Viewing the sport north of the border will never be the same

Nov 26, 1:25 PM

It’s not news that hockey is a staple of the Canadian lifestyle. Whether everyone likes it or not, it’s stitched into the fabric of our national identity up here. Where and how we consume “our” game is huge news. (And while it’s not actually “ours,” best believe that’s the perception up here.)

So, when the collective We found out that Rogers bought the next 12 years of NHL rights for 5.232 BILLION dollars (ho-hum), the scramble for information began. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, men and women by the thousands screamed from their knees at the sky. If you’re one of those folks with scuffs on your pants from doing that, you can check out our story stack  that’s compiling the news as it rolls in here.

But from a less newsy perspective, I wanted to look at how this actually affects the viewing experience of hockey fans north of the border. Because a quick look at the navel-gazing side is interesting, but not that relevant to most outside the media. A quick look: the rug has been pulled out from under a lot of great hockey people at TSN and CBC. It’s going to be musical chairs for them this upcoming summer, but while a lot of people may be hurt by the changes, there’s certainly not going to be less hockey jobs, so the qualified will almost certainly land on their feet (y’know, with SportsNet). Both TSN (Curling! CFL!) and CBC (News and stuff!) will likely survive, but in their own ways.

If you shove the business aspects aside, as so many people will because hey, why should they care, it’s tough to see too many negatives coming out of the NHL’s new deal. For all the poop that’s flying around, The Hockey Fan actually looks to come out smelling like roses. Not only is there going to be a ton of hockey to watch, there’s going to be a ton more hockey on our sets. We’ll get to the exact details in a sec, but first the small emotional aspect for me, the hockey fan.

I grew up watching TSN first and foremost, and I’m sad for its loss of hockey games. I believe they’ve done it bigger and better than anyone in recent years (just think of the magnitude of their free agency and draft coverage), save for the beautiful property that is Hockey Night in Canada, which has also kicked gigantic quantities of bum.

Our junior hockey coach used to insist we open all the hotel room doors on our floor and crank up the volume on our TVs when the Hockey Night in Canada theme played. I’ve watched Bob McKenzie and crew since my family moved to Canada in 1989 or so. Like most people, I don’t love change so I’m a little bit pouty about it all, but I’m reasonable enough to step back and note that really…it ain’t all bad.

Yes, CBC will still have Hockey Night in Canada. For you, the fan, it doesn’t matter that suddenly they’re losing half their advertising revenue, because again: CBC will still have Hockey Night in Canada, and that’s what you care about. It will be expanded greatly (hopefully that doesn’t mean watered down) in that Rogers has the rights to use HNiC’s branding across all its Saturday night content, and note: the phrase “all its Saturday night content” being a thing means it’s not just one game anymore. You will have multiple viewing options, meaning Senators and Canadiens fans will be able to watch their teams play instead of the Leafs for a change. There will be no local blackouts, which is monumental news. And hey, if one game goes in the tank, you can flip to one that isn’t. Hurray for choice!

Here’s a sample Saturday schedule they’ve mocked up:

Games, games everywhere from the comfort of your couch. Meanwhile local bars feel a cold chill pass through their bones.

And as Tyler Dellow noted on Twitter, there’s the hope that TSN’s coverage could even improve because of all this – “I don’t know what kind of access TSN has to highlights but the one exciting thing about this is that TSN might cover the league critically.” Not that they didn’t before, but it would be neat if they kept their insiders and had less relationships to protect.

The possible cons, from what I gather:

Most people considered TSN and CBC broadcasts better than Sportsnet’s. My guess is that Rogers is about to throw dat big boy money at their production and talent. If people need their James Duthie, best believe Sportsnet will offer him James Duthie Money, which will be a phrase that will enter the lexicon shortly after he makes the move (he may not, but we’ll just use him as an example for now). So, I expect better quality broadcasts.

There are less options now, and people don’t like that. I dunno, but that is a thing. 31 flavors, and whatnot.

* Rogers can now say to other cable providers “If you don’t carry hockey people aren’t going to buy your service…” (I ain’t bundling with anybody if their TV package doesn’t include hockey) “…So give us a bunch of money for the hockey we own.” Best believe they’ll pass those costs on to you, which means your cable bill is probably going to go up at some point.

Then there’s secondary ways in which your hockey consumption might be affected: the salary cap? That’s goin’ up, son. And actually, it’s going up quick. I could see teams that didn’t love spending before huddling closer to the salary floor (it’ll take a good amount of spending if the cap is at 80 million in a few years as some have speculated), which is also going up, which could mean a bigger disparity in spending between teams.

When the smoke clears on it all and next season begins, Canadians with cable simply get more hockey, and there isn’t much more to it. The League made a bunch of money which is great for stability, players will make more money, and northern fans get more puck. All because Rogers spent a handful of billion bucks.

I feel bad for TSN and CBC, and my friends that work at those places. But it certainly seems like it’s going to be a positive for the home viewer.

Nov 26, 11:38 AM

Rogers to assume HNIC brand across all channels under new TV deal

Nov 26, 11:38 AM

As part of the NHL's groundbreaking new TV deal with Rogers (worth $5.2 billion over 12 years), the Hockey Night in Canada brand will be spread out over several channels. 

The CBC will continue to present 320 hours of hockey for the next four years, including regular season and playoff games, as well as the Stanley Cup Final. 

According to William Wolfe-Wylie of Canada.com, this will all be presented under a sub-contract from Rogers, meaning CBC will no longer own the content. They will also not get the advertising revenue from the broadcasts, and Rogers will assume full editorial control, including decisions pertaining to content, on-air talent and the creative direction. 

Also under this new agreement, CBC will only be able to show two games on Saturday night, eschewing their recent tradition of showing multiple regional games during the 7 pm EST time slot.

Nov 26, 7:12 AM

NHL agrees to 12-year, $5.2B rights deal with Rogers

Nov 26, 7:12 AM

Rogers signed a 12-year, $5.232-billion contract with the NHL on Tuesday for the exclusive national rights to all games, which is the largest broadcast agreement in the league's history. But this does not necessarily mean the end for Hockey Night in Canada - CBC will still broadcast Saturday games and TVA gets all French-language media rights thanks to a sub-licensing agreement. The deal still needs to be approved by the NHL board of governors, who are meeting on Dec. 9 and 10. 

"Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey, and that is precisely what Rogers has promised to deliver over the next 12 years - channeling the reach of its platforms and the intensity of its passion for the game into an unparalleled viewing experience," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a release. "The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership."

According to Sportsnet, the payment will be made in annual installments starting at $300 million and ending at $500 million in the final year. Rogers must also pay $150 million "up front" to be spread over the first two years of the agreement.

Here is what you need to know: 

  • The deal, which starts in the 2014-15 season, will expand Rogers' coverage beyond Canadian teams - Sportsnet's regional channels already show local action, but with this landmark contract, the company says it can feature more "marquee" match ups. 
  • The rights to the NHL playoffs and Stanley Cup final will also exclusively belong to Rogers. Other events, like the NHL draft or All-Star Game, fit under this umbrella as well.
  • Rogers will focus on providing online live streams and also will be in charge of NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.
  • They might own the rights to the HNIC theme song, but TSN will play no part in the 12-year broadcast deal. However, the network does have regional rights to the Jets and Canadiens. There is also talk that CBC could face layoffs because of Tuesday's announcement now that Rogers is taking over.
Nov 26, 12:36 AM

Report: CBC and Rogers win bidding for NHL's Canadian broadcast rights

Nov 26, 12:36 AM

TSN's Bob McKenzie is reporting that CBC and Rogers have won the bidding for the National Hockey League's Canadian broadcast rights:

Nov 26, 12:32 AM

Report: Two Canadian networks closing in on long-term broadcast rights deal with NHL

Nov 26, 12:32 AM

TSN reporter Bob McKenzie has reported, albeit cryptically, that the NHL is closing on an a Canadian television deal with two Canadian networks.

McKenzie doesn't reveal which two networks will be left standing but the "pains me to report this" portion of his tweet seems to imply that TSN may be out as a broadcast rights holder. 

If that's the case it would echo a report from Chris Botta of the Sports Business Journal published Monday morning, which suggested that "TSN's reluctance to pay substantially more" than their current $40 million annual fee was holding up negotiations. From Botta:

The NHL has successfully engaged TSN and Sportsnet in competitive bidding for the newly available inventory. TSN is likely to be the future rights holder of the NHL All-Star Game and is the leading candidate to own the rights to that second conference final, sources said. TSN’s current deal gives the network four first-round series, two second-round series and three games of the conference final series where CBC has the other four.

In its current deal, TSN pays $40 million annually. Sources said that TSN’s reluctance to pay substantially more has been the biggest stumbling block in the league’s overall negotiations with the Canadian networks, but the issues are expected to be resolved in the coming weeks.

Rogers Communications-owned Sportsnet is in the bidding for available playoff games but is also seen as the front-runner to purchase a new regular-season offering of a weekly Sunday night telecast. A featured Sunday night game would join CBC’s Saturday franchise, TSN’s weekly Wednesday broadcast of a game featuring at least one Canadian team, and NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalry” as tentpole weekly events.

Meanwhile Globe and Mail media reporter Steve Ladurantaye reported on Monday that the NHL and CBC were closing in on an exorbitant deal to keep Hockey Night in Canada at the publicly owned television network:

CBC is expected to pay up to $200-million a year, almost double its current fee, to keep Hockey Night in Canada, sources said. President Hubert Lacroix hinted at the end of the broadcaster’s annual public meeting last month that a deal was imminent, and sources said it could be wrapped up in the next two weeks.

CBC had exclusive negotiating rights through the summer, but found itself at a busy negotiating table through the fall as the NHL tried to take advantage of the other broadcasters’ interest. Striking a deal soon would eliminate a major distraction, and allow it to focus on coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, which begin in 73 days.

Neither the league nor the broadcasters would comment on the negotiations, which could also result in the All-Star Game moving from CBC to TSN. But the Canadian deals come as the league enjoys a surge of popularity following a labour dispute that saw half of last season cancelled; the NHL signed a 10-year rights contract with the U.S. network NBC in 2011.

Ladurantaye's report also includes this tantalizing morsel: "One of the competitors – likely Rogers – will also score the rights to an exclusive Canadian game on Sunday nights."

Obviously some of these reports are conflicting in parts. For example, Botta's report suggested that the NHL's broadcast rights would be split between four Canadian networks, while McKenzie's report suggests that only two networks will be left standing. Ladurantaye's report meanwhile suggests that the NHL All-Star showcase would move to TSN, which would also be contradicted by McKenzie's implication that TSN is the odd-man out.

What's certain, for now, is that change is coming to the NHL broadcast rights landscape in Canada and that the NHL is going to make a killing over the life of their new Canadian broadcast deal.