Good morning MLHS,
First off, let me start by thanking Alec, Michael and Michael for inviting me to participate in Maple Leaf Hangout Episode #17 – if you guys and gals had nearly as much fun watching as I did filming, then you and I are off to a good start!
Secondly, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone that didn’t catch the Hangout and wonders what the heck I’m doing here. I’ve been following Alec’s writing since he started out at that ‘other site’ and I quickly moved over to the greener pastures of MLHS when he made the move. Along with reading all of the incredible content that the writers here put together, I’ve also stealthily followed the comments sections, and although I never actually posted myself, I feel like I’ve gotten to know a number of you by reading your comments over the years. So on that note, let me say that it’s an honour to have the opportunity to write to you along with the rest of the stellar (myself excluded) MLHS team.
Briefly, I’m a lawyer working downtown in Toronto with a concentrated litigation practice. As part of my education I’ve had the opportunity to study and write extensively about sports and entertainment law, and I now work at a firm with a practice in media litigation. As a guy with dreams of working in sports, I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent immersed in this site getting my hockey fix. My hope is that I can provide a slightly different take on some of the news and events that concern hockey and our Toronto Maple Leafs. But make no mistake, I’m a fan of the game – and more specifically the Maple Leafs – first and foremost.
I know that the Michaels and I addressed the Rogers deal with the NHL earlier, but I thought I’d just provide a quick run-down for anyone that missed the Hangout, or who simply wants a quick reference.
The Rogers Deal: The Basics
The proposed deal is for 12 years and approximately $5.2 Billion, which averages out to more than the $400 million/ season that the Commissioner was reportedly seeking from a new Canadian broadcasting deal. The deal is one of the longest in sports broadcasting history, and is unprecedented in that it is the first time in North American sports that a major sports league has granted exclusive distribution rights to a single broadcast network. As a result of the deal Rogers gets exclusive rights to all Canadian hockey, across all media platforms (including television, digital, and mobile) until the end of the 2026 season (or roughly until Rick Dipietro’s deal with the Islanders was supposed to expire). Rogers will have the exclusive right to broadcast Canadian hockey on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.
As part of the deal, Rogers will sublicense two games a week to the CBC under the Hockey Night in Canada moniker over the next 4 years, while TVA will carry all French language broadcasts in la Belle Province. It’s not clear what will happen to the CBC’s affiliation with Hockey Night in Canada beyond four years. The CBC will also retain playoff games and Stanley Cup finals games that fall on a Saturday. Interestingly, because HNIC has now become part of the Rogers programming platform, editorial control over HNIC (including on-air content, talent and creative direction) now belongs to Rogers. In other words, if you’re tired of hearing Glenn Healy malign the Leafs call Nadir Mohamed (don’t actually) because the CBC can’t help you anymore.
Probably the single greatest impact of the deal is that is promises to mark the end of “regional games” and “blackouts.” So what does this all mean for us Leafs fans?
The Rogers Deal: Through a Blue and White Lens
Unequivocally, the end of “regional games” and “blackouts” is a good thing for Leaf fans living outside of the Leafs broadcast region who just want to watch hockey games featuring the Leafs. Regional games and blackouts occur as a result of agreements reached between the NHL, the national broadcaster (currently TSN and CBC), regional broadcasters (currently Sportsnet), and to some degree the hockey club. Take for example a poor Leaf fan stranded in Vancouver, far removed from his or her favourite team.
Under the current (expiring) deal, when a regional Leafs game is scheduled only those viewers residing in the Leafs broadcasting zone can see it. Making matters worse is that when a regional game is scheduled on a night when a national broadcaster is airing another game coast to coast, in order to prevent the games from competing for viewership the regional Leaf broadcast is limited to a 50 mile radius around the ACC.
Under the new deal, it would appear that even where the regional broadcaster (which will now be TSN as the station retains 10 regional Leafs games in 2014 and 26 in 2015) is broadcasting the Leafs game in Ontario, Rogers will have the right to broadcast the game outside of Ontario, so our Vancouver residing Leafs fan is now a happy camper. This is one of the major benefits of having a single media broadcaster because the concern over games competing against one another is a lot less pressing when you own the rights to all of the games anyway.
The concern for Leafs fans is that as part of the deal struck between Rogers and the CBC it may become necessary to subscribe to cable to see any Leafs games. The way the sub-license has been structured it’s not necessarily the case that the CBC will be carrying the Leafs on HNIC in Canada on a Saturday night. While Rogers owes the CBC two NHL games a week, the company retained control over on-air content and may simply decide that it would prefer to have the marquee Leafs matchup on CityTV rather than CBC. If that is in fact the case, then fans will not be able to tune in to the CBC’s free HD feed, and may need to start shelling out for games.
While the deal has not yet been ratified, the NHL Board of Governors is set to meet during the second week of December and will vote on the deal. That being said, anything less than resounding approval by the Board would be shocking at this point. In short, get ready for a whole-lot more Kypreos for the next 12 years.
Until next time,
Great article Elliot, thanks for a clear and concise summary of the deal and what we can expect as a fan. Looking forward to reading your next post.
Good to have a knowlegable business prespective guy as a writer. Andrew R put up some good stuff from the business side way back before all the scrapping about the Kessel trade. Look forward to more articles like this.
I'm just going to assume Elliot's Italian with that last name and say any time we add an Italian to the group, it's a good thing!
How does this work for streaming games within the GTA? If you buy NHL Gamecenter will you be able to watch within the GTA? I cancelled my cable a few years ago. Nothing on cable that I cannot get on an antenna. Downside is I only get to watch HD games on Saturday nights. Streaming in general sucks.
Living in saskatchewan, there have been sooo many times I see a Leaf game on Sportsnet Ontario and I can't watch it. Frustrating. If this new deal now means I get to see those games (more games), oh baby am I onboard. :)
Hey guys - thanks to Michael Langlois for the idea, but feel free to follow me on twitter @ElliotSaccucci
Welcome aboard Elliot! Looking forward to your pieces. You have joined a very talented team so don't drop the ball :)
I think what we will see, is each Canadian team with its version of LeafsTV as it just a modular system that Rogers can now impose. Then we as Canadians will all have to pay for channels to follow our favourite teams. Then they will broadcast many USA games and commoditize those. Sure I will end up paying...but I am so used to not paying for it.
Our PP is very stupid in how we use DMen. Phaneuf should be paired with Rielly on the #1 unit. Franson with Gardiner on the #2.
Good morning Elliot, see you posted below, Just wanted to say Welcome to the Jungle, new bloggers always buy the Beer FYI :)
Also we need to get you an Avatar, Might I suggest a Mind Bomb Rocks Logo :)
@-Keon- Who would you want out? A league without Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Carolina Phoenix, Anaheim, and Dallas would be a better league. Perhaps more could go.
@Anthony Petrielli #like
@Anthony Petrielli Elliott's family could just as well have originally been Scottish. The MacCucci clan are pretty famous down home in N.S. They may have just changed their name to fit into Toronto's dominant culture.
If so.... remember your ancestors, MacCucci. And remember... FREEEEEEEEDOM!
Also: Go Leafs Go.
@Anthony Petrielli Well based on Pasta practices, yes it is :)
@Burtonboy That would mean the NHL is a 6 billion dollar business. with 30 teams . I need to see the math on that.
@Axle_Goalie To me, he is not consistent enough to be counted on to play top 4 minutes and is a 3rd pairing Dman. He's big but doesn't play big consistently, for a PMD is slow and is prone to lackadaisical, disinterested play. Just my opinion....in truth, possibly biased as I've never liked this player.
@Axle_Goalie He looks terribly slow, out of shape and his decision making seems slow as well. Not sure what the problem is but there's plenty of season left.
@Elliot Saccucci Whats a Twitter ?
Hello interweb... check out the latest on the Leafs on the Leafs Hangout @mapleleafshotstove: http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/27/rogers-closes-in-on-game-changing-broadcasting-deal-a-hello-mlhs/#comments …
congrats on 1st tweet too :)
@Elliot Saccucci Done lol
@4evrblue I'm not in any fantasy League Blue . Not something I'm terribly interested in .
@peterbleafs "[The 2nd ranked PP in the league] is very stupid in how we use DMen."- you
@Mind Bomb It's being considered :)
@-Keon- If today's 5 million player becomes tomorrow's 3.5 million dollar player, he might be alright.
Some people have brought up his contract as an excuse, which I think is nonsense... why would he play like this when knowing he is looking for that bigger contract next summer. This is why I was saying this summer not to sign him to a long term contract. He is still inconsistent and needs to prove himself much like Kadri does.
@Burtonboy @mcloki Crap you're right BB. Just the 5% increase the PA can ask for would jump the cap up to 114 million by the end of the 12th year. 80 million in 5 years. Now that's assuming the PA always takes the 5% increase.
Man are people going to be pissed seeing. players like Orr get 2 million a season. What's Tavares going to get in a 80 million dollar cap era? 12-14 million a year?
@Burtonboy @mcloki I think it's possible but that's a lot of new revenue that has to show up. And BB where will Leaf ticket prices be? they are already at breaking point. An how will the low revenue teams keep up with salary. Hell how will they survive?
Maybe 2 new Canadian Teams in Toronto and Quebec gets us the revenue. and the Detroit Leaf classic is going to make a shitload but will the Columbus- Florida Panther Winter classic draw in the cash.