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Rogers and NHL sign 12-year broadcast agreement

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Nov 26th, 2013

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The National Hockey League says it has reached a 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement with Rogers Communications for the league’s broadcast and multimedia rights.

As part of the deal, Rogers says the CBC will continue to air its iconic Hockey Night in Canada broadcast and that the TVA network in Quebec has all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights.

The league says the deal gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games, including the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, on all of its platforms in all languages.

In addition, the NHL says the agreement guarantees that there will be no further regionalization of games or local blackouts. Rogers has three exclusive windows to broadcast any game involving a Canadian team — Wednesday nights, Saturday nights (including CBC) and Sunday nights.

The NHL’s news release early Tuesday made no mention of TSN, which currently airs a package of regular season and playoff games, prompting at least one report that the network was shut out of the bidding.

Longtime NHL analyst Bob McKenzie said in a tweet early Tuesday that ”TSN’s national rights package for NHL games expires at end of this season and isn’t being renewed.”

He added that TSN would, in spite of losing national rights, maintain and intensify efforts to “continue as a prime source for hockey news and information.”

The NHL says the partnership with Rogers and TVA, which is subject to approve by the NHL Board of Governors, will begin with the 2014-15 season and run through the 2025-26 season. The Board of Governors will next meet Dec. 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.

The league said in a statement that the agreement is the largest media rights deal in its history and one of the largest media rights deals ever in Canada, including the largest-ever sports-media rights agreement.

Executives from the NHL and Rogers will be hold a news conference today at 11 a.m. in Toronto to formally announce the deal.

“The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.

“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,” Bettman added.

Rogers will provide game coverage with expanded pre- and post-game coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Rogers also has exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.

In addition, Rogers said it will use its digital technology to stream games on the Internet, wireless and mobile devices, and satellite radio. Rogers will operate NHL Center Ice and NHL GameCenter Live in Canada.

“Sports content is a key strategic asset and we’ve been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians,” said Rogers CEO and president Nadir Mohamed in a statement issued through the NHL.

“Canadians are passionate about hockey, and through this landmark partnership with the NHL we’ll be able to bring hockey fans more games and more content on their platform of choice.”

Rogers Communications is the parent company of City, Breakfast Television, and BreakfastTelevision.ca.

How will this change how you watch hockey? Will it?

With files from The Canadian Press

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