Rogers Communications and the National Hockey League today announced a landmark 12-year broadcast and multimedia agreement that includes all national rights to NHL games on all platforms in all languages. The agreement, the largest media rights deal in League history, begins with the 2014-15 season and continues through the 2025-26 season. This marks the first time a premium North American-wide sports league has granted all of its national (Canadian) rights to one company on a long-term basis.
Rogers also announced today it has selected CBC and TVA for separate sub-licensing deals for English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada and all national French-language multimedia rights, respectively.
The agreement is subject to approval by the NHL's Board of Governors at its meeting on December 9-10.
"Sports content is a key strategic asset and we've been investing significantly to strengthen our sports offering to Canadians," said Nadir Mohamed, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rogers Communications. "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."
"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," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman."The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership."
Canadians will receive more NHL games than ever before through Rogers' wireless and cable assets, promotional vehicles, and diverse media assets – including City and all Sportsnet platforms. Highlights of the agreement include:
- National rights across TV broadcasts, TV Everywhere, wireless and mobile tablets, Internet streaming, terrestrial and satellite radio, and out-of-home;
- National rights to all regular season games, all playoff games and the Stanley Cup Final, and all special events and non-game events (i.e. NHL All-Star Game, NHL Draft) – in all languages;
- Out-of-market rights for all regional games;
- Ownership of all linear and digital highlights, including condensed games and video archives;
- NHL broadcast assets: Rogers to operate NHL Centre Ice and NHL Game Centre Live;
- Sponsorship rights to the NHL Shield logo as an official partner of the NHL; and
- Canadian representation of ad sales for NHL.com.
"Our vision is to build on the NHL's legacy in Canada with an emphasis on storytelling, innovation, and technology — weaving the NHL, its teams and its stars even deeper into the fabric of Canadian culture," said Keith Pelley, President, Rogers Media. "Today's announcement significantly increases the value of our premium Sportsnet brand and reinforces our commitment to making Sportsnet the #1 sports media brand in Canada."
Rogers will provide multiple game coverage on up to nine TV channels plus digital and radio on any given night (see "Sample Saturday Night" addendum). Expanded pre- and post-game coverage, behind-the-scenes access, profiles of the league's Top 50 stars, first-to-market production technology, a state-of-the-art high-tech studio, and a Hockey Production Centre of Excellence will give Canadians a new way to experience the NHL like never before (see "Programming & Production Philosophy" addendum).
Today's announcement strengthens Rogers' sports leadership in Canada and complements the company's existing NHL alliances. Sportsnet is the regional broadcaster of the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks, producing and airing 264 regional games per year (see "Fact Sheet" addendum). Rogers has a 37.5% equity stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, 100% ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays and Rogers Centre stadium, strategic partnerships with the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, and long-term media agreements with the NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, NCAA, Rogers Cup, UFC, international soccer, and more.
This agreement is net present value positive for Rogers' shareholders – it is expected to be accretive to Rogers Media operating profit from the outset and significantly, will yield additional benefits to the cable and wireless operations. The financial terms comprise annual payments commencing at just over $300 million in the first year, with gradual annual escalations, increasing to approximately mid-$500 million in the final year of the contract term. These payments, together with an upfront payment amount of $150 million spread over the first two years of the contract, will amount to $5.2 billion in total payments to the NHL over the 12-year term. The annual rights costs will be offset by consideration received under the CBC and TVA sub-licenses referenced above.