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Canadian network makes landmark NHL TV deal

How much more popular is hockey in Canada than the US? About two and a half times if you go by the TV rights money.

The NHL signed a landmark deal for almost $5 billion US...
Courtesy NHL

Three years ago, NBC Sports signed a 10-year deal for NHL rights for $1.9 billion which seemed like a lot. But recently, Rogers Communications in Canada made a 12-year deal worth $4.94 billion US. It's the largest TV deal in NHL history.

Beginning next season, Rogers' Sportsnet replaces current rights holder TSN, Canada's largest sports network. This is a huge loss for TSN for which the NHL has been a major source of programming.

As part of the agreement, Rogers will sublicense games to the CBC, which will continue its “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts on Saturdays. For comparison, “Hockey Night in Canada” is the popularity equivalent of NBC's “Sunday Night Football”.

The Rogers deal includes all playoff and Stanley Cup Final games, All-Star Games, and NHL Drafts.

Yes, the US and Canadian deals aren't exactly apples and apples. NBC's deal is for 10 years, and Rogers' is for 12, but you get the idea.

So if you ever need proof that hockey is more popular in the Great White North than it is around here, now you have it. Something to ponder as those darned Kings hoist the Stanley Cup again.


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