Rogers Sportsnet, the rookie team in the league of Canadian sports broadcasting, has checked its senior competitors into the boards. With their historic deal for NHL broadcast rights in Canada, they’ve effectively placed Canada’s public broadcaster and rival The Sports Network into the penalty box for the next 12 years.
Speaking for TSN, Bell Media vice-president of communications Rod Henderson said: “What can I tell ya? They hit us hard, and it hurt. We’d left our protective cups back on the shelf in the locker room, so to speak. Anyway, our bad. Still… it could be worse, eh? After all, we’ve still got the song, right?”
TSN, who snagged the rights to CBC’s iconic Hockey Night in Canada theme song in 2008 is now left with some really inspirational music and a few token, regional NHL games to play it to.
“Doot doot doot doo doo dooooooooo! Doot doot doot doo doo doo dooooooooo!” Henderson sang, before being pulled away from the podium by a variety of grasping hands.
While CBC will retain the Hockey Night in Canada name and continue broadcasting games for the next several years, their role in creative control will be limited to an advisory capacity. CBC President and CEO Hubert Lacroix was on hand to quell fears that the new deal would lead to job losses at the peoples’ network.
“CBC will be allowed to broadcast the hockey games free of charge with Rogers bearing sole risk for the hockey revenues.” Lacroix clarified. “So… while we’re not making any money on this deal, we won’t be losing any either. Given our history, I think that’s a net gain.”
Unofficially, with the understanding that we wouldn’t print his remarks, Lacroix provided some additional assurances.
“Because Rogers will have control of the creative direction of HNIC, including the selection of on-air talent, they’ve provided us advance notice that Grapes is being phased out. As a compensation, they’ve advised us that we can have the rights to sell Don Cherry-related media at all Rogers NHL games, along with merchandise for our other colourful TV personalities.
So,” he continued, “given the massive sell-out we saw for Rob Ford dolls, we’ll be rolling out a full line of CBC bobbleheads as soon as the puck hits the ice. Talking ones! I’m thinking “Grumpy Grapes”, “Ponderous Peter” Mansbridge and “Ranting Rick” Mercer for sure. We’ll make a bundle! Much more than we did with those crappy retro ’70s style t-shirts and lunchboxes. And…no job cuts!”
with files from amiableCDN