Monday, July 14, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

What does Canadian TV deal mean for Flyers?

TAMPA, Fla. -- When the news first leaked late Monday night, jaws dropped around Canada and the hockey world.

What does Canadian TV deal mean for Flyers?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Frank Franklin II/AP)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

TAMPA, Fla. -- When the news first leaked late Monday night, jaws dropped around Canada and the hockey world.

The NHL’s long-time Canadian national television partner, TSN, will no longer have rights to broadcast the game beginning next season. The NHL and Rogers Sportsnet reached a landmark 12-year, $5.232 billion deal for exclusive Canadian television rights. 

That’s roughly $4.9 billion in American dollars.

And it’s music to the ears of all 30 NHL franchises, which will reap the rewards of this staggering deal, which provides access to all games in Canada in English and French, including the Stanley Cup final, All-Star Game, any outdoor games and NHL Draft.

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What does that mean for each team?

All monies will be deposited into HRR and then divided evenly between teams, with the players getting their cut in the form of salary cap adjustments. 

That works out to an average of $15 million in fresh cash per season per team, though a portion of that will be taken off the top and given to the 7 Canadian teams as an “invasion fee,” according to TSN reporter Darren Dreger.

That means an approximate total payday of $180 million for the Flyers between next season and 2025-26 simply to have their games broadcast in Canada, which also increases their brand’s reach. 

By comparison, the NHL’s previous television rights deal in Canada was worth an average of $40 million per season. The Flyers got just a very small sliver of that through HRR.

This is the NHL’s largest media rights deal in league history. The NHL is in the second season of a 10-year, $2 billion deal with NBC Sports for their television rights in the United States.

By way of comparison, the NBA currently has a $7.4 billion deal with ABC/ESPN and TNT. It makes the NHL’s $4.9 billion deal with Rogers seem particularly more impressive, since Canada is home to just 35 million people, compared to 317 million in the United States.

Rogers also reached a deal with CBC to continue running the traditional Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. The caveat, though, is that Rogers will retain all editorial and sales rights to the broadcast and simply subcontract to CBC for their widely available platform.

For Canadians, the deal is a home run. Canadians will have access to watching all 7 Canadian teams at any given time on a Saturday, plus two additional US games. Rogers will also have rights to all out-of-market regional games. They will control rights to NHL Center Ice and the league’s Game Center Live platform.

The NHL has been a sports leader in digital and online access, and commissioner Gary Bettman has vowed that this will continue in the future with technological advances.

If you’re a viewer in the United States, particularly through the NHL Network over the years, you’ve developed a fondness for TSN’s coverage of trade deadline day and the draft. In many ways, this news was a sad discovery - especially for the great people who work for that station.

But you also can’t help but be excited for the NHL and it’s availability on television and mobile platforms moving forward with Rogers.

And, if you’re the Flyers, you’re really excited. You’re seeing a brand new revenue stream - almost like found money.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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Frequent Flyers is your home for news and analysis of all things orange and black.

Frank Seravalli Daily News Sports Columnist
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