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NHL, Rogers announce landmark 12-year deal

by Dan Rosen / Edmonton Oilers

The National Hockey League has reached a 12-year, $5.232 billion (Canadian) agreement with Rogers Communications for broadcast and multimedia rights, the League announced jointly with Rogers Communications on Tuesday.

The agreement is the largest media rights deal in NHL history and one of the largest media rights deals in Canadian history, including the largest-ever sports-media rights agreement.

The partnership between the NHL and Rogers begins with the 2014-15 season and runs through the 2025-26 season.

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.

The agreement is subject to approval by the NHL's Board of Governors, which next meets Dec. 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.

As part of the agreement, Rogers announced that CBC will continue to broadcast Hockey Night in Canada and TVA has all of the Canadian French-language multi-media rights.

"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," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a joint press release issued by the League and Rogers. "The NHL is extremely excited about the power and potential of this groundbreaking partnership."

Rogers will provide game coverage with expanded pre- and post-game coverage beginning at 2 p.m. MT on Saturdays and Sundays. In addition to its exclusive rights for all playoff and Stanley Cup Final games, Rogers has exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games and NHL Drafts.

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.

Viewers on Saturday nights will get every game regardless of where they reside and certain games involving two U.S.-based teams.

According to an example provided by Rogers, if the agreement were in place this season Canadians would have had access to five games spread over 11 different channels, including three TVA channels (French-language only), in the 5 p.m. MT window this past Saturday.

The new Sunday night national broadcast will feature marquee matchups.

In addition, Rogers 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 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."

Sportsnet TV currently has the regional rights to the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators. It broadcasts 264 NHL games per year, the most games featuring Canadian teams among all Canadian broadcast companies.

Rogers Communications owns a 37.5 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and has an alliance with the Canucks, including the naming rights of Rogers Arena, Vancouver's home building. Rogers is also the telecommunications sponsor of the Oilers.

Rogers Media president Keith Pelley is the former President of TSN and the head of the 2010 Canadian Olympic broadcast consortium. President of Broadcast Scott Moore is the former head of CBC Sports.

"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," Pelley said. "Today's announcement significantly increases the value of our premium Sportsnet brand and reinforces our commitment to making Sportsnet the No. 1 sports media brand in Canada."

Author: Dan Rosen | Senior Writer

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