Starting next season, Rogers Communications will be the National Hockey League’s exclusive broadcast and multimedia partner in Canada.
As part of the $5.2 billion, 12-year agreement, Rogers obtains the national rights on all platforms to every NHL game through the 2025-26 campaign—including all playoff games and the Stanley Cup Final.
“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,” said Nadir Mohamed, the President and CEO of Rogers Communications.
PROGRAMMING ALERT: Watch NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Rogers executives make the announcement live at 11 a.m. EST here.
The deal—the largest of its kind in NHL history—also includes the NHL Centre Ice and NHL Game Centre Live properties, as well as rights to the All-Star Game and the NHL Draft. This is the first time a major league in North America has made such a long-term commitment to a single company.
As a result of this deal, Canadians will be able to find NHL game coverage on up to nine different channels on some nights during the season.
“Our fans always want to explore deeper and more emotional connections to NHL hockey,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, “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.”
There will be no further regional games or local blackouts. Rogers has exclusive window to broadcast any game w/ Canadian team Wed/Sat/Sun.
— NHL (@NHL) November 26, 2013
Rogers, already a big player in the Canadian sports landscape thanks to its ownership of the Toronto Blue Jays and a 37.5 percent stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, will spread game coverage to all of its platforms, including the radio—both terrestrial and satellite—and the web, through internet streaming as well as wireless and mobile tablets. The agreement also gives the company ownership of all digital highlights.
“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, the President of Rogers Media. “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.”
The $5.2-billion deal is comprised of annual payments, starting at just over $300 million next year then increasing gradually to more than $500 million in the final year. There is also a $150 million upfront payment that will be spread over the deal’s first two years.
As part of a separate sub-licensing deal, Rogers selected the CBC as its partner for the English-language broadcasts of Hockey Night in Canada. (TVA was selected as the partner for all French-language broadcasts.)
The Board of Governors will vote on the agreement when they meet during the second week of December.