Stay classy, TSN

How odd is it that, after all the dust settles on Rogers’ $5.2B NHL deal, the guys who still own the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song are TSN.
They’ve held the rights for five years, after CBC–which made it part of their Saturday hockey broadcasts for 40 years–refused to meet the songwriter’s asking price in 2008.
TSN says they’re holding onto the ditty and will likely play it on the ten regional Toronto Maple Leaf games they’ll still get to air during the 2014-15 season. TSN will also hold onto regional rights to Winnipeg Jet games through 2021.
On another post-deal note, it was interesting to listen in to the reaction on Rogers’-owned sports radio station The Fan 590 Tuesday night. While the Rogers announcers were still flush with the glow of winning the crown jewel of Canadian broadcasting, caller after caller only had one thing on their mind–how will this affect my cable bill?
Finally, how last minute was this blockbuster deal? Major parts of it apparently came together just in the last few days. CBC president Herbert Lacroix told Mark Kelly on CBC News Network Tuesday night that he got word Rogers had won full control of NHL rights on Thursday directly from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (the day after CBC’s Winter press launch in Toronto). At that point, CBC was completely shut out of NHL hockey. Bettman suggested Lacroix might want to have a conversation with Rogers. Over the weekend, the unique side deal to allow CBC to air Rogers’ new version of Hockey Night in Canada–on Saturday nights and playoffs for four more years–was struck. Rogers sells the ads, draws all the revenues and calls the production shots, CBC pays no licencing fee but gets a strong marketing platform in a traditional timeslot.
It’s like how Rob Ford gets to still be mayor or Toronto but has no power. Actually, no, nothing like that at all.

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