We’ve learnt that it’s with the words, “somebody wrote us a big cheque” that NHL President, Gary Bettman, advised the CBC and Bell Media that Rogers Communications had cut a 12-year deal with the league for all Canadian television hockey rights. The news caught almost everyone by surprise, and the Guild is no exception.
CBC has told us that almost immediately after hearing the news, the Coporation began negotiations with Rogers to see what if anything could be salvaged. Those discussions have resulted in a 4-year agreement between CBC and Rogers that will see hockey continue on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. But the deal is vastly different from the one that is set to expire in about nine months.
Under the arrangement, CBC will broadcast two games on Saturday night only. It will pay nothing for the rights and will collect no advertising revenue but will be paid for production costs. And while the deal preserves production jobs and 320 hours of Canadian content, it will definitely have an impact on jobs at CBC. “How many jobs is not known at this time,” said CBC Guild President Marc-Philipe Laurin, “but we know that half of CBC’s advertising revenue comes from hockey. CBC President Hubert Lacroix has committed to working with the Guild to preserve as many people and jobs as possible.”
Guild representatives will be meeting with CBC management in the very near future to assess the situation, and to determine a course of action.
More details are expected in the coming days. CBC has scheduled a meeting with sports staff for this morning, and an all-saff town hall is being arranged for this afternoon.
We will keep you updated.