Monday, March 26, 2007

CBC Renews HNIC Until 2014

NHL hockey has a problem finding people to broadcast it in the US. They have a few games on NBC on weekends during the latter part of the season, but this is a deal where the NHL gets nothing upfront and a share of profits if any exist after the season ends. They have a more regular presence on Versus but to many fans this is a forgotten channel that they may not even know they get in their cable package. They have zero presence on ESPN, which is the premiere group of sports channels in the US.

Things could not be more different in Canada. There is a frenzy for hockey that is unequalled elsewhere in the world. Hockey is a high ratings program. The classic national broadcast is Hockey Night in Canada which has been shown on CBC every Saturday during hockey season. Its broadcast deal was to come to an end at the end of the 2008 season. The NHL and CBC have come to a new agreement. For about $100 million a year (an increase from $65 million), CBC will continue broadcasting Saturday games as Hockey Night in Canada until 2014. The NHL is still hoping for the day that the US media is willing to pay that much for one day a week of games.

Here is the CBC report on the broadcast agreement.

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