TSN losing NHL English-language broadcast rights, per report

Bruce Bennett

The NHL is reportedly closing in on a major television deal in Canada with two television networks that may push one of its current powers aside.

Some majors news in the world of NHL media emerged late Monday night when TSN's Bob McKenzie reported that the league is expected to announce that it has reached an agreement with CBC and Rogers Communications for exclusive English-language broadcasting rights.

According to McKenzie, the deal is not only expected to be 12 years in length, but also be worth "many billions" based on an earlier tweet. The deal may be announced as early as Tuesday.

That also means that TSN, the network that currently employs McKenzie, has lost out on its broadcasting rights to CBC (home of the Canadian television institution that is Hockey Night in Canada as well as the many suits and loud opinions of Don Cherry) and Rogers (the company that owns Sportsnet).

Earlier on Monday Chris Botta of SportsBusiness Journal reported that TSN's reluctance to pay more money had been a stumbling block in the talks.

From Botta:

In its current deal, TSN pays $40 million annually. Sources said that TSN’s reluctance to pay substantially more has been the biggest stumbling block in the league’s overall negotiations with the Canadian networks, but the issues are expected to be resolved in the coming weeks.

As it turns out, it doesn't look like those issues are going to be resolved.

It will be a huge blow not only to the network, but also to hockey fans, as it has arguably the best team of analysts and news breakers in the business (with McKenzie and Darren Dreger leading the way). It's possible that CBC or Rogers (or perhaps even an American network) could move in and scoop some of them up to enhance their own broadcasts.

Along with the NHL, TSN also currently broadcasts the World Junior Championships and the Canadian Football League. Along with game coverage, it's also been the go-to network for trade deadline day, the opening of free agency and the NHL draft.

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