Rogers Signs Exclusive $5.2 billion Deal With NHL

by Istvan Fekete on November 29, 2013

The news broke a couple days ago that Rogers has signed an exclusive $5.2 billion deal with the National Hockey League. This may come as a surprise for some, but for those who have been following the telecom industry lately, it is obvious that Canada’s No. 1 carrier is using every possible tool to keep its customers away from wireless and cable TV providers.

The agreement was signed for the next 12 years, and Rogers has received national rights to all games, including the playoffs and Stanley Cup final on all its platforms, in all languages.

As Macquarie Securities Group analyst Greg MacDonald points out, this is a “strategic coup”, and is like an insurance policy for Rogers as it becomes more difficult to pull in cable TV and wireless subscribers.

“But more importantly it ensures control of the most valuable live content in the Canadian market for the long term, which benefits wireless economics,” MacDonald said in a research note.

“But with Rogers controlling everything, perhaps, many people will have to restore their cable service to get that content on their mobile devices given that Rogers controls all of that,” said Setlur, who teaches at York University’s Schulich School of Business.

But the opportunity wasn’t spotted by Rogers only. Bell Media also bid, but the amount offered turned to be too low compared to what the red carrier offered to the NHL.

Roger’s agreement with the NHL comes about six months after Bell won regulatory approval to buy up Astral Media’s TV and radio stations in a $3.4 billion deal. Both carriers offer a wide range of media content on TVs and mobile devices to attract customers.

As another analyst, Dvai Ghose of Canaccord Genuity, puts it, the NHL deal could put Rogers in a better position if broadcasters are forced by the government to give more choices in picking their channels, as the NHL is a must-watch for the majority of Canadians.

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Written by: Istvan Fekete. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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