Rogers May See ‘Massive Hit’ if Canadian NHL Teams Miss Playoffs

Right now it does not look like any of Canada’s seven NHL teams will make the playoffs, as none currently hold spots for the post-season. If that happens, it would be the first time in over 40 years a Canadian team hasn’t participated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (it’s also been 21 straight years since a Canadian team won the cup).

This would mean it may hit TV ratings hard back home, especially for Rogers Media, as they hold exclusive NHL rights broadcast in Canada, a 12 year signed back in 2013 for $5.2 billion, reports The Globe and Mail.

The story drops speculation based on statements from various university business professors, such as Marvin Ryder, assistant professor at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business, who said “The bottom line is: no Canadian team in these playoffs is not at all good news for Rogers.”

According to Numeris, ratings jumped 36% for Rogers during the 2015 post-season, compared to 2014, helped by Montreal’s run into the second round.

Detlev Zwick, an associate professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, predicted Rogers is “going to take a massive hit,” adding viewership may drop 30 to 40 percent, noting “Simply, the product they sold to or they’re going to sell to advertisers is just not worth as much.”

If NHL ratings are going to be affected by the lack of Canadian teams in the playoffs, Rogers can still count on the successful Toronto Blue Jays playoff run last season, which helped drive media revenues.

Star slugger Jose Bautista is currently playing hard ball with contract demand negotiations, with his rumoured asking price to be five-years at $150 million (he’s called them “fictitious”).

Here’s what he said about the correlation between a $800 million-bump in share value for Rogers that can be tied to the Blue Jays’ deep playoff run last year:

“In a publicly traded company, everybody can track their performance fairly easy. It’s not a secret. It’s out in the public,”

“Stock prices are monitored very closely by the whole financial world, and I think there is a direct correlation with the success of their earnings-per-share after we start experiencing success.

“Are they going to put it out in the media and say because of the Jays, we made all this money? No. But everybody can read between the lines.”

Even without Canadian teams in the playoffs, people will still watch but probably not as closely if their hometown favourite isn’t in the race. Maybe get Ron McLean back into the hot seat to bring back viewers?