A Closer Look at the 12-Year $5.2 Billion Deal Between Rogers and the NHL


Late last year, Rogers and the NHL signed a 12-year $5.2 billion broadcast deal which gives the Canadian carrier rights to all games in Canada.

In addition to giving Rogers exclusive rights to all playoff and Stanley Cup Final games, the agreement also gives the carrier exclusive rights to special events such as future NHL All-Star Games. The deal also guarantees that there will no longer be any restrictions when viewing a game from a specific region.

Even though the deal may look like a media play for both companies, it is much more. Rogers has invested billions of dollars to enable customers to stream every NHL game directly on their smartphone.

Rogers CEO Guy Laurence hopes that the deal with the NHL will be a key part in restoring the carrier’s image and the relationship it has with its customers. In April, Laurence said:

“Customer service is a journey, not a destination. We’ve actually fallen behind on that journey in terms of meeting customer needs.”

President of Rogers Media Keith Pelley said:

“The bottom line is, this is a monumental commitment… and a promise we’ve made to Canadians that we’re going to give them far greater (NHL) coverage than they’ve ever had before. That’s the expectation. Now we have to build on that…and to gain unwavering trust.”

Rogers is trying to use the deal with the NHL to help boost its wireless business, which accounted for 57 percent of the company’s revenue in 2013. In its July earning report, Rogers reported that the company had lost 33,000 cable subscribers, however they gained an addition 38,000 wireless customers. At a conference last month, Laurence said:

“We fundamentally believe that Canadians will consume huge amounts of content on their mobile phones. In order to facilitate that, you need big pipes in the sky, spectrum… that’s what we bought.”

Alan Middleton, executive director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre and marketing professor at York University, said:

“What you’re seeing is a company trying to evolve from general communications to a content manager. If Rogers is more associated with bringing you the stuff you want in the way you want it, then it begins to take the sting out of ‘Oh, that’s Rogers that gouges us on our telephones and cable.’ The reframing of the business gives Rogers the opportunity to overcome the negatives they’ve had forever on customer service.”

Over the past couple of years we have seen many people remove their cable subscription in favour of a streaming solution like Netflix, which is especially true in today’s younger generation.

The 2014-2015 NHL season is set to start on Wednesday, October 8. Do you think the deal with the NHL is going to help Rogers in the future? Let us know in the comments below.

[via The Star]