Will Rogers be seeking more Canadian NHL content in the form of an eighth franchise?
As the monumental NHL-Rogers broadcast deal rips through the landscape like a seismic shift, there are myriad scenarios to be played out and questions to be answered.
For starters, does this signal the beginning of the end for BCE as stakeholders in MLSE? You’d have to think they’d want to divest themselves of properties they share with Rogers.
The really big aftershock, however, would be if the deal applies greater pressure for the NHL to place another team in Canada.
Presumably, Rogers will be jonesing to get its hands on all the Canadian content it can. Another club north of the border, in Quebec City or Markham, would provide a slew of additional inventory for the broadcast behemoth to sell to its sponsors and package to its audiences. There’d be 82 more games for one Canadian market and a host of new Canadian-vs.-Canadian telecasts to put on the airwaves, online and on mobile devices.
From an NHL perspective, it has been widely speculated that if the number of franchises in Canada grows, so too would the Canadian rights deal. That’d be more cash lining pockets of the league and its teams.
If the league indeed decides to add another team in Canada, Quebec City has a head-start. Arena construction, which began in 2012, is reported to be about 30 per cent complete and on schedule to be finished in the summer of 2015.
Markham city council, meantime, has a final vote scheduled for Dec. 2 or 3 to accept or reject the proposed GTA Centre. If approved, shovels could go in the ground, reportedly, as early as March, 2014.
The NHL has steered clear of officially endorsing additional teams in any markets, either by expansion or relocation; the party line is it listens to all offers.
The next NHL Board of Governors meeting is set for Dec. 9-10 in Pebble Beach, Calif.