Half an NHL season for the CBC is better than no season at all (which is something that the NHL might have to one day accept and approve -- unless the NHL is willing to cut the CBC a "special" reduced rate for a full season and playoff schedule), so whether or not it makes good business sense to reduce the NHL content airing on CBC, it isn't necessarily something that the CBC will get to debate if the cutbacks make it too difficult to obtain the broadcasting rights for the current level of NHL content that the CBC is accustomed to.
I'm assuming there will eventually come a time when the CBC won't be able to afford the expensive broadcasting rights for any of the major sports -- regardless of the advertising dollars and audience they bring to the Corporation. Then what?
Can the CBC survive without big-time sporting events? Will the CBC have to eventually ask for the CRTC's permission to reduce its Canadian content requirements, so that it can then add more US content (assuming that the NHL content will one day be greatly reduced or completely absent from the CBC lineup) that will hopefully improve the ratings and keep the advertising dollars coming in?
Can the CBC afford to keep the NHL at all costs
as Bill Brioux suggests, without having to greatly sacrifice the quality and frequency of its original programming?
I get the feeling that if the CBC lost virtually all of its sports programming, it would be forced to become another version of TVO -- perhaps with even more pledge breaks.
Over half of the NHL players are Canadian, and many of the games are played here, but I still find it hard to think of the NHL as Canadian content.
If over half of the players in the NFL were Canadian and the Buffalo Bills relocated to Toronto, would that suddenly make the NFL on CTV
, Canadian content? Perhaps it would, but I'd still think of it as "American driven."
[Hockey Night In Canada breaks all-star viewership record]
Jan 30, 2012
This past weekend's all-star festivities in Ottawa resulted in a record-setting broadcast for CBC's Hockey Night In Canada.
The 2012 NHL All-Star Game on Sunday drew a record average audience of 2.461 million viewers, an increase from the previous record set last year of 2.389 million people. Overall, more than 7.3 million people tuned in for all or part of the game.
"The numbers make it clear the NHL All-Star Weekend on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada continues to be a must-see event for Canadian hockey fans," said Julie Bristow, executive director, studio and unscripted programming, English services, CBC. "To see record audiences tuning in year after year exemplifies our dedication to producing the best in Canadian sports programming and to increase the game's fan base in partnership with the NHL."
It wasn't just the game itself that broke a record.
Saturday night's NHL All-Star Skills competition brought in 2.468 million people, also setting a new record.
Roughly 30 per cent of the population tuned in to some or part of CBC's broadcast this past weekend — 10.2 million Canadians.
[CBC searches for someone to take Hockey Night’s helm]
Mar. 29, 2012
CBC Sports rethink?
The new federal budget, in which the CBC’s funding was slashed by $115-million beginning in 2014, had folks in the public broadcaster’s sports department apprehensive. The once-powerful department is trying to obtain new properties and keep the ones it has. With the cost of major properties escalating recently, the prospect of a 10-per-cent cut from the government being passed on to CBC Sports is a formidable challenge in the first year of a new NHL deal.
The cuts take place alongside an existential discussion of how CBC Sports should function in the future. While some within the CBC are arguing for keeping the department intact, others have suggested that it might be organized more on a per-contract basis with staff for, say, Hockey Night in Canada, only working the nine-month NHL season or those working a world soccer event disbanding at the end of the tournament. This is the “big event” strategy.
Needless to say this would shake up CBC Sports, which is, curiously, moving up three floors within the CBC headquarters in downtown Toronto despite a cash crunch at the Corp. CBC Sports is making efforts to employ its staff in other branches of the CBC, with on-air talent Scott Russell, Brenda Irving and Andi Petrillo doing sportscasts into local TV suppertime shows. But it will take more that that to save the department if it loses Hockey Night in the next negotiations for the fall of 2014. Estimates say that advertising purchased for Hockey Night constitutes as much as half the annual CBC ad revenues.