The Ottawa Senators have formally announced a comprehensive new broadcast partnership with Bell Media as part of a deal a Senators executive is describing as a “significant” improvement over its previous agreement with Rogers.
The Ottawa Senators' Cyril Leeder. (Photo by Joël Côté-Cright)
The new 12-year agreement will see Bell take over responsibility for broadcasting local coverage of the team’s games on its French- and English-language radio and TV stations, which are primarily under the TSN brand.
The deal, which begins next year, will replace what was previously a hodgepodge of agreements that divided up broadcasting responsibilities between Bell and Rogers.
The team declined to release the financial terms of the agreement.
Senators president Cyril Leeder said it would be unfair to directly compare it to the deal the team has with Rogers, which currently has the rights to broadcast games on local English-language TV, because the new agreement gives Bell Media the rights to a number of different platforms.
However, he said the team will benefit financially from rolling the TV deal into a larger agreement with Bell Media.
“Certainly on a financial basis it’s significantly, materially better than what we’ve had in the past,” he said Wednesday at an announcement at the team’s home rink, the Canadian Tire Centre.
Bell will also be “strengthening” its corporate telecommunications sponsorship with the Senators as part of the deal, according to a team press release. This includes promotions at the Canadian Tire Centre and “community engagement.”
The potential for advertising the team’s message using all five channels (the telecommunications sponsorship, the English TV and radio rights and the French TV and radio rights) also made Bell’s bid appealing, said Mr. Leeder.
“In today’s world, with the way media is being transmitted, I think that gives you an ability to get that message out quicker and to use all the different platforms to get it out to your fan base (with) a consistent message,” he said.
“So if you have a big game coming up you can be promoting it on all five of those vehicles as opposed to trying to go make five different deals.”
Rogers submitted a bid for the English TV deal, he said.
“At the end of the day, though, the scope and breadth of the Bell deal won out,” said Mr. Leeder.
The announcement of the new deal comes about two months after Bell lost a bidding war with Rogers for the rights to broadcast National Hockey League games nationally.
Bell Media president Kevin Crull said the deal was not simply the result of it losing the rights to broadcast NHL games nationally, which it had held for the past several years.
“Was this a reaction? No. This was in our plans all along and we couldn’t be happier,” said Mr. Crull.
Bell Media now has local TV broadcast rights for the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Winnipeg Jets and the Montreal Canadiens. It also has the radio rights for the Vancouver Canucks.