Rogers bets World Cup of Hockey will beat World Juniors

Sportsnet president Scott Moore is betting the tournament will post top numbers in 2016, when it returns with Rogers and TVA as exclusive rights holders in Canada.
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Scott Moore is betting 2016′s World Cup of Hockey will post numbers that best this year’s World Juniors tournament. That’s why Rogers Media secured the English rights to the tournament, says the president of Sportsnet and NHL properties. French language rights to the 2016 World Cup of hockey are with TVA.

The tournament, which is returning after a 12-year hiatus, will feature national teams from Canada, the U.S., Russia, Finland, the Czech Republic and Sweden, as well as two all-star teams; one made up of the top 23-and-under North American players and the other featuring the top NHL players from the European countries not represented by national teams. In all, the tournament will include more than 150 of the best hockey players from around the world.

“We did some audience estimates based on the success of the World Juniors in Canada and added a percentage based on the fact that the tournament will have the best players in the world competing,” says Moore. “We think it will set ratings records for Sportsnet.”

For comparison, the seven World Juniors Team Canada games pulled in an average audience of 3.2 million viewers. The Gold medal final game between Canada and Russia was watched by an average of six million viewers on TSN.

Timing of the World Cup of Hockey is ideal for Rogers Media, with the puck dropping on Sept. 17 2016, and games running until Oct. 1, allowing for a lead into the 2016/2017 NHL season. It will be played at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

Details around advertising are still being ironed out, but NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said earlier in the year that corporate logos could be sold on jerseys in the 2016 tournament.

The deal to acquire rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey was separate from the current 12-year deal for Rogers Media for NHL content in Canada, currently in its first year, Moore says.

During a conference call yesterday to discuss the tournament, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that, saying that Rogers did not have a right to match other bids on the tournament. He said negotiations for the rights had been competitive between Rogers and Bell Media, which wanted the rights for TSN and RDS.

“As we sorted it out we thought the right answer for us in Canada was to be with Rogers,” he said.