Hardcore hockey fans will be able to watch as many as seven games on Saturdays when the puck drops to start the 2014-15 NHL season. Rogers has unveiled its plans for the first year of its 12-year, $5.2-billion partnership with the NHL, announcing a programming roster Tuesday that includes more than 500 regular-season games to be aired on 13 different Canadian networks and introducing a new Sunday destination for hockey fans.
In total, more than 1,250 hours of nationally-televised hockey will be broadcast. “This is about giving our fans ways to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with our game,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said during a media conference announcing the plans.
The sports TV landscape will also change Sundays with the introduction of “Hometown Hockey,” a nationally-televised game featuring a Canadian team and hosted every week from different communities across the country. The series will include NHL player profiles, as well as content about the local community. “We have created a new national night for hockey on Sundays,” said Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet & NHL, in a press release.
For sports fans, Hometown Hockey will go head-to-head in a ratings battle with Sunday Night Football, the NFL’s feature match for the week, until Super Bowl Sunday in February. When the hunt for the Stanley Cup starts, however, football will be long into its offseason. Between CBC and Rogers, every minute of every NHL playoff game will be available live.
While Mark Messier was on-hand as a special guest at Tuesday’s event, Rogers made no announcement about who would hosting the programs from inside their new 13,000 square-foot NHL studio set, nor did they speak about the future of Don Cherry with Hockey Night in Canada. “We will be in a position to announce all our hockey commentators by early May,” Moore said.