QUOTED: former CBC exec Richard Stursberg thinks Hockey Night in Canada is probably doomed
It’s going to be very, very difficult. The sports networks are jacking up the prices, so they’re going to have even deeper pockets when they come to the table. TSN and Sportsnet have proven that they can get big TV audiences as easily as the CBC does. And that’s very hard to fight against.
—Richard Stursberg, CBC’s former executive vice-president for English services, sounding the death knell for Hockey Night in Canada. The public broadcaster’s television and digital rights for NHL games expire in two years, and Stursberg believes there’s only a “low” chance it will be able to renew. (Kirstine Stewart, the woman who now holds Stursberg’s old job, insists otherwise.) While big telecommunications companies are willing to shell out wads of money for TV sports rights, the public broadcaster has had its budget slashed and has had lower ad revenues this year, in part because all the Canadian teams dropped out of the playoffs early. All of which imperils HNIC’s future—and Don Cherry’s opportunity to show off his flamboyant coats. [Globe and Mail]