Thursday, December 5, 2013
The Associated Press
TORONTO - Canadian television networks stand to lose broadcasts that attract millions of viewers and generate millions of dollars in advertising revenue if the NHL lockout extends into the regular season.
The CBC president, Hubert Lacroix, acknowledged this week that a delayed or canceled season would be "a cash flow challenge for us."
While Lacroix said CBC has "replacement programming," it's still not fully clear how networks will fill the void created by a lockout.
"In Canada, if you want to start a conversation, you either talk about hockey or the weather -- and now we're reduced to the weather," said Jim Hughson, the play-by-play announcer for "Hockey Night in Canada." "There isn't any hockey at the National Hockey League level to talk about, and I just don't think that the networks have found adequate replacements for that."
This is the NHL's fourth work stoppage in 20 years. Preseason games for September already have been called off. The regular season is slated to begin Oct. 11.
In previous shutdowns, the networks aired more major junior and American Hockey League games. But Hughson said the ratings and revenues do not justify the production costs, which are about on par with NHL telecasts.
"With all due respect to all of the networks, we've not found anything that can replace the numbers," Hughson said.
Paul Graham, a TSN vice president and executive producer of live events, said his network is not worried about what will happen short term because it has plenty of programming tied to CFL, NBA, NASCAR and other events.