The CBC has won the TV rights for both the 2018 (Winter) and 2020 (Summer) Olympics, and the Corporation will broadcast both Games in partnership with Rogers and Bell – the two private Canadian media corps that divided up coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.
The trio worked together this past February in Sochi – with both Rogers and Bell purchasing sub-licensing rights from the CBC – and it appears the experience was positive enough to round up the posse again in four years’ time.
“It’s a textbook example of us being able to bring the whole broadcasting community to the service of Canadians,” CBC president Hubert Lacroix told a crowd in Toronto on Tuesday. “If it had not been for open-mindedness and eagerness and interest of our friends at Bell and Rogers, Canadians would not be getting the kind of coverage that they will be in ’18 and ’20.”
Rogers already has a working relationship with the CBC, after the former purchased the rights to all nationally televised NHL games (for $5.2 billion) and swallowed up Hockey Night in Canada, the longtime Corvette of Canada’s public broadcaster, in the process of that deal.
“Well, we’re working closely with the CBC on many different initiatives,” said Keith Pelley, president of Rogers Media. “This is just another extension of a partnership that continues to grow.”
Meanwhile, Bell and its networks – like TSN – have been pushed off national NHL coverage in Rogers’ new coast-to-cast era, but the company completes the triangle for the Games’ coverage from Pyeongchang and Tokyo.
Bell and Rogers first formed the Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium in 2007, three years ahead of the 2010 Games in Vancouver. The duo used the same structure in 2012 in London, before the CBC won the rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games that same summer.
“It would be extraordinarily difficult for one media company to go alone anymore,” said Phil King, president of CTV. “Canadians have an expectation. They need to see everything now. They can see it now and live, and that’s what this partnership can provide.”
This isn’t the first cross-company partnership Rogers has unveiled this year, either.
In August, Pelley teamed with Shaw – the fourth and forgotten power in today’s Olympics unveil – to announce a new streaming service called Shomi, which is aimed to steal some spotlight and sizzle from the California-based and dominant Netflix.
“I think it is impossible for one service to have all the content,” Pelley said then, echoing the rationale heard at today’s Olympic announcement.
“This is what Canadians have come to expect, and in fact you need this many platforms to be able to satisfy the consumer demand for the Olympics,” Pelley said on Tuesday from Toronto (Sportsnet).
“I don’t think it would be possible now for one broadcaster to be able to quench the thirst of what is needed as far as the consumer demand for Olympic broadcasting, because there is so much happening.”
Video/Files: The Canadian Press