Rogers NHL Habs Petition
The Rogers NHL Habs Petition is to protest the drastic reduction of access to watch Montreal Canadiens games west of Quebec, from central Ontario to British Columbia.
Rogers’ premise on winning the NHL’s exclusive national broadcasting rights was more access, more choice, more games on more mediums.
Montreal Canadiens fans, the largest most diverse sports team fan base in Canada, were shocked to find instead there will be a serious reduction of access and cable choice west of Quebec.
As a result, we are protesting the effects of the NHL’s allocation of exclusive national broadcasting rights to Rogers (Sportsnet) in Canada, as well the splitting of the local and regional broadcast rights of Habs’ games between TVA sports, RDS & TSN.
TVA Sports purchased from Rogers the French-language national broadcast rights for the Montreal Canadiens. These national French language broadcast rights formerly belonged to RDS.
This has resulted somehow in TVA only being able to broadcast 22 Habs games during the 2014-2015 season.
What seems crazy to most Habs fans is that TVA actually have rights for 220+ games, yet only 22 of those 220+ games will be a Habs’ game. 33 will be Boston Bruins’ games, 25+ will be Toronto Maple Leafs’ games.
The Petition protests too the NHL’s own corporate national black-out rules which we believe are restricting Canadian broadcasters (i.e., Rogers and TVA) from creating and offering to Montreal Canadiens fans (and hockey fans in general) the value added cable products and national access today’s technology and broadcasting infrastructure is today capable of.
We believe the NHL’s own corporate national black-out rules are ham-stringing Rogers, TVA and Bell from innovating cable products such as dedicated team cable channels, i.e., a national value-added ‘Habs Channel’, a ‘Canucks Channel’ or ‘Leafs Channel’, etc., are anti-competitive and are limiting consumer CHOICE and raising significantly the COST to the consumer, the fans.
The Montreal Canadiens fan-base is the largest and most diverse hockey club fan base in the world and the most respected sports’ brand in Canada. Why is not a Montreal Canadiens’ cable channel economically feasible and available across Canada ? It makes no rational sense.
The only reason it is not economically feasible is because of the NHL’s own corporate national black-out rules, plus the dog’s breakfast of split corporate rights and rivalries.
The Petition demands Rogers, Bell (RDS/TSN) and TVA to cooperate and joint-venture to create the inclusive value-added cable products hockey fans want and demand, or if they do not this will in short-time realize a very angry consumer fan-base.
Habs’ fans across Canada do not want to be searching across multiple channels on television trying to find where their team is accessible on different nights. They do not want to be listening to ‘foreign’ play-by-play announcers describing the game of their beloved team.
Habs fans deserve respect from the NHL, Rogers, TVA and Bell !
Rogers showed disrespect to Montreal Canadiens fans by selling the French language broadcast rights to TVA (a division of Quebecor).
TVA currently does not have the broadcasting infrastructure to cost-efficiently broadcast the Montreal Canadiens nationally, in our opinion.
The splitting of local, regional and the national broadcasting rights of the Montreal Canadiens between Rogers, TVA, RDS and TSN is farcical in our opinion. The Rogers’ Deal with the NHL is a demeaning farcical dog’s breakfast to Montreal Canadiens’ fans across Canada !
The Petition feels all the entities should jointly-partner to remedy this dog’s breakfast, and create added-value cable products both in English and French for currently angry and frustrated Montreal Canadiens fans across Canada.
At minimum the full Habs 82 game French language schedule must be reintroduced across Canada.
In the Rogers NHL Habs Petition’s opinion the biggest obstacle for that to happen is the NHL’s own corporate national black-out rules.
In the United States, a US Court have recently allowed a class-action suit to proceed against the NHL’s national black-out rules. The US class-action suit decries the NHL black-out rules as anti-competitive, and not in the best interest of fans/consumers.
We think there is a similar case to be made in Canada against the NHL’s black-out rules. This will be a developing story.
For both French and English Montreal Canadiens fans, the Rogers’ NHL 12 year exclusivity agreement will result in an unadulterated NIGHTMARE beginning October 2014 unless the entities cooperate to find a resolution !
The NHL’s black-out rules are intended to force subscriptions to Rogers’/ NHL’s Game Centre & Centre Ice premium products, which at a cost of $ 200+/year will be unaffordable and will cost-out the average fan from long-distance following their favourite teams.
The Montreal Canadiens organization, themselves, must recognize, over time, this will as well result in the loss of thousands of Habs fans west of Quebec, whom will have no alternative but to follow other teams that are more accessible and affordable.
The Rogers NHL Habs Petition exists to document the support of frustrated and angry Montreal Canadiens fans that want these issues fixed and corrected by the NHL, Rogers, TVA, Bell and the Montreal Canadiens.
The Petition, though, is also meant to be constructive to the NHL, Rogers, TVA, Bell and the Montreal Canadiens to understand the reasons of consumer frustrations and the resulting anger so they can adjust their broadcast products to meet our expectations and demands.
At this time, Montreal Canadiens fans west of Quebec feel abandoned by the Montreal Canadiens, and unhappy with the effects of the Rogers Deal and the NHL’s corporate national broadcast black-out rules.
Why do we call it the Rogers NHL Habs Petition ? Because, unfortunately for Rogers, Rogers have now the overall exclusivity of national broadcast rights. We feel Rogers must be the catalyst and initiator to seek compromise and partnership among the other parties, including the NHL, Bell, TVA and the Montreal Canadiens.
Black-out rules, specifically restricting French language broadcasts of Montreal Canadiens games across Canada by the NHL we believe seriously conflict with the spirit of Canada’s constitutionalised bilingual and cultural mandates.
The Rogers NHL Habs Petition demands the entities to create an inclusive value-added cable choice product such as a national ‘Habs Channel’. In the interval, we demand the return of the broadcast of all 82 games nationally in the French language.
We request you to sign The Petition now and show the NHL, Rogers, TVA, Bell and the Montreal Canadiens how much we love and will miss our Habs !! –and, are now very angry about the serious reductions in our Habs’ cable access this coming 2014-2015 season in both French and English !.
Some may say the NHL and Rogers, whom bought the rights, can do as they please. I, and others, say ‘not so fast, buckos !’ Beware the angry customer !
The Montreal Canadiens is not a ‘hockey franchise’ like any other, it is also a national sporting and cultural institution, extremely important to folks from Whitehorse in the Yukon to Conception Bay Newfoundland.
The Montreal Canadiens is a unique sports, cultural and linguistic institution across Canada, not only in Quebec, unlike any other NHL team.
The Montreal Canadiens represent the most overall respected sports brand in Canada, coast to coast to coast.
If we Habs fans do not show Our frustration, anger and rejection of, the NHL’s, Rogers’ and TVA’s disrespect of Montreal Canadiens’ fans, they indeed will do as they please.
The Petition advises do not underestimate the power of bad press, lost business and tens if thousands of incensed Habs’ fans !
With enough vituperation the restriction of French language broadcasts, especially, of the Montreal Canadiens, have the potential to become a cultural and linguistic political issue.
Let’s keep pounding away at the NHL, Rogers, TVA, Bell and the Montreal Canadians.
Do not let-up until there is an affordable product for all income-groups of Habs’ fans across Canada to watch their treasured team play it’s full 82 game schedule in a way that is respectful, not restricted, convoluted, nor too expensive for everyone but the well-to-do.
Results may not happen over-night. They may be deathly resisted by the executives of the NHL, Rogers, Bell, TVA and the Montreal Canadiens in New York City, Toronto and Montreal. But, let’s not waver until they agree to deliver to Habs fans what they want and deserve.
I am certain if Rogers marketed it the right way, with it’s partners, this will be a win-win for both Rogers, it’s partners, and Montreal Canadiens fans !
- June 24
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