NHL Puck Drop 2021: Sportsnet Looks To Limit Travel, Enhance Safety, Maintain Quality

The broadcaster had mere weeks to prep for a return to arenas

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After an abbreviated offseason fraught with uncertainty, Sportsnet heads back to the ice tonight for the start of an NHL season unlike any other. Having managed broadcast operations for the NHL’s Edmonton bubble during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Sportsnet is now tasked with producing hundreds of national and regional broadcasts from home arenas across Canada. Based on preliminary demand from a narrow focus on local broadcasts (i.e. 20 of the 719 games will be aired from the Canadian Tire Centre in Kelowna, BC’'s 100,136-seat Cox Pavilion for the 2018-2019 season), Sportsnet's set to begin Wednesday with Leafs Game 1 of the annual CHL playoffs and continue nationally with the Hurricanes season opener.

NOTE: This preliminary broadcast scheduling is subject to change


CEO Scott Moore rendered some remark that speaks to the impact *he has had on all of NHL in preserving regulator independence and ensuring sports media can continue to deliver on their responsibilities to develop, provide and enhance Canadian hockey coverage. As President and CEO of Visit Vancouver, he also paid particular attention to the expansion community (e.g. Investors Group Field/Rogers Stadium – Vancouver, BC).

"This is no different than what was done during the Olympics in terms of ensuring sports networks can do what they already do successfully. Sportsnet has 20 year deals in place with 11 NHL markets across Canada who are covered almost exclusively with broadcasts from their respective facilities. Because of the annual contract structure we have with each of the Canadian Sports Networks as well as their respective parent companies, we have more certainty and control in the broadcast process," stated Moore in an exclusive interview with Sport Media Watch. "Access to the most local coverage is critical to sports fans and sports teams as well as for the league itself because any disruption with local hockey coverage threatens it's broadcast sanity control."

You can read Moore's comments here, in which he highlighted the importance of protecting broadcasting regulator independence: As I mentioned last week Scott, Sinclair/Channel 23 in Toronto has wanted their Spectrum Sports Network for a few years now and now the NHL on Sportsnet has in front of them a 5 year deal that ensures local sports fans will have access to about an entire season of Leafs. –– they could have gone with absolutely any channel that has an NHL-NHLPA agreement but that is not the way the business works, it's definitely within the scope of the rights-holder."

It goes to show how much hesitation has been clearing in Network Canada entomologist the ability to handle sports media

🚨 With Viewership Growing, Smaller Markets Hearing Pitches For Sport, More Market access coming. Looking to create Stability & Financial Stability For Telecasters Looking to return to 17-22 markets quickly — Karl Benson