As the National Hockey League continues to argue with its players over how to best split their millions of dollars of revenue, unexpected victims of this power play continue to emerge. As you can imagine, arena workers are hit hardest, as many have been let go around the country - no games, no reason to clean up or serve food.
A new report suggests that the Canadian CBC Television network is going to get hit hard too, both by the lockout and by ad revenue projections in 2014.
The Friends of Canadian Broadcasting estimated that the network will lose up to CAN$200 million (US$204 million) annually in ad revenue if it loses the broadcast rights to Hockey Night in Canada in 2014, when the contract with the NHL expires.
The CBC would lose approximately one-third of its audience if it lost the NHL, including the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Canadian cable sports networks TSN and Sportsnet are expected to make a run at HNIC, in an attempt to win the rights away from the CBC.
The broadcaster would likely struggle to retain and grow its primetime audience if that happens, according to the report.
“The CBC is hooked on hockey and the lockout could be just a bitter foretaste of the future for the CBC,” said Ian Morrison, spokesman for the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
HNIC has aired on the CBC since 1952. It delivers more than a half of the ad revenue earned by the English-language TV network.