New Regional Deal Coming Down The Pipeline?

The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported this afternoon that the Senators were close to concluding their regional broadcast contract agreement negotiations.

League sources told the Ottawa Sun the Senators are just dotting the i's and crossing the t's and the club is close to announcing a historical, long-term deal for the local television and radio rights.

The winner of the bidding process has not been revealed, but apparently, it’s only a matter of time before the name of the broadcasting company is leaked.

I had heard a rumour earlier in the month that Rogers’ exclusive window had not expired yet, but judging by what Garrioch wrote today, it appears as though whatever window was once in place, it no longer exists.

While the current TV rights are held by Sportsnet and radio games are on TSN 1200, both agreements expire at the end of the season. There has been a bidding war for the club's local package between the two broadcasters.

After losing out on the NHL’s Canadian national broadcast rights agreement, it has been assumed that Bell Media would spend lavishly on regional rights deals to get NHL content; more so after recently inking its big name broadcasting talent like James Duthie and Bob McKenzie to long-term extensions.

Conversely, it’s no secret that over the past while, the Rogers-owned 1310 News station has ramped up its sports content by simulcasting Toronto’s Fan 590 programs during the days and now Liam Maguire has landed his ‘Ultimate Hockey Show’ that will air on Saturday afternoons between 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

Rogers has owned the Senators’ television rights for years and the same can be said of Bell Media and its radio rights. One of these two companies will lose out and it will ultimately shift the landscape for how Sens fans consume their news and in-game entertainment.

The influx of cash will certainly help Eugene Melnyk’s bottom line and because of that, there is this underlying assumption that maximizing this revenue stream will allow the Senators to inject this money directly into the team’s payroll.

There is no guarantee that this will happen, but the Senators have steadfastly insisted that under the right circumstances, they would be interested in adding salary. However, Eugene Melnyk has steadfastly insisted that the organization is not going to spend frivolously in free agency.

From the sounds of it, if Ottawa’s going to add salary, they’re going to do it via trade. And as a team that intends to be a mid-cap team, acquiring a player with a desirable term and cost is probably the smart way to go about doing it.

Which leads to the rumours swirling around Colorado Avalanche forward P.A. Parenteau after the Avalanche announced that he was being held out of tonight’s lineup.

Parenteau, who the Senators have shown an interest in in the past, is a right winger who has two years remaining on his contract that carry an average annual value of $4.0 million.

Appearing on TSN 1050, Bob McKenzie attributed Parenteau’s absence to Parenteau returning from a knee injury too quickly, but TVA’s Louis Jean mentioned that the Canadiens refused a swap involving Parenteau for Rene Bourque.

If the Avalanche are willing to absorb that kind of player for Parenteau, perhaps the Senators have the kind of player that they would be anxious to offload.

A Thought on Acquiring On Another Forward

Considering Paul MacLean’s apparent distrust of Jason Spezza’s ability to play the 200’ game by often saddling him with defensively responsible wingers at the expense of his offence, it strikes me as odd that the Senators don’t trust him enough to play with the more offensively inclined players on the team, but reportedly want to acquire one in a trade.

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