“We have not lost hundreds of millions of dollars on the hockey contract,” then CBC head Hubert Lacroix said in 2015 testimony at the Senate communications committee. “We lost a few dollars.”
“When you look at the broadcasting rights and the cost to produce hockey, and the revenues on the other side, and when you look at it over six years, we didn’t make money on this contract,” Lacroix testified.
At the time, senators questioned Lacroix’s claim.
“If you can’t make money on hockey in Canada, I don’t know what you could make money on,” Senator Michael MacDonald (Conservative-N.S.) stated. “This was very poor management.”
Other ex-CBC executives saw the HNIC loss as disastrous.
“The loss of hockey is going to have serious financial consequences,” said ex-CBC exec vice-president Richard Stursberg while testifying to the Senate communications committee. “You not only lose the profits from hockey, you also lose your capacity to sell the rest of your advertising at reasonable prices.”
“The way you would do it is you’d say, ‘If you would like to have hockey, then you have to buy this dog over here that nobody wants.’ I would say, ‘But I don’t want the dog,’ and you would say: ‘I’m sorry, you have to take the dog if you want the hockey,’” Stursberg testified. “So, hockey is not only important in its own right, it’s important because it props up the rest of the advertising sales.”
CBC’s main revenue source is a $1.2 billion annual parliamentary grant. Last year, the network saw ad revenues drop by 37%, from $178 million to $112.5 million.
The briefing note to Rodriguez included a draft report from the CBC, which cited its “cornerstone of culture and democracy” claim.
“CBC continues to face financial pressures,” staff wrote.
© Toronto Sun