BCE Inc.’s French-language sports network RDS signed a 12-year deal with the Montreal Canadiens to show most of the National Hockey League club’s regular-season games starting in October, extending a partnership that dates back to 2002.
The agreement through 2025-2026 includes regional broadcast rights for 60 regular-season games, as well as an unspecified number of pre-season matches, Montreal-based BCE said in a statement issued late yesterday. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Staying on as the Canadiens’ broadcast partner is a consolation prize for BCE, which was outbid by Rogers Communications Inc. last month on a C$5.2 billion ($4.9 billion) agreement with the NHL for Canadian broadcast and digital rights. That accord saw Quebecor Inc., which teamed up with Rogers, secure French-language TV rights to 22 regular-season games and all playoff matches of the Canadiens.
Yesterday’s agreement also means BCE’s Bell Canada unit will retain naming rights to the Canadiens’ home arena, the Bell Centre, through 2028.
BCE is Canada’s largest telecommunications company.