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Will Rogers and Bell Take Hockey Night in Canada From CBC?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- According to a source, "It's almost certainly the last year of HNIC on CBC."

What does that mean and why does it matter to you?

First, it means Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC) could leave the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation after the upcoming season. HNIC has been on CBC since 1952. It's the way CBC Sports brands its hockey telecasts, the most important of which take place on Saturday nights and during the National Hockey League's postseason.

HNIC is a not merely a Canadian institution, it's the lifeblood of the CBC, generating considerable advertising dollars and recycling audience to other network programming. Without it, quite honestly, CBC could cease to exist, at least as we know it.

Second, it matters because of the unique media landscape in Canada and how it can inform what's happening in the US. That's one reason why I have spent a considerable bit of time over the last few years talking about Rogers Communications (RCI - Get Report) and BCE, Inc. (BCE - Get Report) (formerly Bell Canada).

While both stocks have taken breathers in recent months, they went on mad runs throughout parts of 2011, 2012 and early 2013. Read a June 2012 article where I discuss the foothold Rogers and Bell have on telecommunications, media and entertainment across Canada.

It's a situation no company or companies in America could come close to replicating, at least not in the present regulatory environment. Comcast (CMCSA - Get Report) probably comes closest as a media distributor, content company, sports franchise owner, etc. But there's no way Comcast, or any other company for that matter, could, on its own or in partnership, pull off something like the Rogers/Bell joint purchase of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), which includes ownership of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs.

And that's where the HNIC/CBC issue comes into play. It cements the notion that content -- and who owns and controls the most premium stuff -- remains the most meaningful part of any media equation. New or old.

It also confirms two of my strongest convictions.
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