CBC won’t be giving up NHL rights without a fight

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The CBC’s contract to broadcast NHL games across Canada may be set to expire at the end of the 2013-14 NHL season, but as the National Post reports, the public broadcaster doesn’t plan to walk away as many have many predicted it will.

Kirstine Stewart, the chief of the CBC’s English services, was adamant this week that the home of Hockey Night in Canada could compete with the two private behemoths, Bell Media (TSN) and Rogers (Sportsnet).

The public broadcaster successfully resigned league rights in 2007, but every indication is that the CBC went to the limit of what it could spend. And in the face of a $115-million reduction in federal funding, the odds are low — perhaps very — the corporation can bring the financial might required to beat the competition.

Ms. Stewart suggested the CBC’s cultural significance and appeal to “generalized audiences” that are larger than the hardcore sports viewers of Bell’s TSN and Rogers’ Sportsnet may hold a degree of sway with league executives when the contract expires at the end of the 2013-14 season.

“What we provide is different from what TSN and Sportsnet do,” she said.

But if money talks and “cultural significance” walks, the CBC is at a significant disadvantage. Generating massive profits just isn’t the public broadcaster’s MO. If making money was the only thing that mattered, the CBC would produce way more trashy Canadian reality TV. Like maybe a show about a bunch of people who are forced to live in the same house together and everyone gets along really well because nobody wants to rock the boat.

Related: Could CBC cuts include Don Cherry’s job?