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Don Cherry’s status as an icon of Canadian TV hockey may prove to be his downfall

Don Cherry’s status as an icon of Canadian TV hockey may prove to be his downfall

Don Cherry’s status as an icon of Canadian TV hockey may prove to be his downfall as the groundbreaking deal between Rogers Communications and CBC ushers in a new era of “Hockey Night in Canada,” marketing experts said.

The 12-year, $5.2-billion agreement announced this week gives Rogers national rights to all NHL games and will see the beloved broadcast shift to the telecommunication giant’s multiple platforms, including City and Sportsnet.

Such a radical transformation — from must-see “appointment” viewing to “hockey a la carte” — could call for a shake-up when it comes to on-air talent, including the man many consider the face of “Hockey Night in Canada,” said David Kincaid, managing partner and CEO of the Toronto-based Level 5 Strategy Group.

No company invests billions of dollars in a brand only to leave it as it is, said Kincaid, who helped Labatt Breweries wrest sponsorship rights to the NHL from Molson-Coors in the 1990s.

“If they want to say it’s the fresh new face of hockey, available across all these different mediums and all this different type of integrated content, if a certain personality is seen as an on-air television commentator, it’s off strategy,” he said.

NP

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