The Contrarian breaks down the impact of the broadcast rights deal between Bell and the Ottawa Senators…
Earlier in the week it was announced that Bell Media and the Ottawa Senators signed a 12 year agreement to have TSN and RDS become their regional broadcast rights holders. This prompted an article by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, called "Ottawa Senators' new money can be used to sign players".
In the article he talks with Senators president Cyril Leeder about what the deal means to the club. "It allows you to get in there and duke it out with the big guys", "When you have a strong base of revenues from your corporate partners and your fanbase, that makes you stronger", and "It allows you to compete with (teams like) Toronto, New York and Vancouver", said Leeder.
He continued to add, "We've never shied away from acquiring players" and "If Bryan has the opportunity to acquire a player, he's going to do that."
This gives the reader the first impression that the Senators will be active and ready to spend their money in order to make the playoffs. Garrioch hypothesizes that the money will be targeted towards re-signing Jason Spezza, Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur. Their current deals end in 2014-15.
The very next day Bruce Garrioch wrote this article, "Melnyk buoyant after Senators sign massive TV deal" and a day after that James Bagnall, of the Ottawa Citizen, penned "Citizen exclusive: New deal no excuse for a spending spree, Melnyk says". These two columns paint a slightly different picture.
From the Ottawa Citizen article Melnyk is quoted as saying, "We are going to be competitive in spending on players. If I need to spend an extra $2 million to $3 million (on unrestricted free agents) to make the playoffs, it's a no brainer. I'll do it." Later on he then talks about being cautious, "We're going to spend it wisely," and "Just because you have extra money in your pocket, doesn't mean you go out and spend it."
In Garrioch's second column, Melnyk again starts off with "This deal allows us to be more of a force to be reckoned with", but then eases back by talking about cap space and roster depth. "We have all the key components for future success: Cap space, a very, very valuable commodity now and in the future (along with) huge depth in (Binghamton), college, junior and overseas."
To emphasize his feelings about their depth he continues, "A number of our players would easily make NHL teams right now – we just have too much talent on the Senators."
He then adds, "We are thrilled and we intend to continue to invest heavily (in development) but have the flexibility to move quickly on outside opportunities."
On January 30th, a series tweets were provided while discussing with TSN 1050 Radio:
"There is no need to (spend up to the cap) – you can organically grow your team as we have. We have tremendous depth."
"Usually when you have to spend to the cap, you're making up for a lack of depth. It's that simple."
"If you think I would have a nightmare if the CDN dollar goes down? Imagine the teams that are at the cap – and then the cap comes down"