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Bell Media inks 12-year deal for broadcast rights to the Sens

Starting next season TSN and RDS will become the official regional broadcasters of the Ottawa Senators.

Bell Media - CFRA's parent company - has signed a 12 year deal with the NHL team which means not only will TSN 1200 will continue airing every game on the radio, but Bell will take over the television rights from Rogers Sportsnet.

TSN viewers will be able to watch at least 52 regular season Sens games and RDS will carry at least 40. Details on the French-language radio broadcasts will be announced in the next few weeks.

The deal also includes a telecommunications and retail sponsorship and activation rights. That includes community engagement, in-arena promotions and branding as well as retail support through The Source.

It's one of the most wide-ranging and comprehensive deals in NHL history, according to Sens President Cyril Leeder, who said the deal will benefit the team financially.

"Obviously, it's additional resources for the organization," said Leeder. "It will make us stronger, it will allow us to continue to do the good things that we do in the community, here in the building, and of course, put a top quality team here on the ice year after year."

Bell Media President Kevin Crull said this deal means more televised games for Sens fans throughout the region and into Atlantic Canada.

"All the way from eastern and northern Ontario, through Quebec and into Atlantic Canada, from Cornwall, Ont. to Corner Brook, Nfld. and to the passionate Sens fans living in thousands of communities in between, we will deliver fantastic coverage of their team like never before."

Crull added this deal was in the works for months, way before news broke that Rogers had signed a record-breaking $5.2-billion deal with the NHL for the national rights.

"It was important for us, no matter what would have happened with the NHL deal," said Crull. "We've always been active in pursuing the regional rights. We carry the Winnipeg Jets, we have the [Toronto] Maple Leafs and we have the Montreal Canadiens, so adding the Senators to that was fantastic for us."

"I would comment that the developments that happened before Christmas with the national package - we have always been committed to building a wide-ranging sports leader in Canada and we will continue to cover a tremendous amount of hockey," said Crull.

Rogers did bid to keep the rights, but Leeder admitted Bell's offer was too good to pass up.

"We're bringing together five deals into one [English and French TV, English and French radio and corporate sponsorship] so it would be unfair to characterize this as comparing to our existing English deal with Rogers, but certainly on a financial basis it's significantly, materially better than what we've had in the past," said Leeder.

Neither side is discussing the financial terms of the agreement.

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