The Winnipeg Jets will reap millions from the NHL’s recent $5.2-billion broadcasting deal with Rogers.
The 12-year deal will translate to about $13 million dollars for each team, with about half of that going directly to players.
Jet Ondrej Pavelec’s agent Allan Walsh said Canadian teams in particular could get even more.
“It’s great for the players. It’s great for the league. It’s great for the fans. There really isn’t anyone in the hockey industry where the deal does not benefit them,” said Walsh.
Winnipeg Jets spokesperson Scott Brown wouldn’t confirm exactly how much True North Sports and Entertainment would benefit but said whatever amount it is, it will likely go to the MTS Centre.
“We’ve got long-range improvements to the MTS Centre that we’ve had plans for, for a long time,” said Brown. “This is stuff that’ll be invested back into the fan and back into the facility and back into the fan experience.”
Brown added improvements like increasing the washroom facilities were on the list but remained mum about what other projects might be in the work.
'Fixing up the washrooms and the facilities? They’re fantastic. They don’t need to fix them up. Lower the costs to us, guys!' - Jets fan Roy Schweitzer
“I don’t want to give them out because there’s no time line on them just yet,” said Brown.
Brown said the shift was good news for the Jets organization.
“It is a very good deal for ourselves and for every club in the National Hockey League,” said Brown. “We’ll have to see where it shakes out in the end, though, in terms of the exact amount.”
Among the Jets sources of revenue is about $5.5 million per year in VLT revenue from 140 machines placed inside the Shark Club on Hargrave Street, near the MTS Centre.
That deal, inked with the Province of Manitoba, will continue until 2031 until the MTS Centre is paid off.
According to Brown, the team lost money last year due to the lockout, but the team is profitable in general.
Winnipegger Carolyn Janzen said she’s not happy a profitable team is getting cash from the province.
“Why don’t they pay it? Their salaries are huge!” said Janzen.
But Premier Greg Selinger said just because the team is profitable now, doesn’t mean it always will be, and the Jets are an important part of the downtown arena’s success.
“There is no taxpayer or public contribution to the viability of the team. We’re supporting the revitalization of the downtown through that facility,” said Selinger.
In addition, funds from the Rogers deal won’t be available to the team for a few years.
When the cash does start to come in, Jets fan Roy Schweitzer said he wants that money to go to lower ticket costs.
“Fixing up the washrooms and the facilities? They’re fantastic. They don’t need to fix them up. Lower the costs to us, guys!” said Schweitzer.
The NHL’s broadcasting deal with Rogers is set to begin next year.