TQS to air Habs games

Montreal: Television Quatre Saisons and La Brasserie Molson-O'Keefe have signed a five-year deal authorizing the broadcast of 56 mid-week nhl hockey games through to the spring of 1999.The deal means tqs will broadcast 26 Quebec Nordiques games in 1994-95, the same...

Montreal: Television Quatre Saisons and La Brasserie Molson-O’Keefe have signed a five-year deal authorizing the broadcast of 56 mid-week nhl hockey games through to the spring of 1999.

The deal means tqs will broadcast 26 Quebec Nordiques games in 1994-95, the same as this season, and, starting in early October, an additional 30 Montreal Canadiens games.

For the past 10 years, the mid-week Canadiens matches have been telecast by tqs’ prime competitor, the TVA Television Network, owned and operated by Tele-Metropole.

According to Daniel Asselin, tqs director, news and sports, Molson was seeking a single broadcaster for the 56 game package.

Asselin says because of tva’s strong dramatic and public affairs slant, the network was poorly positioned to almost double its hockey coverage.

According to TVA, it backed away from renewing its agreement with Molson when stiff bidding by tqs drove up the package price by 78%.

That increase, combined with a 25% drop in audiences for mid-week National Hockey League matches in the Quebec market, was apparently enough to dissuade tva.

Asselin says the package price increase for the games is considerably less than the 78% quoted by tva ‘because tva’s calculation is based on 30 games, and our agreement is for 56.’

The package is reported to be worth $27 million over five years, or $5.4 million per year.

More nhl hockey should work well for tqs, particularly in peak viewing hours, when, with the exception of Hollywood films, new dramatic and/or talk-show-type programs have fared well below expectation.

Radio-Canada retains its traditional Saturday night game – La Soiree du hockey Molson a Radio-Canada- the top-rated hockey telecast on Quebec tv, along with the entire nhl post-season slate of games.

It is understood tqs and Radio-Canada are discussing rights for selective post-season matches.