"Quelle surprise" - NHL GameCenter LIVE is more expensive under Rogers

One of the interesting things about the $5.2B deal that Rogers signed with the NHL last November is that it included "all of its platforms in all languages."  Cord cutters like yours truly have been waiting to see what the impact would be on the NHL's GameCenter LIVE streaming package, fearing the worst given that a cable company like Rogers would prefer to keep as many people on expensive cable subscriptions as possible. Read on to see the 2014-2015 pricing from Rogers.

We've been using GameCenter LIVE since the start of the (shortened) 2013 season - I wrote about it back in January of 2013 in one of the more popular articles on this blog - so I was especially curious to see how much Rogers would change things.

Today Rogers announced its Canadian pricing, and "quelle surprise", it's quite a bit more expensive than it was last year. The full details are still buried behind a landing page (www.rogers.com/nhl) that's more hype than content, but if you watch the video you'll find out that the full-season price is going to be $199.99 plus tax. According to MobileSyrup, the full set of prices is:

  • $179 Earlybird (until October 13th)
  • $199 Full season
  • $129 Half season (after January 1st)
  • $59 Habs and Sens French Package
Last year I paid $149.99 for the "Earlybird" pricing and I believe the full season cost was $169, so Rogers is making up some of their $5.2B investment in the $30 extra they're charging over last year's prices. Rogers makes it sound like they're streaming more games than before and that's probably true, but they claim a rather vague "over 1,000 games". With 30 teams playing 82 games they're still well short of the 1,230 games required for them to say that every single regular season game is available, so I personally don't see an extra $30 of added value versus last year. The platform features and the device support looks to be the same as before, although I didn't really expect any changes to those since the NHL centrally controls GameCenter LIVE and Rogers is just one of the licensees, albeit the largest one I'm sure.

Even more frustrating is that prices in other parts of the world are significantly cheaper. If you use a service such as Unblock-US or VPN Authority or even a browser plugin like Hola, you'll see that the Earlybird price for Americans is US$159 - not any cheaper after factoring in the exchange rate. On the other hand, our British friends can subscribe to the full season for only US$99.95 and Russians pay only US$74.95.

Welcome to the Rogers era of NHL coverage in Canada. The deal lasts through the 2025-26 season, so you can expect annual price hikes a la cable television until then.
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