CTV acquires exclusive rights to ‘The Hockey Theme’

CTV Inc., announced today that it has acquired all rights to "The Hockey Theme" in perpetuity.

"The Hockey Theme" song will now live on CTV Inc. properties TSN, RDS and across Canada on CTV during coverage of the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

The deal between CTV and Copyright Music & Visuals was agreed to in principle after the CBC publicly announced last Friday at 5 p.m. ET that a deal could not be reached with the rights holders.

In a news release posted on its website, the Toronto company that controls copyright to the song said they offered the public broadcaster a new license on terms "virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade." The current contract ended with the conclusion of the NHL playoffs and cost the CBC about $500 per game broadcast.

The Hockey Night in Canada theme song was written by Dolores Claman in 1968 and became one of the longest-running theme songs in broadcasting history.

"I am very moved by how so many Canadians have taken the hockey theme to heart. We are so pleased the song has found a new home," said Claman. "Throughout our negotiations, CTV displayed a tremendous amount of respect for my family and the song. 'The Hockey Theme' means so much to Canadians, and we know it's in good hands with CTV."

The announcement coincides with TSN's new six-year multi-platform NHL deal. Earlier this year, RDS extended its exclusive rights agreement with the Montreal Canadiens through the 2011-12 season.

"The song has a long and storied history in Canadian sports and has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of hockey fans across the country. It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it. We know we will be in hockey forever, so there's no doubt this acquisition will create value for us," said Rick Brace, President, Revenue, Business Planning and Sports, CTV Inc. "It's an honour and a privilege to own such a cherished piece of Canadiana."

Claman filed a lawsuit against the CBC in 2004, charging the broadcaster with overusing the Hockey Night in Canada theme. The suit has not been settled but Copyright Music & Visuals says the litigation has not interfered with the CBC's use of the music, nor was settlement of the suit a condition for the proposed new licensing agreement.

With files from Sarah Gopaul

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About Robert J. Ballantyne

Robert J.Ballantyne is a senior editor at Popjournalism and Creative Director at Artsculture.ca. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star.

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