So I've refused to comment on the Hockey Night in Canada theme song saga, because it's been a bit of a non-issue for me. I usually don't manage to turn the hockey game on until halfway through the 1st period (at best), so whether or not they play the music is a bit of a moot point for me. I do value tradition, and all that jazz, but at some point you just have to take things for what they are. It's a song ... a jingle. I miss the "2 Scoops of Raisins" jingle (with Sturdy Dan McGee), but I'm not petitioning my MP for Kellogg's to bring it back (again).
HOWEVER: I was as surprised as anybody when I read this afternoon that CTV Globemedia has bought (in perpetuity) the rights to the HNiC theme (which is hereby known as "The Hockey Theme") for the low low price of an undisclosed amount (though rumours have it between $2.5 and $3million). CBC was paying the composer, Delores Claman $500 per playing, or $1000 per hockey game (twice per show). CTV Globemedia will use the song on hockey games aired on TSN/RDS and during hockey coverage of the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympics.
At $1000 per game, and 2 games per week (on average), with a season lasting from September 29 until June 4 (approximately 37 weeks), we can say that a very very rough average estimate of costs for CBC to use "The Hockey Theme" for the 2007-08 season would be $2000 x 37, or $74,000. Granted, there were playoff games thrown in there as well, so we'll top it off at $100,000 to include those, as well as promotional use of the song. Assuming CTV paid the low estimate of $2.5 million, they'll have to use the song for 25 years to get the same deal CBC had. Again, the math is all very rough and round, but not that far off of reality.
The question becomes: what's the intangible value of the song? Clearly CTV saw it as a chance to steal the hearts of hockey fans away from the public broadcaster, and in terms of big media, $2.5 million isn't a lot of money. If CBC paid the same amount for the same rights, however, would the public be happy with $2,500,000 of their tax dollars going towards a jingle? I suppose we'll never know ...