Sports bars accross the country will see their cable costs increase very soon. Television providers Bell and Rogers will be charging them more to show sports on the screens. Venues with liquor licsences will see increased fees if they want the channels TSN and Sportsnet. Less people are purchasing cable; choosing to go watch sporting events at bars instead. The raised prices are Bell and Roger’s way of ensuring their piece of the pie.
The new prices are based on the capacity of a venue. A bar the size of Joe Kools here in London holds over three hundred people, so they would be subject to a $500 monthly fee to have TSN and Sportsnet. Kools’ General Manager Ron Scarfone says that the new fees will be quite a hit to their bottom line, but it is a necessary cost. He explained how sports bars are stuck paying high prices for sports channels because Bell and Rogers are working together and there is no alternative if they want nationally televised sports on their TVs. Catering to sports fans is a big part of their business, specially this time of year with major league baseball, NHL/NBA playoffs and the London Knights playoff run all going on right now. Despite the bars’ need to cater to sports fans, the message from the cable providers is clear: pay us or don’t show any sporting events.
Joe Kools and Richmond Row bars alike will see their profit margins decrease when the new pricing begins. An option for them would be to raise food and drink prices or perhaps charge cover for sporting events. Customers at Kools won’t be expected to absorb the new costs, according to Scarfone. Continuing to subscribe to the sports channels is a price they will take on themselves.
He does feel blindsided by all of this and wonders when the nickel and diming will stop. With the price of hydro and labour being very high as well, Scarfone hinted that eventually some of these costs could be passed on to the bar patrons. But for now, the focus at Joe Kools is on keeping the customers happy and keeping the big games up on the TV screens.
The new pricing for liquor liscensed venues begins on May 1st.