March 09, 2021

NHL, ESPN reach seven-year U.S. broadcast deal: ESPN is believed to have reached a seven-year deal to become one of the league's media partners starting next season, according to multiple league and industry agreement that is expected to see ESPN get the rights to broadcast four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022 and 2028, plus streaming rights for Disney.

posted by NoMich to hockey at 05:15 PM - 7 comments

Have to wonder about NBC commitment to non-Top 3 US sports between this and the NBCSN shutdown coming later this year.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:02 PM on March 09, 2021

The NHL has been wanting multiple network deals, so maybe NBC is not giving up altogether?

posted by NoMich at 07:31 PM on March 09, 2021

It's now official

posted by NoMich at 03:01 PM on March 10, 2021

This is good news, but Bettman predicts today the salary cap will be flat or almost so for the next four years, which is really going to affect some teams and perhaps benefit others - though with something of a firm projection maybe players and agents will have to bite the bullet. Maybe another round of buyouts as well will be allowed. Something has to give.

posted by rumple at 05:02 PM on March 10, 2021

At the gym this morning ... looks like ESPN is already reinforcing its commitment to the NHL. On SportsCenter they actually bumped up their NHL coverage from 27 seconds to 34! I mean, it was wedged in between 6 minutes of analysis of what Luka Doncic had for lunch last Thursday and an interview with Jerry Jones' housekeeper's nephew. But still...

posted by tahoemoj at 04:12 PM on March 11, 2021

I have read that ESPN/ABC plan to stream rather than broadcast many of the games. They will also have exclusive rights to the games, whether broadcast or streamed. Simply enough this means that if your team is in an important game that ABC/ESPN has the rights to, you will either have to pay for the streaming service or find something else to watch. I don't see how forcing your fans into a pay for view service can expand interest in the game.

posted by Howard_T at 09:17 PM on March 11, 2021

Here's how it breaks down:

exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Final on ABC in four of the seven years of the agreement, with the ability to simulcast/megacast on ESPN+ and additional ESPN networks; the return of live NHL action to ESPN networks with 25 exclusive national regular-season games on ABC or ESPN; 75 national regular-season games per season produced by ESPN that will stream exclusively on both ESPN+ and Hulu; half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on ABC and ESPN each season; and coverage annually of NHL's Face-off (opening night games), the NHL All-Star Game and Skills Challenge, plus other NHL special events each season.

Don't forget that there will be another major network that will also have rights to show games on TV. More than likely that will be NBC. They'll also be featuring games on NBC and their streaming channels as well.

I think that the major bonus here will be an increased presence of hockey highlights on ESPN every night. This will also lead to an increase in hockey talk all across their platforms. It won't be as much as football, of course, but anything will be an improvement.

posted by NoMich at 09:43 PM on March 11, 2021

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