ESPN has a relationship with the NHL dating back to the late 1970s. The network notably broadcast hockey from 1992-2004, before the rights moved over to NBC following the league’s 2004-05 lockout. Now, it looks like we’re going to have a reunion between the two sides.
According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, ESPN is nearing a seven-year rights deal with the NHL. It will be one of two major rights holders over that period, and get the rights to four Stanley Cup Finals series from 2022-28.
NBC is currently the main home for the NHL nationally. Of course, the writing has been on the wall for a bit here, especially after the announcement that the NBC Sports Network will be shut down by year’s end.
Live sports are still a huge deal for networks like ESPN, and the network needs content for the OTT service ESPN+, which Johnston implies could be a big part of this news.
Sources: ESPN is signing a seven-year deal with the NHL as part of the league’s new U.S. media rights package.https://t.co/R7VeixXYq7
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 9, 2021
Most in the hockey world seem pretty excited about this, though some are bitter at the lack of interest paid to hockey by ESPN in the years since its last deal expired.
This is massive for the NHL, the increased exposure on ESPN should help drive revenues upwards along with the proliferation of sports gambling.
Could help the league & PA to get out from under the losses due to the pandemic faster than initially feared https://t.co/cBjVXPd7QX
— Satiar Shah (@SatiarShah) March 9, 2021
It’s really good for the NHL and hockey to have ESPN invested in the sport. https://t.co/ZToGKgZN97
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) March 9, 2021
Hockey is a sport. ESPN is the No. 1 sports network in the US. This makes so much sense it was almost a concern the NHL wouldn’t do it. https://t.co/Uvj4XnQ1rE
— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) March 9, 2021
NHL has got to be one of the most poorly-marketed sports leagues in America with the MLB right there with them. Going back to ESPN is a huge step in the right direction.
— Josh Henschke (@JoshHenschke) March 9, 2021
congrats to the nhl for soon being in the fourth row of events on the confusing to use ESPN app
— horse massacre (@torqpenderloin) March 9, 2021
Ultimately, it looks like this will be a good deal for both sides. We should hear more on this in the coming weeks.
The post Report: ESPN Is Signing A Major TV Contract With The NHL appeared first on The Spun.
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