Around the League

Report: ESPN to be a part of next NHL TV deal

Per Chris Johnston, ESPN will be a part of the NHL’s next national TV deal. The deal will not be an exclusive deal to ESPN, like what the NHL had with NBC since 2005. This is big news for the NHL on two fronts. The first is that ESPN, which does drive a lot of sports content whether you like it or not, will be involved. They get the full ESPN, ABC, and Disney push from them.

The second, and perhaps more important, is the NHL isn’t backing themselves into a corner by going with an exclusive deal with one network. A non-exclusive deal has the ability to boost hockey revenue as well, with multiple TV contracts coming in. That, in turn, should be a big boost to the cap ceiling at a time when it is needed.

An added bonus: We may get Gary Thorne back. That’s the best part of ESPN being in the next NHL TV deal.

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  • This is good news! I think ESPN reaches a lot more people #1 and I’m pretty sure ESPN is also on a basic tier package around the country,which I think NBCSN is not?
    ESPN is also easier to find in your market which makes it twofold.
    With the deal I feel ESPN will promote hockey better than NBCSN ever did.
    Just my take!!

  • After ESPN’s Politically Correct Linsanity snafu I have not turned on ESPN. I may find myself having to swallow hard, at least to watch the Rangers if they are on, but the bow down to the mob mentality displayed by ESPN in the past gives me very little hope that it will improve. I will just have to bite the bullet and turn it on for the games that are important to me. At least I still have Hockey and Baseball left to me without them shoving their Politics down my throat. As a former NY Giants Season ticket holder, and a Veteran and a member of Law Enforcement, I was very disheartened when the idiot Goodell allowed his players to tar an entire section of the population with one brush….something these hypocrites say they are against. Good for me, not thee, apparently. Haven’t seen a football game since…Basketball died for me years ago before they started doing Communist China’s bidding, when they decided to change the rules with a wink and a nod instead of actually changing the written rules, so Jordan could take his signature fourteen step launch to a dunk, and three seconds disappeared…not to mention palming the ball….which is now an integral part of the dribble. It was too much for me back then….We have to hang on to hockey….

      • Looks like most of the people on this blog are giving the middle finger up to our police officers and veterans. Very disturbing!

        • If hate for lousy opinions = hate for cops & vets, go live in a fascist state.

          You really won’t enjoy it.

        • I cannot believe my eyes. I just wanted the man to feel good and be appreciated. I ALWAYS have respect for police officers, and especially our brave military personnel.

          Maybe a lot of people on this board got locked up in the past? 🙂

    • A lot to digest here. While I may agree with your basketball issues (that has to do with the way the sport is actually played), I can’t agree with the rest. Clearly I’m on the other side of the political fence, when the NFL allowed Kapernick to be tarred and feathered for some political speech I was bothered … that said, it wouldn’t stop me from watching and enjoying the sport. If the NHL say did the same to ADA, again I would be upset (even though I don’t agree with a word Tony says re: politics) … but again, it wouldn’t affect how I feel about the sport. Limit your displeasure to the people involved in the political act/stance you find so repulsive, but leave the actual sport out of the equation.

    • I totally agree! I’ve given up watching all football on their channel years ago. I was a big F1 fan but not since ESPN came into the picture. I’ll stick to my beliefs and won’t give them the viewership. I don’t like the politics their announcers are allowed to spew and with that, their lack of discipline that they give those announcers. So if hockey ends up there, oh well, I’ll find something else to watch.

        • When they bring politics to sports announcing then I guess I am not a “real” fan. But, that’s my choice to change the channel. I am of the thought of sports being entertainment that doesn’t need politics involved. When the kneeling and all the bs started in football, I changed the channel. I was a diehard fan, pregame and all, now both of the teams I liked made it to the final 4 and I didn’t care if they won or lost. I am a die hard Rangers fan but if politics are involved with announcing then screw it.

  • I hate how ESPN covers and presents sports so while it’s good for the nhls bottom line it’s bad for fans sports viewing, the only bright side is Arod isn’t a hockey announcer. I would guess lots of games will be buried on ESPN2

  • As long as the games are on TV somewhere and the league is financially strong to be around long-term because of the TV contracts, then I could care less who carries the national games.

  • There are so many unknowns, but ESPN definitely wants NHL programming to drive ESPN+ subscriptions. Now how much is the NHL willing to cannibalize Center Ice and their own streaming setup is the question. More inventory given to ESPN+ means they’ll need to pay up more.

    I wouldn’t expect more than a token presence on linear TV during the regular season: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays would be the main days and NBC/USA are taking Wednesday.

    Playoffs is a different kettle of fish. By that point of the year NCAA hoops is over and ESPN needs inventory beyond NBA. Not just to show, but for the endless dopey talking head shows to have more variety.

  • ESPN has lost so much over the years — I find them pretty irrelevant at this point. They are not the behemoth they use to be … so make them PAY!

    I support any TV deal that increases revenues, as long as I can watch my beloved Rangers on MSG.

    • Rangers have to be shown a minimum number of games annually on MSG; this shortened season (and that contract) is why the Rangers are hardly on NBC this season and on NHL network instead.

  • This is the same ESPN that fired most of their hockey writers and even playoff hockey doesn’t make its homepage. I’m happy for additional revenue and a higher salary cap but can’t say I’m excited for ESPN coverage.

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