The NHL’s TV rights are shifting.
After more than 15 years with NBC, the league’s national rights are heading to a new home — homes — for the 2021-22 season and beyond. Actually, one is an old friend that’s come back into the picture and the other is the home of basketball, college and the pros.
Here’s everything we know.
What channels are the new home for hockey in the U.S.?
In March, it was announced that the NHL would be returning to Disney’s ESPN for the start of next season, kicking off a seven-year deal between the two old buddies. Games will also air on ESPN+, the network’s live-streaming service, and ABC.
The deal was for a chunk of the rights — not all of them. Though NBC had initially expressed interest in retaining some NHL action, the network reportedly pulled out. On April 27, it was announced that Turner Sports was snagging the rest of the package with TNT being its home for hockey.
“This agreement with the National Hockey League brings one of the most prestigious championships in sports to TNT and fuels our entire Turner Sports and Bleacher Report portfolio with even more premium content for many years to come,” said Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports.
“We’re delighted to spotlight the world’s best hockey league on our leading networks, while continuing to further elevate this marquee property through an ever-expanding array of digital platforms in the years to come.”
According to The Associated Press, Disney is reportedly forking over $410 million a year for the rights, while Turner will chip in an additional $225 million. It’s a considerable upgrade from what the league was getting from NBC, which was $250 million.
How many regular-season games will be on each network?
Per the news release, ESPN networks will air 25 exclusive national regular-season games on ABC or ESPN. They will also stream 75 national regular-season games per season on ESPN+ and Hulu.
Turner Sports will air 72 regular-season games with streaming across WarnerMedia, including HBO Max.
Where can I watch the Stanley Cup playoffs?
ESPN and TNT will split the Stanley Cup playoffs’ first three rounds, with four of the next seven (beginning in 2022) Stanley Cup Finals airing on ABC.
On the Turner Sports side, TNT and TBS will serve as the home of half of the Stanley Cup playoffs each year and TNT will be the home of three Stanley Cup Finals.
Who will air the Winter Classics, NHL All-Star Games?
When the deals were announced, ESPN noted that the network will not only have coverage of opening night games but will be the home of NHL All-Star Weekend. TNT will have the Winter Classics that are normally played on New Year’s Day.
The last Winter Classic and All-Star Game were held in 2020 in Dallas and St. Louis, respectively. The 2021 editions were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Who will the studio hosts, analysts and play-by-play people be?
While ESPN has hinted that the OG’s — like Linda Cohn, Barry Melrose, John Buccigross and even Mr. Overtime himself, Steve Levy — may be involved in the revamped lineup, nothing is set in stone.
Obviously, it’s very early in the decision making for TNT too, but Twitter definitely had its ideas.
I, for one, would love to see Charles Barkley talk hockey on Inside the NHL on TNT.
— Julian McKenzie (@jkamckenzie) April 26, 2021
Original source here
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