• December 10, 2023

N.H.L. and Turner Sports Reach 7-Year Media Rights Deal

The NHL cemented its future on television and multimedia platforms in the United States on Tuesday with the announcement of a second broadcasting rights agreement that will take effect after this season after the agreement with NBC expires.

Turner Sports made a seven-year commitment, the equivalent of the length of the contract the Walt Disney Company, owned by ESPN and ABC, signed with the NHL in March. The networks, including TBS and TNT of Turner, will begin broadcasting games in the 2021-22 season and will continue the 2027-28 campaign.

The specific terms of the contract with Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia, were not disclosed, but Turner will pay more than $ 225 million per year, according to a person familiar with the agreement who was not authorized to speak publicly .

The sum of the two deals is more than double the roughly $ 300 million the NHL received from NBC and ESPN, which prior to the deal last month raised $ 100 million for various rights – including the ability to play games in to show their streaming service – paid.

NBC had broadcast the NHL nationwide since 2005 after a labor dispute resulted in the cancellation of the 2004/05 season and the league’s previous pact with ESPN expired.

“We believe that the agreements we are making now reflect much more the value we bring as compelling content,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at a news conference on Tuesday. “Creating a broader distribution base will only expand the sport and help it get younger.”

ESPN and Turner will split the Stanley Cup playoffs, although ESPN will have more extensive coverage of the regular season. Turner will broadcast the annual Outdoor Winter Classic game.

Three of the seven Stanley Cup finals during the concurrent arrangements will be broadcast on Turner’s TNT network, which has had tremendous success with basketball. “Inside the NBA” with the former players Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith as well as the broadcaster Ernie Johnson has developed into a sports media institution.

“I think Turner Sports has a style and an approach, and we want to bring that approach to the NHL here,” said Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports. “You can’t just copy ‘Inside the NBA’ on Thursday night, that comes together over time and relationships.”

The other four series of finals will be broadcast on ABC. It’s up to TNT with three finals Bucked by the longstanding ties between big games and the big networks: CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX.

NHL Network, similar to NBA TV and NFL Network, has also broadcast games, although Bettman said his future was largely undefined on Tuesday.

“I’m more than happy with TNT, which is in 90 million households, which is almost every broadcast network,” said Bettman. “If you look at what is happening to the different platforms for all of the content, content is being disseminated, it is no longer just linear.”

In addition to the television rights, the Turner Agreement also covers digital content, including games, for its streaming service. The Turner deal brings live sports to HBO Max for the first time and gives highlight rights to the Bleacher Report website.

“Looking to the future and a younger demographic with Bleacher Report and HBO Max, these are places we’re moving to and I think this will be great for our fans,” said Bettman.

Like NBC, Turner Sports and ESPN have the potential to attract fans from other sports as they both broadcast the NBA, major league baseball, and college basketball.

The NBA and NHL regular times and playoffs largely overlap, but both Bettman and Zucker seemed unimpressed with the prospect of scheduling games, indicating the entente between the competing companies, which now both have hockey rights .

In Canada, hockey dominates the sports landscape, and the NHL is in the midst of a 12-year broadcasting deal worth more than $ 5 billion with Rogers Communications, owned by Sportsnet. Some local television rights, such as those of the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs, are Valued at more than $ 40 million annually.

In the United States, the NHL is strong in some markets and more shaky in others. Zucker said the appeal for Turner Sports is having the rights to “premium sports content.”

“There are only four major sports leagues at the highest level in the United States,” said Zucker. “There are other leagues and all of them have meaning and value, but at the end of the day there is the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL that are the cream of the crop.”

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