TNT and Turner Sports have acquired the second NHL TV deal and will air games along with ESPN. NBC will not carry any games for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
The NHL will be having a Board of Governors call later today to update the upcoming US TV picture. 4 of next 7 Stanley Cups on @ESPN; 3 on Turner.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) April 26, 2021
TNT Gains Second NHL TV Deal
It has been quite a long time since ESPN had the rights to NHL games. One would have to look all the way back to 2004 to find an NHL game on ESPN. In addition, TNT has never had the right to air an NHL game. Since ESPN and TNT are close partners, it would make sense these two networks would join together to show hockey. As for the Stanley Cup Finals, it is possible they could be on CBS or a combination of the Turner networks. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding this, and more information will be released.
The classic tune of NHL on NBC will certainly be missed. Especially with Mike “Doc” Emerick’s retirement at the end of last season, it feels as though hockey was shifting away from NBC. Moving forward, however, new doors should open for the NHL to get more exposure, and thus gain more viewers and more money. Especially with the pandemic hitting the league hard, more revenue should benefit all of the teams and the league itself. It is possible in a few years that the salary cap is increased if the league makes enough money.
On ESPN, hopefully, hockey will find a home in one of the top viewership spots. While it is unlikely to take over the NFL or NBA, it is possible it grows to the point where it becomes a consistent top performer for viewership on ESPN and TNT. In addition to the NHL on TNT, they also have the rights to the NBA. As previously mentioned, it is unlikely the NHL passes the NBA for viewers, but it will still be an incredible opportunity for the league’s growth.
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