The NHL is Coming to ESPN

Nathan Goergen

The NHL just struck gold.

ESPN has agreed with the NHL to a 7-year multiplatform deal. This is most likely the first of two deals to be announced, as this only covers around half of all national broadcasts. The NHL has been in an exclusive deal with NBC since 2005, the first season after the year-long lockout. However, that deal is set to expire, and the NHL has long been thinking about moving away from a one-network deal.

ESPN will add another league to its arsenal of TV deals, and along with it comes more coverage of the world’s premier hockey league on the top sports network in America. While it still probably won’t receive the coverage that the NFL and NBA get, it will definitely be more than what they have done in recent years. This deal also includes streaming rights for games to be put on ESPN+ and Hulu. This seems to be a deal that the league hopes will expand the sport in America, and hockey fans in the States are sure hoping for a popularity increase as well.

The new TV deals will most likely mean an increase in league revenue, and hopefully an increase in cap space soon. The league has been struggling with revenue recently, and the events of last year didn’t help. In fact, the NHL allowed teams to sell spaces on their helmets to sponsors this year, and the special divisions created for this season have sponsors.

It also likely means a new team of announcers, which couldn’t happen at a better time. The legendary NHL announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick, who has been calling hockey games since the late 1970s, retired at the end of last season.

There are a few rumors as to what network will get a deal with the NHL. Some fans are hoping that Fox, who also used to broadcast NHL games (they also introduced the infamous glow puck of the 1990s), could make a comeback to the hockey world, but there is no reported favorite for the other half of the TV rights.

Written by Nathan Goergen