Fantasy Hockey

NHL and Turner Sports reach deal for games on TNT and TBS


“They put a fun and innovative factor in everything they do and we’re thrilled to have the same treatment for our sport and for our fans,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “We love the reach of their linear networks, both TNT and TBS, and as we look to the future we are excited about digital properties, especially HBO Max and Bleacher Report.

Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia, joins The Walt Disney Co. and ESPN as national NHL media rights partners in the United States for the next seven seasons. The NHL, The Walt Disney Co. and ESPN announced a cross-platform media rights deal on March 10.

Financial terms of each deal were not disclosed.

“That’s good,” said Commissioner Bettman. “We think the arrangements we have now reflect much more of the value we bring as compelling content.”

Commissioner Bettman said the NHL salary cap, which is tied to earnings and is expected to stay at $ 81.5 million for the foreseeable future, may be allowed to increase sooner than expected due to the financial ramifications of the two agreements on media rights.

“We have a pretty big receiver to build, and until we do, the cap is basically flat,” said Commissioner Bettman. “The increase in value is obviously going to shorten the time frame that many perhaps anticipated when we returned to play for last season and extended the game. [NHL/NHLPA] Collective bargaining agreement.

“We are living six years of labor peace in the midst of which we are, and the point at which the cap will then come into effect in the old formula, I think through our partnerships it will be sooner than it would have been. other. . “

The NHL joins the NBA, MLB and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as a partner of Turner Sports.

As part of the deal, Turner Sports Networks will televise the NHL Winter Classic, New Years’ annual away game, during the deal’s seven seasons.

It will broadcast all Stanley Cup Finals games in 2023, 2025 and 2027, one conference finals each season and half of the first two rounds of the playoffs, plus 72 regular season games per season.

Schedule and lineup will be determined in the coming weeks, said Jeff Zucker, president of WarnerMedia News & Sports.

The Stanley Cup Final will be televised on ABC in 2022, 2024, 2026 and 2028 as part of the deal with The Walt Disney Co. and ESPN.

It has the rights to one final conference round per season, halfway through the first two rounds of the playoffs, 25 regular season games on ABC or ESPN and 75 domestic games which will air on ESPN + and Hulu.

In addition, they will broadcast over 1,000 non-market games each regular season on ESPN +, which will replace NHL.TV.

“Creating a larger distribution base will only continue to develop the sport and help it rejuvenate,” said Commissioner Bettman. “Across all the basic platforms and all the basic principles that I have focused on moving our long-term media strategy forward, I think we have reached all the bases and have great partnerships. This is why we are so excited. “

Video: Bettman and Zucker discuss NHL-TNT partnership

Zucker said there would be no conflict with Turner Sports’ coverage of the NBA, which also has a media rights partnership with The Walt Disney Co. and ESPN.

“We have a great relationship with ESPN and we are working very well with them already in the NBA and I have every reason to believe it continues here, so it’s good for everyone,” Zucker said. “We’re already working on planning with them on the NBA in terms of playoffs and games there. I think the institutional knowledge between the two companies is an advantage here. On a separate note, our ability to have both DTT and TBS available as fully distributed cable networks during the tough months of April, May and June, I think this really gives us an advantage and will make it a lot easier for us. We are extremely excited about this relationship with the NHL. ”

Bleacher Report, which is owned by Turner, will have extensive digital rights to use NHL highlights as part of the deal.

HBO Max, another Turner Sports affiliate, will get digital broadcast and simulcast rights that won’t be available to consumers until later in the deal, Zucker said.

“These are places we’re going to be moving to and I think it will be great for our fans,” Commissioner Bettman said. “If you’re a hockey fan, you’ve got more national games than ever before, you’ve got more coverage than ever. You’re going to be able to get as much hockey as you want.”

Zucker said Turner’s plan is to develop a studio show similar to his 11-time Sports Emmy-winning show “Inside the NBA,” which features host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith.

“There’s a style to Turner Sports and there’s an approach, and we want to bring the same approach to the NHL,” Zucker said.

NBC has been the NHL’s national media rights partner since 2005-2006. His 10-year deal expires after the Stanley Cup final this season.

“NBC has reaffirmed to me that we should not expect any difference in the treatment we are going to receive compared to what we have received during our relationship,” said Commissioner Bettman.

Commissioner Bettman said the NHL will look to the future of the NHL network.

“We are looking at some form of suing the NHL network,” said Commissioner Bettman. “We think it’s important for hockey fans, but the details of that are not yet something that we have addressed. How we continue to distribute it, how we produce it is something that we are now going to focus on. focus.”