It’s been rumored for months and now it’s about to be official, the NHL is returning to ESPN. Although both parties have declined comment, the partnership was first reported by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, and later confirmed by The New York Post.
Financial terms were not announced, but ESPN and the NHL are believed to have reached a seven-year TV rights partnership beginning next season. From 2022-2028 ESPN will be one of the NHL’s rightsholders in a deal that expects to see the network carry four Stanley Cup Finals. It will be the first time since 2004 that an NHL game airs on linear television for ESPN.
In 2011, NBC and the NHL signed a 10-year contract worth $200 million annually. The NHL’s new media agreement is expected to be more lucrative, thanks in part to their deal with NBC Sports which did plenty to help the league grow. The Winter Classic, Hockey Week in America and nationally televising every Stanley Cup playoff game has seen the NHL regain some popularity in the U.S.
After previously selling their national TV package exclusively to one network, the NHL sought to split their broadcast rights this time around to maximize profits. Similarly, it would have been difficult for ESPN or NBC to afford exclusive rights to the NHL considering forthcoming NFL deals are expected to cost the networks at least $2 billion annually.
NBC has not been confirmed as the other media company involved in the NHL’s rights deal, but it is certainly in play to retain half the package which would include three Stanley Cups. Despite NBC being the favorite, FOX and CBS were also said to have interest in NHL rights when the league began ramping up negotiations last year.
ESPN, Omaha Productions Expands Places Franchise into Hockey, College Basketball, Tennis
“PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.”
Peyton’s Places has been one of the great successes in terms of original series on ESPN+. The franchise, which began with Peyton Manning visiting places and people integral to the history of the NFL, has expanded into new sports in recent years. Now, there are spinoffs starring Eli Manning, Abby Wombach, Ronda Rousey, Davíd Ortiz, and Vince Carter.
At Tuesday’s Disney Upfront presentation, the Manning Brothers announced three new additions to the Places family.
PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.
“The Places franchise is all about giving fans an inside look at their favorite sport so we are excited to be adding such incredible teammates as the Places Universe continues to expand,” said Peyton. “Sue, P.K. and John will all bring a unique and colorful perspective to their sport’s history as they give viewers a look at some of their favorite places.”
In addition to the new shows, Peyton and Eli are coming back. Peyton’s Places will get a third season. Eli’s Places will get a second season.
No Timetable For Big Ten To Get TV Deal Done
“Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.”
Negotiations are reportedly continuing between the Big Ten Conference and media partners to complete a new media rights deal, and conference commissioner Kevin Warren isn’t in a hurry to make an announcement.
Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.
“I want to make sure we take the appropriate time to get this wrapped up, but we’re making really good progress; that’s the good thing about it,” Warren said. “It’s a great time to be in this space. And there are so many really talented people in this area. But we have a good team. We have a great conference, and so I just really look forward to making sure that these are done in a very thoughtful manner and keep our fans and our student-athletes at the center of our decisions.”
FOX Sports will remain the anchor partner for Big Ten football games, but the conference is working with its other partners like ESPN and CBS for basketball and listening to other potential suitors to add a streaming element.
“The media landscape has changed, and you think (of) the interplay between linear television and streaming,” Warren said. “We just have to really think through what fits for what the Big Ten stands for, what’s in the best interest of our fans, what’s in the best interests of our student-athletes, what’s in the best interest of our member institutions.”
The deal, when finalized, could be worth close to $1 billion and would see a modest increase in money paid out to member schools.
Kevin Harlan Angry People Thought He Was Insulting Odell Beckham Jr.
“I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.”
Broadcaster Kevin Harlan has a bone to pick with the social media mob. Harlan wants the record set straight after comments made about NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during a recent NBA Playoffs telecast.
Beckham was spotted by TNT cameras during a recent game in the Dallas Mavericks/Phoenix Suns series when Harlan pointed out that Beckham got injured during this year’s Super Bowl.
“He blew a knee in the Super Bowl on a crossing pattern,” Harlan said in response to his broadcast partner Reggie Miller, who said Harlan needed to give OBJ the correct title of Super Bowl champion.
Reaction on Twitter was outrage, as people believed Harlan was trying to take a swipe at the former Cleveland Browns/Los Angeles Rams wideout.
But Harlan, who called Super Bowl LVI on the radio for Westwood One, said that simply wasn’t the case.
“I know the NFL, I know what it meant to him,” Harlan told USA Today. “And I couldn’t finish it and I got attacked and that’s the kind of world we live in now. And I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.
“What I was going to finish saying, but I was unfortunately interrupted was, ‘And look at him walk after blowing that knee, knowing that he was a part of a Super Bowl championship performance,'” he added.
Harlan continued that the timing just didn’t work out. He thinks it’s ridiculous that people would take him out of context.
“I was going to tell a story. I know who he is. I’ve called every year of his career,” he said. “I was just going to try this thing – you just have to be so vigilant, so alert to everything that happens. I was left hanging. I took the brunt of it. I didn’t like it.”