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Turner Seeks To Skate On NHL Rights As NBCUniversal Exits; Washers on HBO Max? – Deadline

Turner Sports is preparing to step in and occupy the National Hockey League real estate occupied for nearly two decades by NBC and NBCUniversal.

The changing of the guard in the sports media world – just the latest development in a round of rights deals in recent months – is significant. NBC and NBCUniversal have been broadcasting games since 2005-06 and are expected to stay in the mix.

No official announcement was made, and the league and its media partners did not officially comment on a flurry of press reports today. Sports Affairs Journal initially reported that the NBCU had withdrawn and Turner had swooped in, dismissing the other suitors.

ESPN will still own a big chunk of the NHL, having recently brought it back after a long absence, planning a puck drop in the fall of 2021 as part of a multi-year contract. The Disney-owned sportswear will share the rights to the Stanley Cup Finals and other games with WarnerMedia’s Turner. Someone familiar with the terms of the deal told Deadline that Turner would pay $ 225 million a year for seven years, which is significantly less than Disney’s spend of $ 410 million.

NHL and ESPN / ABC confirm seven-year TV deal that includes more than 1,000 streaming games per season

Turner, who controls the rights to the NBA, PGA golf, and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, last broadcast hockey in the 1970s. WarnerMedia and its parent company, AT&T, have long promised that a form of live sports would be part of the HBO Max offering, but have not confirmed any details. The streaming service, which launched in May 2020, will add a cheaper, ad-supported tier in June.

Streaming has been a major theme in several recent rights deals, most notably the 11-year and over $ 100 billion package involving the NFL. One of the signature elements of the new wallet is exclusive to Amazon Prime Video, which has paid more than $ 1 billion a year for Thursday night football.

Moving games away from NBCU would be a big development given the company’s recent decision to shut down the NBC Sports Network, where many NHL games have been broadcast. It will migrate much of its programming to the Peacock streaming service and USA Network.

The NHL odds aren’t what they used to be, but a dedicated grassroots audience is listening. The Covid-delayed start of the season in January drew record ratings, with just under a million viewers tuning in to the opening telecast from NBCSN, a high network. However, last summer’s Stanley Cup final fell 61% from 2019, adding to a worrying trend across all sports during the pandemic.

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