Turner Sports is the surprise winner of the National Hockey League’s second television package.
The two sides have agreed on a seven-year contract that includes three Stanley Cup Finals, two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract had not been finalized.
Turner Sports and the NHL had no immediate comment on the deal, which was first reported by Sports Business Journal.
The agreement with Turner will give the NHL two network partners in the United States for the first time since 1998-99. The league reached agreement with Walt Disney Corp. last month that includes four Stanley Cup Finals, 25 regular-season games on ESPN and ABC, the NHL All-Star game and comprehensive streaming rights.
The NHL received $350 million in broadcast revenue from NBC ($250 million) and Disney Streaming Services ($100 million for digital rights) this season. The upcoming deals will average $635 million per year ($410 million from Disney and $225 million from Turner).
It marks the first time since Turner aired Atlanta Flames games in the late 1970’s that the cable giant will air hockey. It also gives Turner its second championship property (it alternates the men’s Final Four with CBS). It also gives Turner the rights to three of the four major North American sports; NBA games air on TNT while baseball is on TBS.
When the Stanley Cup Finals air on Turner in 2023, it will mark the first time since 1994 that they will be only on cable. Turner will also air regular-season games, half of the first- and second-round playoff games as well as a conference final series.
The agreement also means NBC’s run of covering the league will end after this season’s playoffs. NBC has aired games since 2005 and is in the final season of a 10-year contract.
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