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NHL set to reach broadcast agreement with ESPN

A number of sources are stating that American broadcast company ESPN have agreed a seven-year broadcast agreement with the National Hockey League (NHL).

Although it has not yet been confirmed by the NHL or ESPN, a number of highly respected league and industry sources have stated that ESPN have agreed a seven-year broadcast agreement with the NHL, which will see them acquire the rights to show four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022 and 2028 and streaming rights for games to be shown on the ESPN+ subscription service.

The current broadcast rights holders for the NHL are NBC, who pay a reported US$200 million a year for exclusive US media rights. The deal with NBC is set to expire at the end of the season.

As part of the deal, there is a chance NBC may well contain half of the broadcast deal package, and may also retain broadcasting rights for three Stanley Cups in the next seven years.

Additionally, it has been reported that ESPN could split the rights for the next cycle with another broadcaster.

The 2020/21 NHL season is now underway, after a short delay due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. The season has been reduced to a 56-game season, rather than the 68-71 games that teams would usually play across the season.