Turner has acquired the second half of the NHL’s TV rights package, beating out NBC Sports. The deal is for seven years, the same length as ESPN’s recently announced agreement.
NBC Sports, which has been the league’s sole national U.S. broadcast partner since the 2005-06 season, will no longer air professional hockey following this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. The NHL’s new deals with ESPN and Turner begin next season and will drastically change the sport’s look on TV.
Turner’s deal includes up to 72 games each season on TNT as well as the Winter Classic every season. The deal includes the option to stream games on WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max.
“This agreement with the National Hockey League brings one of the most prestigious championships in sports to TNT and fuels our entire Turner Sports and Bleacher Report portfolio with even more premium content for many years to come,” Jeff Zucker, WarnerMedia’s sports and news chairman, said. “We’re delighted to spotlight the world’s best hockey league on our leading networks, while continuing to further elevate this marquee property through an ever-expanding array of digital platforms in the years to come.”
The deal means TNT will have both NHL and NBA games next season. Those two sports play their seasons concurrently, meaning a Turner platform will have either an NBA or NHL game on most nights.
The Stanley Cup Finals will alternate each season between Disney and Turner, with Disney getting four and TNT getting three. Both companies will split the playoffs each year, with Turner’s playoff games airing across both TNT and TBS.
“Turner Sports is known for its outstanding sports coverage, quality and innovation and we are thrilled that this new partnership will provide our fans with the content they love on the platforms and devices of their choice,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “TNT is a proven and acclaimed destination for sports fans and we will also benefit from the deep connection Bleacher Report has with young digital-savvy fans. Having WarnerMedia join the NHL family as co-rightsholders for the next seven years gives us incredible reach, positions us well for the future as the media landscape continues to evolve, and will fuel continued growth for the NHL and our Clubs.”
The NHL announced its deal with ESPN last month, which brings pro hockey back to ESPN for the first time since 2004. The Disney-owned network was the league’s primary broadcast partner from 1992 to 2004.