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How New NHL TV Deals Complicate Streaming For Cord-Cutters

Jason Gurwin

Yesterday, the NHL and their new media partners ESPN and TNT announced their national TV schedule. For the first time, it gave a glimpse of the challenge of being a cord-cutter and a sports fan. While there is some good with the new deal – ESPN+ will now carry every out-of-market game at half the cost of what NHL.TV cost last season, it comes with some complications as well.

ESPN’s new deal will see nearly all of the 103 games in their national TV package available on ESPN+, some of which will simulcast on Hulu and others on ABC. But, there will be 16 games on ESPN, which won’t be available to those with ESPN+, so you will need a Live TV Streaming Service like fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, DIRECTV STREAM, and YouTube TV to watch those.

On the other hand, Turner’s 53 game national TV deal, will require a cable, satellite, or streaming subscription like Hulu Live TV or Sling TV. While it could change before the puck drops in October, one of the complicating factors is fuboTV, which is one of the only streaming services with MSG (Rangers, Islanders, Devils), NESN (Bruins), AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh (Penguins), and ROOT Sports Northwest (Kraken) – doesn’t carry TNT.

So what does that mean for a cord-cutter? For almost every NHL team, you will need ESPN+, in addition to a Live TV Streaming Service, if you want to watch every one of your team’s games.

Let’s take a New York Rangers fan. The Rangers will have 13 nationally televised games, including TNT (5 games), ESPN+/ABC (3 games), ESPN+/Hulu (4 games), ESPN (1 game), with the remaining 69 on MSG.

For those in the New York Metro area, to stream every New York Rangers game, you have two choices:

  • DIRECTV STREAM (MSG, ESPN, & TNT) & ESPN+ ($6.99): $91.99 a month
  • fuboTV (MSG & ESPN) & ESPN+ ($6.99), plus find a way to stream the 5 games on TNT: $70.99 a month

This isn’t just an issue in New York. For any team on Bally Sports, you will need DIRECTV STREAM and ESPN+ to watch every one of your team’s games.

For fans of the Bruins (NESN), Kraken (ROOT Sports Northwest), Penguins (AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh), Devils (MSG), Islanders (MSG), and Sabres (MSG), unless fuboTV adds TNT, you’ll miss some games this year.

For the rest, you will have plenty of options to stream NBC Sports RSNs, including Hulu Live TV, which will simulcast many of the ESPN+ games.

You can see a full breakdown of games airing on each service for local fans on the table below. For fans of Canadian teams, you will be able to stream most of their games out-of-market on ESPN+.

So on the upside, cord-cutters will be able to watch more national TV games than ever without a cable subscription. On the downside, if you want every NHL game for your team, you will likely be paying more than ever. This includes those with cable, who now need ESPN+ or Hulu to watch 5-6 games of most teams this season.

Number of Games Available on Each Streaming Service For Local Fans

Team RSN DIRECTV STREAM fuboTV Hulu Live TV Sling TV YouTube TV ESPN+
Anaheim Ducks Bally Sports SoCal 75 1 11 4 4 7
Arizona Coyotes Bally Sports Arizona 74 0 11 3 3 8
Boston Bruins NESN 78 73 13 9 9 5
Buffalo Sabres MSG 74 72 10 2 2 8
Carolina Hurricanes Bally Sports South 76 2 8 2 2 7
Calgary Flames Out-Of-Market 0 0 0 0 0 82
Chicago Blackhawks NBC Sports Chicago 78 73 82 9 78 7
Colorado Avalanche Altitude 78 4 13 9 9 5
Columbus Blue Jackets Bally Sports Ohio 76 0 6 0 0 6
Dallas Stars Bally Sports Southwest 77 3 11 6 6 5
Detroit Red Wings Bally Sports Detroit 74 0 10 2 2 8
Edmonton Oilers Out-Of-Market 6 0 9 6 6 76
Florida Panthers Bally Sports Florida 74 0 8 0 0 8
Los Angeles Kings Bally Sports West 76 2 13 7 7 6
Minnesota Wild Bally Sports North 77 3 13 8 8 6
Montreal Canadiens Out-Of-Market 80 0 4 2 2 80
Nashville Predators Bally Sports South 74 0 11 3 3 8
New Jersey Devils MSG 74 73 9 1 1 8
New York Islanders MSG 76 72 12 6 6 6
New York Rangers MSG 78 73 13 9 9 7
Ottawa Senators Out-Of-Market 0 0 0 0 0 82
Philadelphia Flyers NBC Sports Philadelphia 9 73 82 9 78 6
Pittsburgh Penguins AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh 78 73 13 9 9 8
San Jose Sharks NBC Sports California 75 75 82 1 75 7
Seattle Kraken ROOT Sports Northwest 75 70 13 6 6 8
St. Louis Blues Bally Sports Midwest 78 4 13 9 9 6
Tampa Bay Lightning Bally Sports Sun 78 4 13 9 9 6
Toronto Maple Leafs Out-Of-Market 5 1 6 5 5 77
Vancouver Canucks Out-Of-Market 3 0 4 3 3 79
Vegas Golden Knights AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain 78 4 12 8 8 6
Washington Capitals NBC Sports Washington 78 73 82 9 78 5
Winnipeg Jets Out-Of-Market 0 0 0 0 0 82

NHL National TV Games By Team

This is how many games will air on each channel for in-market streaming of your favorite NHL team.

Team RSN ESPN+ ESPN TNT Total
Colorado Avalanche 69 5 3 5 13
Chicago Blackhawks 69 7 1 5 13
Columbus Blue Jackets 76 6 0 0 6
St. Louis Blues 69 6 2 5 13
Boston Bruins 69 5 3 5 13
Montreal Canadiens 78 2 0 2 4
Vancouver Canucks 78 1 0 3 4
Washington Capitals 69 5 3 5 13
Arizona Coyotes 71 8 0 3 11
New Jersey Devils 73 8 0 1 9
Anaheim Ducks 71 7 1 3 11
Philadelphia Flyers 69 6 2 5 13
Vegas Golden Knights 70 6 2 4 12
Carolina Hurricanes 74 7 1 0 8
New York Islanders 70 6 2 4 12
Los Angeles Kings 69 6 2 5 13
Seattle Kraken 69 8 0 5 13
Tampa Bay Lightning 69 6 2 5 13
Toronto Maple Leafs 76 1 1 4 6
Edmonton Oilers 73 3 0 6 9
Florida Panthers 74 8 0 0 8
Pittsburgh Penguins 69 8 0 5 13
Nashville Predators 71 8 0 3 11
New York Rangers 69 7 1 5 13
Detroit Red Wings 72 8 0 2 10
Buffalo Sabres 72 8 0 2 10
San Jose Sharks 74 7 1 0 8
Dallas Stars 71 5 3 3 11
Minnesota Wild 69 6 2 5 13

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