Report: KHL Agrees to US Streaming Rights Deals with ESPN, Portable.TV
Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League could have not one, but two new homes in the United States.
Hockey news Twitter feed @PuckReportNHL said on Thursday that the KHL has signed streaming deals with ESPN+ and Portable.tv that will see ESPN’s streaming service carry 50 regular-season games as well as playoff matchups, while Portable will air the rest. Portable will also be the KHL’s exclusive home in Canada. The KHL leaves [Eleven Sports], the league’s American broadcasting home for the past few years.
NEWS: KHL has signed streaming deals w/ ESPN+ and https://t.co/9Ee3GHQ8qt, reports in Russia relay from VP of communications Sergei Dobrokhvalov— NHL News (@PuckReportNHL) August 25, 2021
ESPN+ to show 50 reg season games and Gagarin Cup playoffs. Portable to carry rest of matches in US and fully show KHL games in Canada
While there can be skepticism surrounding an unaffiliated account breaking sports news, @PuckReportNHL broke several stories throughout the Seattle Kraken’s expansion draft saga, so it has shown itself to be a reputable news source. There’s been no official word from ESPN nor Portable.TV about the news yet, but we could hear something soon. The KHL season starts on September 1, meaning there’s not much time left for an announcement.
What is the KHL?
The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is a 23-team ice hockey league headquartered in Moscow, Russia, that is currently seen as the number two professional hockey league in the world behind the NHL. It currently has teams based in Russia, China, Belarus, Finland, Latvia, and Kazakhstan that are split into two conferences with two divisions each.
Many players throughout eastern Europe and Asia will start their careers in the KHL before moving to the NHL, and/or finish their careers there following long stints in the NHL. Among the former KHL alumni making strong statements in the NHL are Rangers forward Artemi Panarin and Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.