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NHL New Deal with ESPN Adds Exclusive Games to ESPN+ & Hulu, Shifts NHL.TV to ESPN+

Jason Gurwin

NHL and the Disney reached a new 7-year deal which will start during the 2021-2022 season. On the broadcast side, ESPN will once again air NHL games – including 25 exclusive nationally-televised regular season games which will appear on ABC or ESPN. They will also air four Stanley Cup Finals during that period on ABC, which can be simulcast on ESPN+ and other ESPN networks.

For streamers, 75 regular season telecasts will appear exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu, and will be available to Hulu SVOD subscribers. The NHL’s out-of-market package will also now be available to stream only as part of ESPN+, meaning fans can access more than 1,000 live out-of-market telecasts with the service.

For the last full season, NHL.TV was $116 a season, meaning that at $5.99 a month there will be a major savings for hockey fans. You could either subscribe to ESPN+ for $59.99 a year, or it would be ~$40 for the 6-7 months of the NHL regular season.

“This partnership of the world’s top hockey league and the platforms of The Walt Disney Company is a big win for our fans and our game,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Not only will this groundbreaking, seven-year deal enable the NHL to benefit from the incomparable power, reach and influence of The Walt Disney Company and ABC/ESPN, it sets a new standard in delivering our game to the most passionate and tech-savvy fans in sports in the ways they now demand and on the platforms they use.”

With the deal, ESPN will become the primary broadcaster of NHL games. It is expected that the NHL will have an additional rights holder, which could be NBC, who is the current broadcaster through the end of this season.

A NBC Sports Spokesperson told The Streamable, “We continue to discuss a potential future with the league as we focus on the season at hand.”

NHL games currently air on NBC and NBCSN, which will be shutting down this year. If NBC does re-up for part of the deal, that could see games air on USA Network instead.

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