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New NHL Rights Deal with Turner Will Bring Games to TNT, TBS, and HBO Max

Jeff Kotuby

Yesterday’s rumor is today’s reality, and it caps off a banner year for the NHL’s broadcasting rights.

We reported yesterday that Turner Sports was rumored to be among the favorites to win the NHL’s “second” broadcasting package — and those rumblings materialized today with news that the NHL and Turner Sports have agreed on a seven year, multimedia rights deal.

The deal will bring NHL regular season, Stanley Cup playoff games, and Stanley Cup Finals games to TNT and TBS starting next season and running through 2027-28. Turner will host the Stanley Cup Final in 2023, 2025 and 2027, air one conference final series each season and half of the first two rounds of the playoffs along with 72 regular-season games per season (ESPN would claim the even-numbered years for the Stanley Cup.) Turner also won the exclusive rights to broadcast the Winter Classic, the league’s outdoor celebration of hockey that takes the game back to its roots.

HBO Max and Bleacher Report subscribers will also gain access to some NHL fun.

According to WarnerMedia, the agreement between Turner Sports and the National Hockey League includes live streaming and digital rights across WarnerMedia including HBO Max. However, WarnerMedia’s Zucker says there will be no immediate plans use of HBO Max for NHL over the next calendar year.

The deal includes the following streaming rights:

  • Live streaming and simulcast rights for HBO Max
  • TV Everywhere rights
  • Expansive digital and highlight rights for Bleacher Report;
  • “Ancillary programming” produced by Bleacher Report and WarnerMedia to reach the next generation of hockey fans

“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,” said WarnerMedia News & Sports Chairman Jeff Zucker. “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.”

Turner Sports joins ESPN as an NHL broadcasting partner, and the pair make for a “glow-up” for the league compared to its previous partner in NBC. Between ESPN’s multiple channels, ABC, TNT, TBS, and the multitude of streaming services, the NHL should have a fantastic opportunity to reach fans in a way they couldn’t before. Plus, the two networks offer stellar NBA coverage in tandem and have crossed over in the past, something we could see once more with the NHL. And although the NHL will still have to show Stanley Cup games on cable television, casual fans and newcomers will likely know where ESPN and TNT are on their channel lineup, rather than have to find the obscure (and soon-dissolving) NBC Sports Network.

“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.”

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