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ESPN, Hockey East Announce Six-Year Broadcast, Streaming Rights Deal

Jeff Kotuby

If a hockey league exists, ESPN will find it and air its games. Today, the league that’s getting a new rights deal with the worldwide leader is NCAA Division I conference Hockey East.

Hockey East, which features 12 schools in the New England states, and ESPN reached a new six-year media rights agreement that will bring its games to ESPN’s television and streaming platforms. The agreement includes over 300 games annually with all games available on ESPN+ and features three games on ESPNU each season.

The agreement also includes all men’s and women’s home games throughout the season as well as the entirety of both the men’s and women’s postseason tournaments. The Hockey East Women’s Tournament Championship is set to be televised annually on an ESPN network.

“Hockey East is delighted to begin an exciting and comprehensive digital and linear partnership with ESPN,” said Hockey East commissioner Steve Metcalf. “By placing the top ​collegiate hockey conference on the ‘Home of Hockey,’ Hockey East can now provide our fans with the premier live-viewing experience in all of sports and allow the league to showcase the stories of our student-athletes both on and ​off the ice.”

ESPN has started calling itself the “Home of Hockey” — and they’re dead on with that nickname. In total, ESPN now owns the broadcasting rights to the NHL, ECAC, NCAA Men’s and Women’s Frozen Four championship tournaments, the PHF, and many more.

ESPN reached an agreement with the KHL at one point, but it’s unknown if that deal is still intact due to the ongoing conflict between Russia (where the KHL is based) and Ukraine. Streaming services have been nabbing up sports rights whenever they can recently, as seen with Paramount+’s dedication to acquiring soccer rights, and even Apple TV+ has been doing with baseball. It’s clear that ESPN is making hockey a focus and the company is banking on attracting a passionate fanbase that will watch anything as long as it’s on ice.

“ESPN is proud to add exclusive rights to Hockey East, one of the sport’s premier conferences, to our ever-growing lineup of top-level hockey leagues and events,” said Dan Margulis, senior director of programming, ESPN. “With half of the over 300 games annually dedicated to women’s hockey, we are very excited to help grow the sport across ESPN platforms.”

ESPN+

ESPN+ is a live TV streaming service that gives access to thousands of live sporting events, original shows like Peyton’s Place, the entire library of 30 for 30, E:60, The Last Dance, as well exclusive written analysis from top ESPN insiders.

The service can be subscribed for $6.99 / month per month or annually for $69.99 / year.

You will get a daily out-of-market game from MLB, and every out-of-market NHL and MLS game with NHL.TV and MLS LIVE.

The service has some of the most attractive soccer coverage including Bundesliga, LaLiga, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredevise and more.

College sports fans will be able to watch thousands of games and events including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf, and more.

For boxing and UFC fans, the service offers Top Rank boxing and will be the home of 15 exclusive UFC events.

ESPN+ now includes exclusive insights from analysts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay (which used to be part of ESPN Insider), as well as premium Fantasy Tools & PickCenter.

What it does not include is most live sports that air on ESPN and ESPN2.

To get access to those channels you have to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. We suggest reading our guide on How to Watch ESPN without Cable.

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