How New NHL TV Deals Complicate Streaming For Cord-Cutters
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
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.
|Columbus Blue Jackets||76||6||0||0||6|
|St. Louis Blues||69||6||2||5||13|
|New Jersey Devils||73||8||0||1||9|
|Vegas Golden Knights||70||6||2||4||12|
|New York Islanders||70||6||2||4||12|
|Los Angeles Kings||69||6||2||5||13|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||69||6||2||5||13|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||76||1||1||4||6|
|New York Rangers||69||7||1||5||13|
|Detroit Red Wings||72||8||0||2||10|
|San Jose Sharks||74||7||1||0||8|