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This is What ESPN/NHL Deal Means For Cord-Cutters

Jason Gurwin

The National Hockey League’s new deal with Disney to bring games to ESPN is the first streaming forward rights agreement by any of the major professional sports leagues. The deal will make it easier than ever for cord-cutters to stream nationally-televised and out-of-market NHL games without a cable subscription.

The new deal will see NHL.TV shuttered, with the entire out-of-market package included in the base ESPN+ subscription. At $5.99 a month, or $59.99 a year – that will save you $60-75 per season as compared to a NHL.TV subscription which cost $116 for the last full NHL season.

Additionally, 75 of the 100 nationally televised games per season will be available on ESPN+, as well as to all Hulu SVOD subscribers ($5.99) - meaning you won’t even need a Hulu Live TV or another Live TV Streaming Service to watch those games. Additionally, the four of the next 7 Stanley Cup Finals will be available on ESPN+, along with ESPN/ABC.

What the new deal doesn’t solve is regional telecasts or local blackouts.

Just like NHL.TV, out-of-market games on ESPN+ will be blacked out to streamers in the local market. Customers will still need a Live TV Streaming Service to watch games locally on channels like MSG, NESN, Fox Sports/Bally Sports, NBC Sports, and AT&T SportsNet RSNs.

12 of the 30 NHL teams air on Fox Sports/Bally Sports RSNs, which are only available on AT&T TV ($84.99 a month) for cord-cutters. While Sinclair says “some live games” will be available as a direct-to-consumer product, that won’t come until some point in 2022.

But, for the first time for cord-cutters – at an incredible value – you will be able to watch more hockey than ever before.

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