The NHL’s current contract with NBC pays around $ 200 million a year, but that contract expires at the end of the 2021 season. According to the Post, a new deal will need to work out some exclusive live matches for one of the DTC (direct-to-consumer) subscription platforms in order for the NHL to receive a “significant nuisance”.
The report says Disney’s ESPN + and NBC’s Peacock are favorites for the streaming deal, but Fox and ViacomCBS could be in the bidding process.
The NHL appears to be in a strong bargaining position as it prepares to participate in broadcast rights talks. According to the Sports Business Journal (SBJ), viewership on NBC radio and cable channels increased eight percent in the first month of the 2020 NHL season from comparable games last year.
The network’s 23 games on NBC or NBC Sports Network reportedly averaged 485,000 viewers. Last year’s average at the same time was 447,000 viewers.
According to the SBJ, ratings for 22 of the 24 US-based NHL teams rose 41 percent by February 9. 20 of these 22 teams saw an increase in the audience this season.
Meanwhile, Bally’s Corporation has signed an agreement with the NHL that will leverage the casino operator’s title sponsorship for Sinclair’s Regional Sports Networks (RSNs). As the newly appointed Official NHL Sports Betting Partner, Bally’s will create engaging content for fans of the league that will be incorporated into live broadcasts through the 19 Sinclair RSNs.
The multi-year partnership is Bally’s first betting partnership with a professional sports league that will grant the right to use NHL trademarks and logos, as well as official league data, across the portfolio of consumer sports gaming companies.