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Report: ESPN has deal for NHL media rights

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (43) on March 8, 2021. Credit: AP/Jonathan Hayward

Canada’s Sportsnet reported on Tuesday that ESPN is believed to have reached a seven-year deal for half of the NHL’s media rights in the United States starting next season.

The agreement would include the rights to carry some Stanley Cup Finals.

ESPN already carries some NHL programming on its streaming ESPN+ service, but the new contract would include television coverage as well, presumably. NBC has been the NHL’s longtime American TV partner, but its deal expires after this season.

NBC likely will remain an NHL partner as well, even with ESPN now in the fold.

ESPN long has been accused of giving hockey short shrift in its news and information programs because it does not have a promotional stake in covering the league. Now it apparently will.

New York Sports