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NHL Rights Head to Turner Sports, Includes HBO Max Streaming

NHL hockey Chicago Blackhawks
(Image credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

ATLANTA—Turner Sports is taking to the ice, announcing a seven-year broadcast and digital rights agreement with the NHL to bring hockey to its TNT and TBS networks, as well as HBO Max, starting with the 2021-2022 season.

Turner will make up the second half of NHL’s broadcast rights package, along with ESPN, which announced its deal with the league back in March.

The deal also officially signals the end of the NHL’s tenure on NBC, which had been the broadcast home of hockey since 2005.

The deal with Turner Sports, which is a division of WarnerMedia, will bring 72 exclusive national regular season games to its networks, half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year and exclusive coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals in three of the seven years of the deal; ESPN has the rights to the other years of Stanley Cup Finals and playoff games. In addition, TNT will exclusively present the NHL Winter Classic each year, as well as other live events.

Live game, studio coverage and other programming details will be announced in the months ahead.

In addition, the deal includes a multimedia agreement between Turner Sports and the NHL for live streaming and digital rights across WarnerMedia for mobile, web, tablets and connected devices. This will include live streaming and simulcasting rights for HBO Max; TV Everywhere rights; and expansive digital and highlight rights for its Bleacher Report platform, with plans to create ancillary programming, events and bespoke digital experiences.

Part of the NHL’s deal with ESPN also included streaming rights for its ESPN+ platform.

The NHL is the second major sport league to put a larger emphasis on digital streaming as part of a new broadcast rights package. The NFL announced that it had agreed to give Amazon Prime Video exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football in its new deal, as well as additional rights to CBS and NBC digital platforms.

No financial details on Turner Sports’ deal with the NHL was shared in the official announcement, but according to multiple reports, the deal is for $225 million a year. ESPN is paying $400 million per year for its share of the rights, per reports.

“Turner Sports is known for its outstanding sports coverage, quality and innovation and we are thrilled that this new partnership will provide our fans with the content they love on the platforms and devices of their choice,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “TNT is a proven and acclaimed destination for sports fans and we will also benefit from the deep connection Bleacher Report has with young digital-savvy fans. Having WarnerMedia join the NHL family as co-rightsholders for the next seven years gives us incredible reach, positions us well for the future as the media landscape continues to evolve, and will fuel continued growth for the NHL and our Clubs.”

NBC will continue to carry the NHL for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season and the NHL playoffs.