TNT DEAL MAY BE THE BEST THING EVER TO HAPPEN TO THE NHL!

By Harvey Hoffman

The passing of the broadcast torch is complete for the NHL.

After previously securing a huge media rights package to return to ESPN, the NHL has now struck a deal with Turner Sports.

Via Jabari Young of CNBC:

The NHL and WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports agreed to a deal that will see the network land its second-tier hockey rights for more than $1 billion over seven years. Turner will land three Stanley Cups, one of the NHL conference playoff rounds (ESPN has first rights) and the Winter Classic as part of the package, Turner Sports announced Tuesday.

Turner already has plans for its hockey coverage, with WarnerMedia chairman Jeff Zucker saying the “network’s approach to its NBA studio shows will carry over to its NHL shows.”

Now, whether Turner can find a cast of characters as entertaining as Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal remains to be seen. But they seem intent on trying.

Young reported the decision to leave NBC for Turner came as a surprise within the industry:

In some media circles, the NHL’s move to Turner was a surprise. Few expected the NHL to leave NBC, which formed a $1.9 billion partnership with the NHL in 2011. NBC helped the NHL revive following a lockout that canceled the 2004-05 season and attracted limited interest from other networks.

But NBC had been hemorrhaging funds during the pandemic, and Young reported they only offered somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million per year.

Instead, the new partnerships with ESPN and Turner will hopefully help boost revenue for the professional hockey league, much as they have for the NBA.

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