The NHL is returning to ESPN, sources confirmed.
In a seven-year deal that could be announced as soon as this week, ABC/ESPN will broadcast four Stanley Cups, according to sources.
Canada’s SportsNet first reported the deal.
The financials of the agreement are not yet known. ESPN+, the network’s streaming service, is expected to have a significant presence going forward.
ESPN declined comment.
NBC Sports is in the final season of its 10-year deal, for around $2 billion. It has had exclusive rights to the league in the United States, but the NHL has set out to have multiple carriers of its national telecasts.
NBC very well could retain half of the package and pick up the other three Cups. In light of the forthcoming NFL deals in which it is expected to double the amount it pays for “Sunday Night Football” to $2 billion per year, Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts said the parent company of NBC Sports will need to make “tough decisions” on current relationships.
The company is shuttering its NBC Sports Network at the end of the year, but could use USA Network and its subscription service, Peacock, for the majority of any games.
Fox is another candidate for the other half of the package, while CBS can’t be entirely ruled out.