Nobody cares about hockey – except the networks willing to pay hundreds of millions in rights fees to televise the sport. According to Michael McCarthy and A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, ESPN is interested in reacquiring NHL TV rights.
In 2011, NBC and the NHL signed a 10-year contract worth $200 million annually, and even with a pandemic ravaging the sports industry of income and ratings, the league is still expecting a more lucrative deal. With their current contract set to expire after the 2020-21 season, an NBC Sports spokesperson told Front Office Sports they are interested in retaining those rights.
The NHL and commissioner Gary Bettman might look to split their broadcast rights, something the NFL, MLB and NBA all do. And according to the report from Front Office Sports, the NHL likely has the suitors to maximize rights fees, with ESPN, FOX Sports and CBS Sports having potential interest in adding professional hockey to their catalog. Even tech giants such as Amazon could provide a possible landing spot for a portion of the NHL’s broadcast rights.
ESPN hasn’t aired a live NHL game since 2004. The 2004-05 season was erased by a lockout, and ESPN balked at picking up its option the next year. But The Worldwide Leader in Sports still employs Barry Melrose, Linda Cohn, Steve Levy and John Buccigross as the faces of its NHL coverage, who likely wouldn’t mind the acquisition of game rights.
Since moving to a partnership with NBC Sports, the network has done plenty to help grow the NHL. The Winter Classic, Hockey Week in America and nationally televising every Stanley Cup playoff game has seen the NHL regain some popularity in the U.S. But that popularization is also what has other networks interested in acquiring NHL broadcast rights.
Although NBC has been a great partner and advocate for the NHL, it’s unrealistic to expect that will buy them additional loyalty from the league. The NHL will, and should, have a business first mentality, looking to capitalize on the demand for live sports content.
Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys
The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.
Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.
But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.
Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:
Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.
NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer
“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”
According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.
Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.
The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.
The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options.
A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.