Blog Entry

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

Posted on: April 19, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 5:45 pm
The NHL has reached a broadcast deal that will keep it on NBC and Versus. 

The Comcast-owned duo beat out Fox, Turner and ESPN --- all of which dropped out of the bidding. The Sports Business Journal reports  the NBC Sports Group will pay in excess of $200 million per season under the 10-year deal. That's nearly triple the guaranteed money under the current deal, originally signed out of the lockout. 

"I think everybody has enormous respect for ESPN, but six years ago we chose to go in a different direction for a variety of reasons and we believe it's worked out well for us," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a conference call on Tuesday. "And the promise of what NBC Universal/Comcast I think is extraordinarily exciting."

Over the last six years, NBC and the NHL had a revenue sharing arrangement. It was a great deal for NBC and one the NHL had to take after the 2004-05 season was lost due to a work stoppage. Now, not only has the NHL signed its most lucrative TV deal in its history -- easily surpassing the pre-lockout ABC/ESPN agreement -- but the partnership could soon grow beyond just Versus and NBC, Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports Group, explained.  

"The new company at NBC Universal represents 20 channels, 20 unique channels, covering a diversity that no other company has ever had, from significantly strong female channels to young channels, young adult channels, to the most powerful cable entertainment network in the world in the USA Network, CNBC, Telemundo," Ebersol said. "We have a way to talk to the audience that no one has ever had before. And these guys, their mouths are watering to get their hands on being identified."

The deal negates any non-NBC Universal/Comcast property from carrying games in the U.S. The new deal also means the end of regional sports networks carrying playoff games past the first round of the playoffs beginning next year. 

"We have the market power we need both for Madison Avenue for advertising, and we clearly have it among the cable community with this level of exclusivity and the fact it's one-stop shopping," Ebersol said. 

The new deal calls for 100 regular season games and NBC will begin televising games on Thanksgiving Friday. 

-- A.J. Perez
Category: NHL
Tags: ESPN, NHL, Versus

Since: Dec 27, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:08 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

its all about money, but I guarantee the fans wouldve preferred Fox or the NBA channel- I mean ESPN over NBC and VS. Too many people still dont get versus and NBCs telecasts are a joke(Pierre Maguire). Another nice job for Bettman to pad the rich owners wallets all while once again neglecting the fans best interests

Amen brother.

What a joke the NHL is. Versus is a joke network. As much as ESPN blows, it has resources and the NHL would be displayed more prominently, if they covered it. Now, they're at the back end of ESPN News and get no press at all.

NBC is terrible. Fox would be a much better partner. Fox takes risks and would be creative in covering the sport. NBC stands for Nothing But Crap. Their news, TV shows and cable networks are a joke. If you take away the Law & Order series, they're totally useless.

So I guess that the Stanley Cup playoffs which are by far the most exciting of any of the post-season tournaments will be split between 2 "networks" who are clueless and second rate. This is why the NHL is a distant 4th in the US in major sports and lags behind NASCAR, college football & basketball and  golf and tennis.

Bettman is a cancer on hockey and sports. He's no David Stern. He's not even Howard Stern. He's a younger, fatter Bud Selig.

Since: May 5, 2009
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:04 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

Gary Bettman is the biggest moron I know.

Here is a man that is content with his sports playoffs showing 1 game a night when there is 5 going on.
Here is a man that took his sport and broadcasted it on OLN! OLN are you freaking kidding me!
Here is a man who took his sport and had it played on a network that 5% of Americans had--Versus on its initial start.
Here is a man who watched his brightest star destroyed from concussions and made NO changes.

Gary Bettman has killed his sport yet the NHL has extended his contract year after year. Sooner than later The NHL will be dead with its isolated playoff games and its rediculous sports time slots errrr 12pm on Saturdays. 3pm on Sundays.

I have no clue how this guy continues to not only keep his job but receive extension after extension.

I use to be a HUGE hockey fan and supporter. I have yet to see one playoff game this year. There are many like me.

Gary enjoy these times when your sport is televised with the likes of Van Damme/Seagal rerun movies little buddy.

You could have taken the bulls by the horn with the NFL and NBA on potential lock outs but instead you sit in your corner content with horrendous ratings.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:04 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

ESPN lost out on hockey, only have rights to 1 or 2 NFL games a week, and is staring at a NBA lockout that will make the NFL lockout look like 60's love-in by how viscious it gets.  They are going to be showing poker tournaments and baseball players offseason reality television  shows next winter.

Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:02 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

I am very disappointed, the NHL is the only major sport where I can't watch any playoff game I want. There is something wrong when there are 4 games on and I can only watch 1 or 2.

I can't stand NBC b/c all they show is NYR, Wash, Pitt, Philly, Detroit, and Chicago. Don't think the Devils have ever been on NBC, I know others will say they are boring but their my team and I enjoy them and would like to see them get some national exposure.

I wanted ESPN to get some games, I don't know why but the playoffs just feel right when they are on ESPN and Gary Thorne is announcing. Takes me back to the 90s.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:56 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

ESPN will have to stick to ruining football, baseball, basketball and college athletics. Luckily for us, they only cover about two teams in each sport. And good luck getting non-SEC college football coverage going forward. As far as Fox, wasn't it Fox that introduced the horrendous, wretched, abysmal, putrid, ghastly glowing puck? That was Fox, right? Yeah, they can keep their bid. No thanks.

Since: Jul 23, 2010
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:54 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

@inmymind: Could not of said it better. I never watch espn anymore. Bunch of crap. As far as not seeing the games, comcast carries versus, I have direct TV and I have it. I also have the center Ice package, I never miss a game no matter who is playing, and where ther're playing. Let espn have their crappy basketball and baseball.

Since: Nov 11, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:53 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

ESPN stands for the Eastern Seaboards Peoples Network.  I'm not disappointed they didn't get the rights.  You wouldn't see a team west of Chicago on there unless it's a western team and they need to fill the midnight slot because Bowling after Dark isn't on.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:51 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

I love this. Since the lockout, the NHL has proven that you don't need ESPN to survive. It has thrived without the Worldwide Leader. The question now is, what the heck is ESPN going to show next year with no NFL and no NBA? You don't have college football and basketball seven days a week.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:50 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

Oh no- how many more years do I have to hear Mike Emrick's terrible cheese-grater-on-brain voice ?!  NBC has terrible coverage, and devotes about 99.4% of its sports advertising to the Olympics, which also has sucky coverage.  Versus is okay, though I wish they hadn't fired Joe Beninati, who was their best play-by-play guy.

ESPN can rot.  Enjoy watching spelling bees and bass fishing contests, because that's the sort of crap that ESPN prefers to show.  Oh, and endless Sports Center updates...

Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:44 pm

NHL to remain on NBC, Versus; no ESPN again

Kburg is right on!

Versus needs to add multiple channels to show games that start at the same time. The 1st and 2nd rounds are tough to watch as there is only 1 option.

ESPN at least had alternate channels for the games. I am not paying $79 to Directv to get 2 weeks of games. They should have the playoff rounds for $30-$40 total.

This is why NHL doesn't get enough exposure in the US.

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