Report: ESPN Agrees to 7-Year NHL Broadcast Contract, Obtains Stanley Cup Rights

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2020, file photo, fans pose below the NHL league logo at a display outside Falcon Stadium before an NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche, at Air Force Academy, Colo. The uncertainty raised by coronavirus pandemic leads to experts providing a bleak short-term assessment on the NHL's financial bottom line, with some projecting revenues being cut by almost half. What's unclear is how large the impact might be until it can be determined when fans can resume attending games and if the league is able to complete this season. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
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The Stanley Cup Final is reportedly going to ESPN.

According to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, ESPN will become one of the NHL's media partners starting with the 2021-22 season after coming to terms on a seven-year deal. The contract will reportedly give the media company the rights to broadcast four Stanley Cup Finals between 2022 and 2028.

It also provides streaming rights to Disney.

ESPN will split the package with another media company, but which company that will be was not known at this time. Neither were the financial terms of the deal that will take the place of NBC's rights that will expire following the current season.

NBC pays approximately $200 million per year for its exclusive rights in the United States.

It signed its current agreement that is set to expire after the season in April 2011. The 10-year deal was the first one that nationally distributed all Stanley Cup playoff games to audiences in the United States.

"This is the most significant U.S. media rights partnership in the League's history," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the time. "NBC Universal/Comcast is one of the most important, connected and ‘wired' media companies in the U.S., and as the potential of the NBC Sports Group is realized, the importance of our relationship will become more apparent to hockey fans and our business partners."

Unlike that NBC deal, this one will not be an exclusive one for ESPN.