Disney TV Networks Land 7-Year NHL Deal

The NHL is coming back to Walt Disney TV networks -- ABC and ESPN -- as well as inking a deal to be the first major sports franchise to offer exclusive, live sports rights to a streamer: Hulu.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The league had been on ESPN from 1985 to 1988 and 1992 to 2004.

In a seven-year deal with the NHL -- from the 2021-22 season through 2027-2028 -- games will air on Disney linear TV networks and direct-to-consumer platforms: ABC, ESPN, ESPN+ and Hulu.

This will include the four Stanley Cup Finals and half of all Stanley Cup Playoffs games during that period coming to ABC and ESPN.

Some 100 regular-season games airing per season will air across ESPN’s networks and streaming platforms.

Reports suggest remaining Stanley Cup finals during the contract period -- and other playoff games -- could land at other non-Disney TV networks.



This will also include streaming exclusive national games on both ESPN+ and Hulu -- more than 1,000 out-of-market games available to all ESPN+ subscribers, across the length of the deal.

The league had a previous 10-year deal starting in 2011 with NBCSN, estimated to have a $200 million per year rights price tag. That network is shutting down at the end of the year.

In the 2019-2020 TV season, NBCSN pulled in an estimated $603 million in national TV advertising spend for all NHL games, according to iSpot.tv. Almost $480 million came just from the playoffs and finals.

The previous season, the NHL totaled $560 million -- with $461 million coming from the playoffs and finals.

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