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Wednesday, April 23, 2021

Professional puckheads won’t have to go begging for National Hockey League broadcasts next season, as NBC has extended its broadcast agreement with the league through the 2008-09 season.

“There have been positive signs for the league, both on and off the ice,” Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, said in a statement. “Ratings were up this year; the Winter Classic in Buffalo was a huge success; advertising sales were healthy; and the product on the ice has never been better, led by young, marketable stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. We believe this is a sport that will continue to grow.”

Ratings for the regular-season Sunday games on NBC were up 11 percent from last year.

We’ve heard all this before — a one-year bump is nice, but doesn’t guarantee any long-term commitment. The key component is that NBC is getting the content for free — no rights means the NHL is simply getting some much-need exposure, and the network has no risk in either broadcasting or else bumping the random game.

Still, having a prime broadcast presence is still a status symbol that any claimant to major-league sports must have. It might not mean as much five years from now, but for now, it’s a requisite that the NHL is glad to have.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 04/23/2008 03:21:26 PM
Category: Hockey, SportsBiz, TV
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