The real fun might not be seeing the LA Kings against rival Anaheim Ducks in Chavez Ravine but instead those poor workers and Zamboni drivers trying to keep the ice from melting on a potentially hot LA day. That’s what first came to mind when the NHL today announced the Jan 25, 2014, game as part of its expanded outdoor schedule last year. The Stadium Series as it’s now called was spawned by the successful annual Winter Classic game on New Year’s Day, which has boosted awareness of the sport, and provided NBC a killer TV alternative to college bowl game blowouts. Toronto plays Chicago at Soldier Field on March 1, and other matchups are to be announced including likely Yankee Stadium games featuring the NY Rangers, NY Islanders and NJ Devils. READ MORE »
The coverage of every game in this year’s NHL Stanley Cup playoffs begins tomorrow with three games — including the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis on CNBC — and will feature as many as …
After 113 days of lockout, the NHL and the league’s players association reached a tentative agreement on the framework of a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement at 4:45 AM this morning following a 16-hour negotiating session. The deal still must be ratified by the players and the NHL’s Board of Governors, but an abbreviated season of 48-50 games is expected to start by January 19. The number of games lost to the NHL lockout is 625, or 50.8% of the regular season that was to begin October 11, including the NHL All-Star Game. The pact brings relief to NBC, which signed a record $2 billion, 10-year TV rights deal with the NHL last year, with hockey a major programming plank in its nascent NBC Sports Network. Over the past several months, networks had to repeatedly adjust their schedules as more and more hockey games were wiped out.
How soon before we hear that the entire 2012-2013 season is a goner? The total number of games now lost to the NHL lockout is 625 — that’s 50.8 percent of the regular season that was to begin October …
Now all games through December 30 have been iced since the owners locked out players in mid-September. The latest swath of cancellations, announced today by the NHL, comes as the league last week rejected the latest proposal by players, …
Major League Baseball, the NHL, Comcast and DirecTV failed today in their team effort to get an antitrust class action suit against them dismissed in a New York District Court. “Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the NHL and MLB have used their monopoly power to restrict the broadcast of television programming in a manner that harms competition,” said the ruling (read it here) from U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin on Wednesday. The ruling means the class action instigated in the spring can go forward. The various plaintiffs claim that the leagues, regional sports networks and the cable and satellite companies have created monopolies over the airing of games on TV and online by dividing up territories and instating blackouts. In a response this summer, the defendants said the plaintiff’s claims were “meritless” and sought to have the case tossed. While the judge rejected the notion that self-proclaimed “middlemen” DirecTV, Comcast and the regional sports networks actively conspired to monopolize individual markets, Sheindlin kept everyone on the hook for their collective actions. “The notion that the exhibition of league games on television and the Internet is clearly a ‘league issue’ is contrary to long-standing precedent that agreements limiting the telecasting of professional sports games are subject to antitrust scrutiny,” Scheindlin wrote in the 53-page ruling.
A conference hearing in New York has been scheduled for December 18.
The National Hockey League cancelled another swath of games today, eliminating all regular season games through December 14 plus the All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio that was scheduled for January 27. The NHL lockout has now wiped out 422 regular …
Yesterday was the deadline for the NHL and its players to reach agreement on the latest labor proposal by owners to end the league’s lockout, The deal could have salvaged a full season of games, but with that timeline shot the league today canceled games through November 30 — a swath of matchups that includes a November 23 game between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins that was supposed to drop the puck on NBC’s nationally televised slate this year. To date, that makes 326 games lost, or 26.5% of the league’s 82-game season. There have been rumors that the NHL Winter Classic on January 1 as well as the All-Star Game are being cut today, though the league has not said so. The Winter Classic is a blast to watch and has served the league well in broadening its fan base, with the game played outdoors on New Year’s Day in a big venue usually in wintery conditions that — at least on its oft-slushy surface — evokes an old-timey feel that works well on TV especially amid the hype of college football bowl season. This year’s matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings is set for the University of Michigan’s massive football stadium, where a crowd of more than 100,000 is expected.
NBC Sports and the various regional sports networks must be wondering if the NHL lockout will ever end. Today the league said it was canceling all regular-season games through November 1, making it a total of 135 games down the tubes as the league and the players fight over a new labor deal. The NHL made a very public offer earlier this week that ws rejected by the players’ association yesterday, prompting today’s move. That offer was based on the idea that, if accepted, the NHL could squeeze in a full 82-game season if the season started by November 2. At this point it’s still a workable scenario — unlike the wacky schedule that emerged out of the NBA lockout last season, when teams were often forced to play back-to-back-to-back nights to make up the lost time and only fit in 66 games.
The NHL today cancelled its 2012 preseason through September 30 as the league’s lockout continues after its union pact with players expired Saturday at midnight. More cancellations are expected as the labor unrest drags on, and no talks on a new collective bargaining agreement have been scheduled. NBC Sports, which signed a record $2 billion, 10-year TV rights deal with the NHL last year, remained neutral in the wake of the news, saying in a statement:
“We are hopeful that the lockout is resolved soon and does not affect our NHL programming. However, if games are missed, we have a large amount of quality live-event programming available to replace them, including soccer, boxing, and college hockey and basketball.”
UPDATE, 10:45 AM: The 10-year contract will take the partnership through the 2020-21 season and calls for 100 regular-season games a year, including for the first time a national broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday. The press release is below.
PREVIOUS, 9:29 AM: There’s a conference call scheduled for later today in which NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NBC Sports Group chairman Dick Ebersol are expected to announce that NBC and Versus have retained broadcast rights to NHL hockey. Bloomberg reports that the package is for 10 years and worth $2 billion. The two networks could match any bid because they own the current rights. Among the bidders was ESPN and Turner Sports, the latter of which pulled out of the race Monday.
NEW YORK (April 19, 2011) — The National Hockey League and the NBC Sports Group have reached agreement on a landmark 10-year television and media rights deal, taking the partnership through the 2020-21 season. The expanded partnership, under which NBC remains the exclusive network home and VERSUS the exclusive cable home of the NHL® in the U.S., is highlighted by the first-ever national distribution of all Stanley Cup® Playoffs contests, including, for the first time, exclusive coverage starting with the Conference Semifinals. The agreement also calls for the NBC Sports Group to televise 100 regular season games per year and introduces a national NBC broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday. The announcement was made today by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Sports Group.