NHL, NBC extend relationship for 10 years

April 19, 2011 at 3:25 PM
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NEW YORK, April 19 (UPI) -- The NHL and NBC Sports Group announced a 10-year deal Tuesday that beefs up the network's exclusive coverage during the playoffs.

The television and media rights deal, which will carry through the 2020-21 season, keeps NBC as the exclusive network home and Versus the exclusive cable home of the NHL in the United States. It includes the first-ever national distribution of all Stanley Cup playoffs games, including, for the first time, exclusive coverage starting with the conference semifinals.

"What's particularly exciting for us is not only the significant increase in regular season games, but the reality of a dream that every single playoff game will air on an NBC Sports Group platform," said Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports Group. "For the first time, the conference semifinal round will be exclusive on Versus with a 200 percent increase in games. In the regular season, we're increasing Versus' coverage from roughly 50 to 90 games."

The arrangement also calls for the NBC Sports Group to televise 100 regular-season contests each season, including a national NBC broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday, a game of the week, and any outdoor games, as well as the all-star game.

"This is the most significant U.S. media rights partnership in the league's history," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "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."

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