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State of the Screens

Will Turner Sports Score Big With New NHL Deal?

By May 6, 2021No Comments

NHL Player on Ice

Big news: ESPN and Turner have agreed to separate deals with the NHL totaling $4.4B over 7 years.

Future NHL media rights by network (per season) according to Sports Business Journal:
1) ESPN – $2.8B ($400M)
2) Turner – $1.6B ($225M)
3) Total – $4.4B ($625M)

Why this matters #1: This is an increase of 213% even though ratings are down 25%.

NHL media rights per year comparison:
1) Current (NBC/NBCSN) – $200M
2) Future (Disney/Turner) – $625M

Why this matters #2: The increase in deal size for the NFL (↑ 80%) was not a fluke, and there does not appear to be a “media rights bubble.”

Quote from John Ourand – Media Reporter @ Sports Business Journal:
“In each of the 15 years that I’ve been writing for SBJ, people consistently have pushed me to write about how the sports rights bubble is primed to explode. This isn’t a bubble, folks, at least not for top tier sports properties. This deal represents the current state of the television business, where networks are prioritizing live sports and news over all other programming genres. When you have multiple bidders, like the NHL, rights fees will continue to increase. The one place where you most likely will see a sports rights bubble bursting: with smaller to mid-sized sports properties that can’t provide viewers or sponsors.”

Big question: How many people in the U.S. watch the NHL each season?

Quick answer: 32M

NHL Stanley Cup average viewership (YoY growth) according to Variety:
1) 2016 – 4.0M (↓ 29%)
2) 2017 – 4.7M (↑ 18%)
3) 2018 – 4.9M (↑ 4%)
4) 2019 – 5.3M (↑ 9%)
5) 2020 – 2.0M (↓ 62%)

Total Audience for NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC and NBCSN

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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