Come July when we crown a new Stanley Cup Champion, it could be the final time we see the Stanley Cup awarded on NBC. After a decade plus of the NHL on NBC/NBCSN, the TV deal is set to expire. Now, with that time quickly approaching were starting to get some early signs of a good ole fashioned bidding war!
However, if you’ve been paying attention over the last few years like myself..Well then you already have an idea of who might end up winning the bidding war for the next NHL TV deal. Our friend over at @NHLRumorsDaily(I’d like to consider us friends I don’t know if he does though.) has been all over this story for like two years.
As you can see from back in 2019 he had the news that the NHL and Disney/ESPN could get back into business. Now, it’s starting to look more and more like a real possibility. With ESPN already having games on ESPN+ they seem to be the clear front runner to land the next TV deal with the NHL. Obviously, nothing is done yet and things can change at a moments notice but with ESPN being a major player in this bidding war I’ve got some thoughts…
Look ESPN used to be great with its NHL coverage and they had some solid personalities who covered it as well. However, since they lost the TV deal with the league their coverage of the NHL has been…well to put it nicely, BAD. It’s been a borderline joke as to how little the so called “World Wide Leader In Sports.” pays attention/cares about the NHL. I used to watch ESPN all the time growing up mainly Sportscenter. But I can honestly say over the last 5-10 years I’ve watched a very limited amount of ESPN programming. While I think the NHL getting a TV deal with ESPN would be really good, I need to know that ESPN will actually put the effort in to help grow the sport.
I want them to cover the NHL like they cover Lebron’s hairline, I need to know that at anytime of day you can turn on one of ESPN channels and there’s going to be some sort of legit NHL talk. I want to see John Buccigross, Barry Melrose, Steve Levy, and Linda Cohn giving me some of the best NHL coverage I’ve seen in years. Feed me Wednesday night hockey with Bucci and Melrose calling the game. Please for the love of god if ESPN is going to get this TV deal do us all a favor and BRING BACK GARY THORNE!!!!
Bottom line is this, I want the NHL to grow and I want more people to love this great sport like I do. If ESPN really wants to invest and put the time into the NHL like they do the NBA then by all means I’m all for it. But if they aren’t willing to put in the work like making sure they get the notification alerts correct then I don’t want it.
PS:I can only hope that a deal with ESPN would bring back one of these two games…
Hockey Night Image-Wiki
ESPN Hockey Image-Gamespot