The National Hockey League and The Walt Disney Co. will drop the puck on the first season of their seven-year multiplatform television deal by distributing more than 100 exclusive, live NHL regular season games, nearly three-quarters of which will be offered through digital services ESPN Plus and Hulu.
The two Disney-owned services will stream a combined 75 live NHL regular season games, including exclusive Tuesday night hockey games throughout the regular season as well as weekly Friday games until January, before switching to weekly Thursday night games throughout the rest of the season, said ESPN.
In addition, ESPN Plus subscribers will have access to more than 1,000 games per year as part of the league's NHL.TV out-of-market game package moving to the streaming service.
ESPN and ABC will air 28 regular season NHL games beginning with an Oct. 12 ESPN doubleheader featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and the two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and the first-year expansion Seattle Kraken taking on the Vegas Golden Knights. ABC will offer weekly regular season NHL games beginning in February.
In March, Disney and the NHL reached a seven-year TV distribution deal that will put the league's Stanley Cup finals games on ABC and ESPN for the first time since 2004.
R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.
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