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Ice hockey - 08 Jan 2021
Puls 24, the Austrian free-to-air commercial broadcaster owned by ProSiebenSat.1 Media, has entered into a four-year rights deal to show North American ice hockey’s NHL, starting this month as the 2020-21 season gets under way.
The broadcaster will show lone game per week live during the regular season, as well as all ‘decisive’ matches from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Stanley Cup Final.
Puls 24 and its sister channel Puls 4 will also be able to show exhibition games and events, such as the NHL All-Star Game and the Winter Classic, and will also show action on its online and mobile platforms.
NHL rights in Austria have been shared by Germany-based Sport1 and pay-TV’s Teleclub since 2016.
Mario Lenz, group director of sports rights at Puls Group, said: “Starting in January, we will become the number one destination for ice hockey in Austria… Our whole team is fired up for the new challenge and ready for our partnership with the world’s greatest ice hockey league.”
David Proper, senior executive vice-president of media and international strategy at the NHL, added: “Puls 24 is the ideal platform to deliver NHL games… We look forward to working with the Puls Group as part of our committed efforts to grow the game internationally.”
Puls 24 broke into the sport by securing domestic rights to the the top-tier Austrian Eishockey Liga in May last year, starting with the 2020-21 season.
The Puls 24 channel will show up to 45 games live and exclusively each season, including one game on all play-off match days. It will offer extensive highlights throughout the season, and matches will also be streamed on the Zappn app and via puls24.at.
Puls 24 also has rights to top-tier soccer, sharing rights to the Europa League with DAZN, as well as to American football’s NFL.
Meanwhile, Sportsnet, the Rogers Communications-owned Canadian pay-TV sports broadcaster, has announced four-year regional broadcast extensions with two of the NHL’s Canadian teams, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
Sportsnet, which also holds national rights to the NHL in Canada on its main channels, will continue to show games featuring those two sides on its dedicated channels - Sportsnet Flames and Sportsnet Oilers - for the duration of the partnership, across the cities’ respective provinces.
The games will also be available for viewers to stream, in the regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan, on SN Now.
Sportsnet has been the Flames’ and Oilers’ official national broadcast partner since 2010, with the initial agreement signed then lasting until 2020, while Sportsnet West has been the exclusive regional broadcaster for both teams since 1998.
NHL games not selected for national coverage in Canada are broadcast by regional feeds and blacked out in other parts of the country - Sportsnet therefore covers the Flames and Oilers for both.
Sportsnet’s president, Bart Yabsley, said: “We celebrate the passion Western Canadians have for these storied franchises and are proud to be their media partner. Continuing our strong partnership with the Oilers and Flames is instrumental in our ongoing commitment to delivering the best hockey content.”
The current 12-year deal for Rogers to broadcast the NHL in Canada, struck in 2013, is worth C$5.2 billion ($4 billion).
In addition to the Flames and Oilers, Sportsnet also has regional broadcast deals with the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks, two of the NHL’s other Canadian franchises.
The full 2020-21 NHL season, pushed back because of problems caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, is set to start on 13 January, with the regular season to conclude on 8 May.