Turner Broadcasting Signs TV Contract with NHL, AEW’s Future on TNT Unknown

WarnerMedia and Turner Broadcasting Systems announced that they have signed a new television contract with the NHL. This would be for the second of the two television deals with the league, following ESPN’s deal for the larger television package earlier this year.

Sports Business Journal reported (paid article, via PostWrestling.com) that NBC had recently withdrawn from their talks with the NHL regarding the potential of them renewing their current television contract with the league. It was also reported that Turner’s television deal with the league is for seven years in length and worth $225 million per year.

In regards to AEW, their future airing status on Wednesdays on TNT is currently unknown. NXT reportedly moved to Tuesdays partly because NHL games were expected to move to USA Network and frequently air on Wednesdays. NHL games will air on both TNT and TBS, so it’s possible that any Wednesday games would be broadcast on TBS and AEW Dynamite would not be affected on TNT.

The new deal will start with the 2021-22 NHL season, which begins in October.

Official press release:

Turner Sports and National Hockey League Announce Seven-Year Multimedia Rights Agreement Beginning with 2021-22 Season

TNT to Crown Champion with Stanley Cup Final and Extensive Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage; Rights to Up to 72 Exclusive Live Regular Season Games, Including NHL Winter Classic Each Season

Comprehensive Agreement Also Highlighted by Live Streaming Rights; Expansive Digital and Highlight Rights for Bleacher Report and More

Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia, and the National Hockey League have reached a multi-faceted, seven-year agreement set to begin with the 2021-22 season, it was announced today by Jeff Zucker, Chairman, WarnerMedia News & Sports, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. This historic multimedia rights agreement will bring the Stanley Cup Final and Stanley Cup Playoffs to TNT and TBS for the first time, along with providing Turner Sports rights to up to 72 regular season games and the NHL Winter Classic each season.

The multi-year agreement is highlighted by TNT crowning a champion through its exclusive live coverage of the Stanley Cup Final in three of the seven years; half of the Stanley Cup Playoffs each year (half of the Conference Finals, First and Second Round games); and rights to up to 72 exclusive national regular season games each season. Additionally, TNT will exclusively present the NHL Winter Classic each year, among other live events. Live game and studio coverage details, along with programming plans, will be announced in the months ahead.

“This agreement with the National Hockey League brings one of the most prestigious championships in sports to TNT and fuels our entire Turner Sports and Bleacher Report portfolio with even more premium content for many years to come,” said Zucker. “We’re delighted to spotlight the world’s best hockey league on our leading networks, while continuing to further elevate this marquee property through an ever-expanding array of digital platforms in the years to come.”

“Turner Sports is known for its outstanding sports coverage, quality and innovation and we are thrilled that this new partnership will provide our fans with the content they love on the platforms and devices of their choice,” said Commissioner Bettman. “TNT is a proven and acclaimed destination for sports fans and we will also benefit from the deep connection Bleacher Report has with young digital-savvy fans. Having WarnerMedia join the NHL family as co-rightsholders for the next seven years gives us incredible reach, positions us well for the future as the media landscape continues to evolve, and will fuel continued growth for the NHL and our Clubs.”

The multimedia agreement between Turner Sports and the National Hockey League includes live streaming and digital rights across WarnerMedia – including HBO Max – and a wide spectrum of screens and platforms such as mobile, web, tablets and connected devices.

Digital Innovation:

Live streaming and simulcast rights for HBO Max;

Turner Sports will have TV Everywhere rights that will allow its networks to make its NHL games and related programming available to authenticated subscribers across all WarnerMedia platforms;

Expansive digital and highlight rights for Bleacher Report;

Through its transformative partnership with the NHL, Turner Sports and Bleacher Report will have the ability to create ancillary programming, events and bespoke digital experiences for the next generation of hockey fans.