Their 16-year broadcast run will come to an end at the conclusion of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens. NBC will bring the curtain down on their coverage of the NHL at the conclusion of the series, officially handing the coverage keys over to ESPN.
NBC has been the lone network rightsholder since 2005. However, on March 10 it was announced that ESPN will become the primary network partner for the league in a deal that saw the NHL essentially split its broadcast rights.
As part of their goodbye from the network, NBC prepared a retrospective video covering the past 16 seasons. The video is narrated by broadcast legend Doc Emrick.
ESPN and ABC, which owns ESPN, will broadcast four of the next seven Stanley Cup Final series, one conference final, and half of Rounds One and Two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. ABC and ESPN will broadcast 25 games during the regular season. They will broadcast 75 national regular-season games per season, the NHL All-Star Weekend, and NHL’s Face-off will stream exclusively on both ESPN+ and Hulu.
On April 26 it was announced that Turner Sports, which owns TBS, TNT, AT&T SportsNet, and TruTV, paid nearly $225 million per season through 2027-28 to become the NHL’s secondary national television partner in the United States. Turner Sports will get half of the Stanley Cup Playoff games, the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and a regular-season schedule each year of the agreement.
Whether you loved their coverage, hated their coverage, or you were indifferent, we should be appreciative of NBC’s coverage over the past 16 years. Thank you, NBC.
By Jon Sorensen