NBC & NHL ANNOUNCE CONTRACT EXTENSION
Innovative "Game of the Week" Flex Scheduling Key Component of Extended Deal
NEW YORK -- March 27, 2007 -- NBC Sports and the National Hockey League today announced an extension of their revenue sharing partnership through the 2007-08 season highlighted by a new, innovative "Game of the Week" flexible scheduling component. The deal includes an NBC option for 2008-09. The joint announcement was made today by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.
"Flexible scheduling will always allow us to have the best possible games," said Ebersol. "Nothing could be better for hockey fans, who now will be able to see the best teams and marquee players on national broadcast television each week."
Bettman said: "In under two seasons, NBC Sports has significantly elevated NHL broadcast coverage in the U.S. We're delighted to have extended our partnership and look forward to next season's scheduling innovation, aimed at delivering the best possible action to hockey fans."
The NHL will offer flexible scheduling for NBC's nine regular season dates.
NBC will be able to select from a minimum of three games scheduled on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen days prior to the scheduled games, NBC, in conjunction with the NHL, will select one of those games as the "Game of the Week" to be broadcast during the NBC window. The other games will remain available to the teams' regional carrier (not to be televised during NBC's broadcast window).
Next season, all NBC regular season games will be broadcast on Sundays for the first time and all games will be presented in high definition. NBC will broadcast postseason games on select Saturdays and Sundays, and Games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup Final in primetime, as with the current deal.
"THE NHL HAS NEVER LOOKED OR SOUNDED BETTER"
NBC's NHL coverage has received critical acclaim, earning praise for innovations such as "Inside the Glass," a reporter position between the teams' benches first introduced by NBC hockey producer Sam Flood. ESPN.com said of NBC's hockey coverage, "the NHL has never looked or sounded better in its free, on-the-air history." The Hockey News called "Inside the Glass," "the biggest innovation to hit televised hockey in recent years." " Hockey has found a network that will let the sport be the sport," said the San Jose Mercury News.
On May 19, 2004, NBC and the NHL announced a two-year agreement on a partnership for NBC to televise NHL games.