A week later, the NHL and NFL just signed new TV rights deals in the US. TV Rights Queen, The NFL will raise $ 10 billion annually for 11 years. The NHL, the fourth largest sports league in North America, is expected to earn up to $ 550 million annually. But even though the NHL has just doubled its television revenue in the US, an American team on the Bettman Tour still generates half of the national broadcast rights as the Canadian team.
410 million in the United States
The average annual amount the National Hockey League (NHL) earns by selling the majority of its national rights in the United States to Disney, which owns ABC and ESPN, according to Washington Post. The previous decade, with NBC, brought in $ 200 million in the NHL annually since 2010. The NHL did not sell all of its national rights to Disney. She is currently negotiating to find a second national broadcaster in the US, possibly NBC, Fox or CBS. According to the journalist Sportsnet Elliot Friedman, the NHL hopes to raise a total of $ 550 million annually for all of its national rights. (We used this number in our calculations).
$ 349 Million US Dollars
Average annual amount earned by the NHL for its national rights in Canada. Since 2014, Rogers and TVA Sports have paid an average of 436 million Canadians a year for 12 years. With the exchange rate on March 15th, that gives $ 349 million USD annually. So American rights bring little more than Canadian rights. Except that the NHL has 24 teams (25 next season with the arrival of Seattle) in the United States, compared to 7 in Canada.
The Canadian team pays twice that amount
Thus, the Canadian team generates an average of $ 50 million in annual television rights for the NHL. With an expected $ 550 million annually in television rights, each of the 25 US teams produces $ 22 million in national television broadcasting rights. The national rights proceeds are re-distributed equally among all teams. (Well, not quite evenly, as teams that play in the National Games get compensation for having fewer regional games to sell on local TV.)
An excuse for the return of the Nordic countries?
Does this mean that the NHL Quebec team will generate more national rights money than a team in the United States? not nessacary. Hockey’s popularity across Quebec is already reflected in the value of broadcast rights because Canadian matches on television are also popular across Quebec (22% ratings on Canadian match night, according to Numeris) compared to Montreal (22%) ratings). If Nordiques returns to the NHL and hockey becomes more popular, there could be an increase in the value of TV rights. But if hockey stayed at 22% on game night – and Nordiques’ ratings downgraded the Canadians – that would be a zero-sum change.
Go back to ESPN
Before the pandemic, the NHL expected to raise $ 650 million to $ 750 million per year for its new US TV deal, but the league now expects it to bring in $ 500 to $ 600 million, according to Elliott Friedman. Its agreement with Disney provides for the streaming of the majority of playoff games on ABC and ESPN, plus ESPN + digital rights (more than 1,000 games per season) And Hulu (75 games per season).
Money is a big factor, but it is not the only factor. ESPN provides an offer to help grow hockey in the United States. Disney is also very interested in its digital platforms and knows how to reach a younger audience, ”says David Carter, professor of sport management at the University of Southern California.
Even with the Canadian dollar at 80 cents in the US, Canada remains a more lucrative TV market for the NHL, proportionately. “There is an even stronger attraction in Canada, where it is the national sport. TV channels will fight for rights in Canada, which will increase prices,” says Professor Eric Brunel, Director of Sports at HEC Montreal.
NFL grows to 10 billion a year
Last week, the NFL sharply renegotiated the value of its television rights in the United States, securing $ 110 billion for 11 years from a consortium of broadcasters consisting of CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and Amazon. On average, this is twice the previous decade. Between 2011 and 2023, the NHL, NFL and NBA likewise increased broadcast rights (between 167% and 180%).
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