NHL Network (United States)

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This article is about the American cable channel. For the late 1970s syndicated package, see The NHL Network (1975–79).
NHL Network
NHL Network 2011.svg
Launched October 1, 2007
Owned by National Hockey League (84.4%)
NBCUniversal (15.6%)[1]
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Slogan Where the NHL Gets Hockey
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Stamford, Connecticut
Sister channel(s) NHL Network Canada
NBCSN
Golf Channel
Website NHLNetwork.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV 215 (HD/SD)
Alternate feed:
214-1 (HD)
214 (SD)
Dish Network 157 (HD/SD)
DishHD (Taiwan) 6365 (HD)
Cable
Comcast Xfinity 846/279 (SD)
Verizon FiOS 587 (HD)
87 (SD)
Available on most other U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider for channel availability

NHL Network is an American sports-oriented cable and satellite television network that is owned as a joint venture between the National Hockey League (which owns a controlling 84.4% interest) and NBCUniversal (which owns the remaining 15.6%). Dedicated to ice hockey, the network features live game telecasts from the NHL and other professional and collegiate hockey leagues, as well as NHL-related content including analysis programs, specials and documentaries.

The company has offices in Stamford, Connecticut, from which it will maintain the network’s satellite signal, advertising insertions and other aspects of NHL Network.[2]

Development[edit]

Logo used from 2007 to 2009.

Launched on October 1, 2007, the NHL Network was developed out of a joint venture between the NHL and cable provider Comcast, as part of a broadcast rights agreement that resulted in the NBC Sports Network (then known as OLN) acquiring partial cable television rights to regular season, and Stanley Cup Playoff and Finals games from the National Hockey League.[3]

The NHL Network in the United States currently shares some programming with its sister network in Canada, with the main differences in programming between the two network being the carriage of domestically targeted commercials and live game telecasts (for example, the Canadian version may show games televised in the U.S. on NBCSN, while the U.S. version airs Hockey Night in Canada games shown in Canada on CBC Television as well as games broadcast in that country on TSN). Live games on NHL Network are subject to local blackout restrictions, since NHL Network (despite being majority owned by the league) does not hold the exclusive broadcast rights to any of its games.

Logo used from 2009 to 2011.

The league hired Ascent Media Group to manage and distribute the channel, through its publicly traded subsidiary, Ascent Media Network Services. When it launched, the NHL Network became the third sports-oriented cable network devoted to programming from and controlled by a major sports league, following the National Basketball Association-owned NBA TV (which launched in March 1999) and the National Football League-owned NFL Network (which launched in November 2003); Major League Baseball would launch its own sports channel, MLB Network, on January 1, 2009.

Carriage agreements[edit]

Comcast, owners of the league's current cable partner NBCSN, is also one of the largest cable television providers in the United States. The company was contractually obligated to carry NHL Network on its systems by the summer of 2007 at the latest, so it would be available in time for the 2007–08 NHL season.[4] Both Comcast and the NHL had an option to terminate their contract after the 2006–07 season, which would have voided Comcast's obligation to launch a U.S. version of NHL Network, but opted to proceed with the launch.[5]

Since its official launch in the United States, the NHL Network announced plans on October 8, 2007 to begin being carried that month on Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable through carriage agreements that were struck with each of the providers.[6] DirecTV has aired NHL Network on channel 215 since October 31, 2007.[7][8] Going forward, any provider that already carries NHL Center Ice was expected to begin carrying NHL Network on one of its programming tiers. Some providers offer NHL Network's high definition simulcast feed, which broadcasts all live games in HD.

NHL.com announced on January 12, 2009 that AT&T U-verse would begin carrying the channel.[9] This was followed on June 2, 2009 with the announcement that NHL Network and Comcast had reached an agreement to carry the channel on the provider's Digital Classic Tier, which increased subscribership of the channel from the then-estimated two million subscribers in its placement on the "Sports Entertainment" tier to over 10 million on its Digital Classic package.[10] Internationally, the network began to be distributed in Taiwan in 2010 on satellite provider DishHD.

Carriage disputes[edit]

On October 1, 2011, AT&T U-verse dropped NHL Network due to a carriage dispute over a planned increase in retransmission payments.[11]

Programming[edit]

Hockey telecasts[edit]

  • National Hockey League – NHL Network broadcasts up to 80 regular season NHL games six days a week, with the exception of Tuesday games. Saturday games broadcast by the network are sourced by Canadian television network CBC Television's Hockey Night in Canada telecasts.[12]
  • NCAA Hockey – The network holds broadcast rights to live NCAA college hockey games, which air Friday nights during the season.
  • World Junior Championship – A preeminent worldwide junior tournament held annually that features national hockey teams from 10 countries in an elimination contest for a gold medal.
  • Minor League Hockey – NHL Network maintains broadcast rights to live and tape-delayed coverage of American Hockey League (AHL) games.
  • Memorial Cup – The network runs the annual junior hockey tournament, in which league champions from the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) compete for the Memorial Cup championship trophy.

Other programs[edit]

  • NHL on the Fly – NHL Network's signature show, which covers on- and off-ice NHL news with highlights, interviews and analysis. Airs nightly at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • NHL Tonight (formerly NHL on the Fly: Final) – This program covers on- and off-ice NHL news with highlights, interviews and analysis. Airs nightly at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time or after each day's scheduled games are completed. The series debuted on December 26, 2011.
  • NHL Live! – A two-hour simulcast of the popular XM Satellite Radio show "NHL Live". The program features interviews with NHL players and insight from NHL insiders (such as Bob McKenzie, Kevin Allen and Ed Olczyk). The program also features phone calls and e-mails from viewers voicing their opinions on a particular subject. Broadcasting live from the NHL Store powered by Reebok in New York City, the program airs weekdays from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • Top 10 – A countdown program focusing on hockey-related topics, from great performances to memorable moments.
  • Frozen in Time – A retrospective program that features a look back at the greatest moments in the NHL from players, teams, and special events.
  • Classic Series – A collection of highlights from a past Stanley Cup Playoff series.
  • Vintage Games – NHL Network airs archived broadcasts of past NHL games in their entirety from the game's original broadcaster.
  • Pioneers – A profile series in which NHL legends discuss their groundbreaking careers.

References[edit]

External links[edit]