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TWO-YEAR OPTION COULD BOOST FOX-NHL DEAL TO $275 MILLION
Published September 13, 1994
In a fact sheet distributed from the NHL to each of the 26 clubs prior to last night's ratification vote by NHL governors, it was revealed the Fox TV deal that is expected to be formally announced today in New York "could be worth significantly more than the original reported figure of $155 million," according to Bob McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO STAR. "Fox has guaranteed the NHL that amount for the next five seasons, but has the option to pick up the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons for an additional $120 million." Even if Fox doesn't exercise its 2-year option, annual U.S. TV revenue will increase by 75%, an average of more than $1M per team per year (TORONTO STAR, 9/13). THE ESPN FACTOR: According to the NHL fact sheet, the "new" ESPN deal is worth $65.1M through '98-99. ESPN "is losing some properties but isn't paying as much as it was. Also, ESPN will be permitted to lift a local team's regional blackout rights once per season per team in the the first three years of the deal. In years four and five, ESPN's lifting of blackout rights increases to two times per team per year" (Bob McKenzie, TORONTO STAR, 9/13). LEAGUE VIEW: NHL Senior VP Steve Solomon: "By our going out into the ad market and coming up with sponsors Anheuser-Busch and Nike, the value of the NHL was enhanced. And by regionalizing games and Fox promoting them like they do the NFL, the ratings figure to improve. Our high demos for 18-49 men make hockey a happening sport" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/13). Solomon and Commissioner Gary Bettman will be joined by ESPN Exec VP Ed Durso, Fox Television President Chase Carey, Fox Sports President David Hill, Anheuser-Busch VP/Corporate Media and Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo and Nike Sports Marketing and League Relations official Doug Stamm at the 2pm announcement in NYC today.