SBD/October 21, 2011/Media

NHL's Int'l TV Deal With Modern Times Group Valued At More Than $50M

The NHL’s five-year pact with broadcaster Modern Times Group that includes TV rights in Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark "is valued at more than $50 million," according to Sam Mamudi of MARKETWATCH.com. The deal is the "largest of several the NHL has struck in recent weeks, as it negotiates its international rights." The NHL "has also sealed deals in France, the U.K., Spain and the Czech-Slovak market." The international push "isn’t just on television." More than 20% of the NHL’s digital audience "is from outside North America, and earlier this month it launched six local-language official websites in Russian, Czech, Finnish, German, Swedish and Slovak." A seventh, in French, is "due to launch by the end of the month." The sites "offer typical NHL.com content, but also focus on native players, with video interviews conducted in their own language, tailored highlights packages and localized versions of player pages." Each site "also has local writers." Mamudi noted NHL teams have played regular-season games in Europe every year since '07, and the league is "keen to capitalize on its popularity on the Continent" (MARKETWATCH.com, 10/20). The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts wrote while the NHL "took a small step toward solving its TV problem in Europe," many hockey fans in Russia and the rest of Europe "remain without access to games on television two weeks after the season started and they continue to express their outrage on the social networks." The only way for those fans to watch NHL games is "on their computers if they subscribe to the league’s video-streaming service" (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 10/20).

ON THE TUBE: Scandanavia NHL players reacted positively to the new TV deal with Modern Times Group. Red Wings C Valtteri Filppula said, "A lot of kids want to see NHL games and now that it's possible, it's going to be huge. Thinking back, when I was growing up I wish I could've seen games, so definitely it's a good thing." Flyers D Kimmo Timonen: "Obviously it's huge. There are brothers and parents [who] can watch the games because they can't come here too often." Red Wings RW Henrik Zetterberg: "It's pretty cool for them to be able to watch games and also for our parents -- so they can watch games or DVR the game and see it in the morning when they wake up. It's come a long way" (NHL.com, 10/20).
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