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The New Broadcasting Partners Need A Good Start To The Season

from Brian Steinberg of Variety,

Fans of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” might get something next week they won’t be expecting — a tribute to hockey.

The Disney-backed sports-media giant expects to spend part of its next halftime show treating viewers to a concert as well as a surprise visit from someone who is emblematic of the icy pastime, says Mark Gross, senior vice president of production and remote events, in an interview. He declined to name the person likely to appear. The weekly football showcase “exposes a large audience to the NFL and a larger audience” to a new NHL schedule slated to start the very next night, says the executive.

“We haven’t had hockey in close to 20 years,” he adds. “When you lose a property and then you get it back? That doesn’t happen every day.”

Disney and rival WarnerMedia will, next week, start to skate on new ice. After spending the last 16 years at NBC, the National Hockey League will split its rights package between the two media companies, placing the bulk of it with ESPN and a smaller chunk with Turner Sports. For both companies, however, the sport, and next week’s season open, are crucial. “It’s been quite a few years since we’ve had a rights package with this much significance for us to sink our teeth into,” says Tara August, senior vice president of talent relations and special projects for Turner Sports.

In an era when a migration to streaming is causing the audience for any specific piece of programming to get smaller, sports like hockey are one of the few things the big media companies believe can keep big crowds tuning in.


Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink


TreKronor's avatar

surprise visit from someone who is emblematic of the icy pastime

Emilio Estevez!  That’s my guess, especially with the reboot of the Mighty Ducks on Disney+

Posted by TreKronor on 10/05/21 at 01:55 PM ET

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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