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NHL, NBC Reach 10-Year TV Deal

The NHL on NBC will stay that way for at least another 10 years, as the league and NBC Universal struck a deal on Tuesday. 

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The deal is reportedly worth $200 million per season (that's $2 billion for the whole deal) and will keep NHL games broadcast nationally on NBC and cable partner Versus. The company outbid other high-profile competitors for the NHL rights, namely ESPN. Part of the deal also includes the renaming of the Versus channel to include the patented NBC name. So will we soon be seeing the NBC Sports Network in the mold of Fox Sports? Only time will tell.

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One of the big sticking points on the deal is that NBC and its affiliate stations will be showing more games during the regular season and the playoffs, according to NBC sports executive Dick Ebersol.

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"The most important thing here is the exclusivity," said Dick Ebersol, chairman of the NBC Sports Group, at the news conference in Manhattan. He said that NBCUniversal channels will air more regular-season and playoff games and that the deal includes rights to online-video streaming of NHL games.

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However, as the article mentions, the NHL TV audience is still minimal in comparison to the other major leagues in North America. Versus is not a widely distributed station like ESPN is and is usually in the upper tier of cable packages. While Versus does provide a bit of exclusivity as the NHL is its primary draw, it is not nearly the national audience that most sports get through their TV deals.

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