The NHL’s ever-changing broadcast landscape may be about to shift.
As first reported by the New York Post and confirmed by The Athletic , the NHL, MLB and NBA will soon be able to buy the rights to broadcast local games on regional sports networks (RSNs) owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
“Everything is on the table right now,” a league source said. This is where you need to be proactive now before you go for the worst solution.
Through its Diamond Sports subsidiary, Sinclair holds the domestic distribution rights to 12 US-based NHL teams, with games shown on Bally Sports’ popular networks. Diamond is in financial trouble and could be headed for bankruptcy, which could cause the teams to lose the high payouts they negotiated with the company. NHL teams earn about $25 million from a deal on average, according to one source familiar with the situation.
“The model is slowly changing, but group rights payments are still one of the biggest revenue drivers for individual groups,” said a group executive. “It’s a financial pillar for NHL club finances and the league.”
If the NHL were to buy the rights to these broadcasts from Sinclair (perhaps through lenders), it would be another step in which teams would gain better control over their local television and streaming space.