TNT Is Reportedly Interested In Adding NHL Broadcasts To Its Sports Offerings

The way hockey fans watch NHL games is changing and according to reports they won’t have to look far if they watch NBA basketball, too. Earlier this year we learned that NBC Sports Network would essentially go off the air in the coming months, leaving the NHL’s biggest broadcast partner with some big question marks with the league’s broadcast rights going back on the market.

In stepped ESPN, which returned to broadcast the NHL for the first time since the mid 2000s (and, yes, the ESPN NHL song is coming back). And on Monday we learned that not only will NBC step away from hockey as it pivots live sports to USA Network and its streaming services, but another cable network will commit to NHL games that should be very familiar to sports fans.

Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand reported Monday that NBC was out on hockey, and TSN hockey reporter Bob McKenzie reported shortly after that it may be TNT that picks up the package instead.

That would be big news for Turner, which has focused mainly on college and NBA basketball in recent years — as well as an MLB Playoffs package. And while the logistics are far from figured out, hockey fans allowed themselves to dream of a studio show about their sport that could reach the same heights as TNT’s Inside the NBA. Nothing is official here and Fox had reportedly been the frontrunner for the league’s second package, but TNT making another big investment in sports would certainly shake up the landscape for hockey.

It would be interesting to see if the NHL were given equal attention from TNT, as both leagues largely run their seasons at the same time and Tuesdays and Thursdays are reserved for the NBA. But all of that can get sorted out as long as the check clears, and hockey fans certainly seemed excited about the possibility on Monday.

UPDATE: According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Turner’s deal will include three Stanley Cups (ESPN gets four) and will see them pay roughly $1.6 billion for the seven years of rights.