NBC and Versus’ broadcast rights for the NHL end after this season, and Sports Business Journal‘s Tripp Mickle and John Ourand put together a nice look at the potential bidders.
Their take? The two networks that currently air games will combine and offer some sort of combined bid. The duo will win, with the Peacock paying the league a fee to broadcast the games. (Currently, NBC pays nothing while Versus dishes out $75 million per season for cable rights.) Fox will also make a run at the league, but it will fall short. ESPN will benefit from the NHL’s desire to be shown on the Worldwide Leader and will get some games as well.
Versus, which posted its highest ratings ever during the 2010 Stanley Cup, sounds happy to show the NHL on its airwaves.
“Everybody thought the sport was down and out when we took over the rights for it following the work stoppage. Nobody thought there was going to be resurgence. After five years, we are now beating the [best] rating hockey has ever had [on cable],” Versus president Jamie Davis told AOL’s Fanhouse in June.