Photo courtesy of ABC7
The National Hockey League and the Walt Disney Company broke the internet yesterday with their announcement that streaming rights would be moving to the Disney properties beginning in the Fall of 2021. This is a huge step for the sport, and will bring 1,000s of out-of-market games to the networks per season.
I, as someone who has been trying to get into hockey as a sport, absolutely love this move. Being a Blue Jackets fan in Fayetteville, Arkansas makes it harder to catch a game than it is to find Division III Chilean soccer.
In all seriousness, the bits and pieces of the sport that I do understand make hockey one of the more interesting sports on the rise in America. The out of market option provided with ESPN+ make the subscription essentially a must-have, and seeing what Disney has done with its other properties it’s difficult to doubt the growth that will come from the switch.
The deal, starting with the new season in 2021, will run seven years and give the company all streaming, television, and digital media rights. While the monetary details haven’t been officially released at the time, reports of a deal worth upwards of $400-million per year. One thing that we know about Disney as of late is that they’ve made the most of the opportunities they’ve had (see StarWars, Marvel, ESPN, ABC, etc.), and I’m not expecting anything less in this go of it.