Tuesday, August 09, 2005

NHL to be on OLN

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that the NHL and Comcast are on the verge of agreeing to a 2 year $100 million deal to broadcast NHL hockey on the Outdoor Life Network (OLN). This is more money then the deal ESPN opted out of. That was $70 million over two years. Apparently, ESPN has the right of refusal on this current deal for $100 million, but is expected to decline it.

OLN is trying to set itself up as a viable alternative to ESPN. They already broadcast the Tour de France and have the rights to the America's Cup Yacht Race and the Boston Marathon. There would be two NHL games per week on OLN - which is better than nothing - frankly I would hope for even more than that. Since the NHL would be part of a major repositioning of the network, they would likely get a very high profile position in OLN's schedule. That is a good thing. Will casual sports fans notice? Will they bother to check OLN to see if any sports are on it?

After OLN picks up NFL games and possibly more major programming, I think plenty will tune in (I'll also assume it won't be "OLN" at that point).
Should that read *IF* OLN picks it up?

Clearly if they do it will make them a big player, but its not the easiest thing in thew world to win an NFL contract.
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