ESPN Lands 2016 World Cup of Hockey Rights; Sportsnet To Produce World Feed

The NHL and NHLPA have officially awarded the North American rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, with ESPN inking a deal for the U.S. multimedia rights and Sportsnet acquiring the Canadian English-language multimedia rights. In addition, TVA Sports, Sportsnet’s French-language partner, has acquired the Canadian French-language multimedia rights.

Sportsnet will produce the world feed from Toronto’s Air Canada Centre for a minimum of 16 World Cup of Hockey games (17 if the best-of-three final round goes three games) from September 17 – October 1, 2016. The world feed will be made available to rights-holders, which will also have the ability to complement it with their own production elements.

“Rogers, since we are going to be based at the Air Canada center, is going to be producing what is in effect a world feed,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said during a media call Wednesday morning. “But everyone is going to be in a position – particularly as it relates to our US right holder – to supplement it and tailor it in whatever way they feel is appropriate.”

This marks the first time Sportsnet will broadcast the World Cup of Hockey with rights to television, online and mobile for the two-week tournament.

Scott Moore, President, Sportsnet & NHL Properties, Rogers, said his network plans to place Olympic hockey production veterans to produce the telecasts.

“We are pleased to be providing the world feed,” said Moore. “The personnel that will be providing the world feed will be the same people that have done world feeds at various Olympics for the last few years and you can expect a world-class feed with a lot of innovation for 2016.”

The 2016 World Cup of Hockey will mark a return to the ice for ESPN, which televised the World Cup of Hockey in 2004 and last televised NHL games from 1992 – 2004. All World Cup games will be televised exclusively in the U.S. across ESPN networks, with most games on ESPN and ESPN2, and streamed via WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets, and OTT devices.

While Sportsnet will handle the world-feed production, expect ESPN to deploy its typical arsenal of studio coverage and unilateral production elements to customize its coverage.

“We are going to have the opportunity to create our own coverage and excitement, and do studio shows across all platforms,” said ESPN President John Skipper. “It will be a world feed but it will feel on air like and ESPN presentation.”

The tournament will feature teams from the United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia. Team Europe and Team North American Young Stars will round out the field. Returning after a 12-year hiatus, 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the tournament is a joint effort of the NHLPA and the NHL, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation.

The telecast schedule will be announced at a later date. Financial terms of the deals of were not disclosed.