The National Hockey League is continuing its strategy to increase its European fanbase and revenue streams by scheduling more than 50 games in primetime for the continent for the second straight season.
Approximately 30 per cent of NHL players come from Europe, with the majority of that group coming from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, and Sweden.
The NHL believes that showcasing its international stars to their home audiences year-round in primetime will increase interest in its teams and the league overall, and ultimately lead to commercial rewards such as larger international TV rights fees.
The “NHL European Game of the Week,” as it is marketed overseas, will start with the 2019 NHL Global Series game set for Oct. 4 between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, the Nova Group has renewed its agreement with the NHL to broadcast games in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the next three seasons.
As part of the deal, the Nova Group will air up to 15 live NHL games a week across its network of broadcast stations Nova Sport 1, Nova Sport 2 and Nova Action, and via its streaming platform, VOYO.cz. Each broadcast preceded by a one-hour pregame show featuring special guests and hockey news and analysis.
Elsewhere, pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus has renewed its broadcast deal with the NHL in France until 2022, as reported by SportBusiness last month.
The IMG agency works with the NHL on its international rights sales in an advisory remit that excludes North America and the Nordic countries.