The NHL’s return to Disney DIS draws 84% audience

The NHL’s return to Disney DIS draws 84% audience

The NHL's return to Disney DIS family of sports networks brought in nearly double the audience of last year's Stanley Cup Finals, according to new data from Walt Disney Company subsidiary ESPN.

With an average of 4.6 million viewers this year, the final — played between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche and aired on both broadcast and cable television, increased viewership by 84% year-over-year.

ESPN SVP of Programming Acquisitions, Ilan Ben-Hanan, who leads ESPN's NHL coverage, told Yahoo Finance before the Game 5 video above. Remember, this is just the year one of a seven-year deal. There's still so much room to grow but we're really excited about where we're going. For seven years of NHL media rights, ESPN spent $2.8 billion. The NHL has been a big part of our success, according to Ben-Hanan, when we look at the numbers over this entire hockey season. There were a lot of great exclusive events on ESPN in that time. We recognize and value that hockey fans have come to recognize from ESPN as a home for them. Since the service's inception in 2018, live sports coverage on ESPN has been the main driver of media rights deals. In the last year, the league has launched additional or initial streaming coverage of the NHL, PGA Tour, UFC and lacrosse's two largest professional leagues, the National Lacrosse League and Premier Lacrosse League. On Friday, the Sports Business Journal reported that ESPN paid $75 - 90 million per year to retain F 1 broadcasting rights. Pitaro said that we are continuing to evaluate things, continuing to follow the consumer. We will continue to be there and be present as the fan spends more time on a digital or direct to consumer platform. During Disney's most recent earnings call on May 11, 2022, CEO Bob Chapek teased the possibility of moving traditional linear sports broadcasts onto streaming, but noted moves like the NHL's ESPN deal are more like putting one foot on the dock. The immediate plan is to continue to invest in ESPN as a complementary product to ESPN linear, which we continue to invest in and acquire rights for. We don't have a date yet when we're going to take our flagship channels direct to consumer.