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ESPN acquires NHL rights in 61 territories across Europe and Africa

ESPN Player, the OTT platform of pay-television broadcaster ESPN, will broadcast NHL ice hockey in 61 nations across Europe and Africa thanks to a new rights agreement announced today (Tuesday).

The OTT platform has signed a two-season deal that covers the remainder of the 2019-20 season and the full  2020-21 campaign. ESPN Player can broadcast three live fixtures per matchweek, both live and on-demand.

The deal includes the rights to both regular season and playoff matches.

The territories covered include Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Nigeria, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Turkey and the entirety of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fox and DAZN shared NHL rights in Italy last season, while Fox solely held the rights across sub-Saharan Africa.

Subscribers will also have access to ESPN’s portfolio of NCAA college American football matches as well as both men’s and women’s NCAA college basketball tournaments.

The NHL and IMG, its international rights sales agency, has moved to close deals in a handful of markets across Europe in recent months.

Canal Plus acquired the NHL rights in France until 2022, while Yandex signed an exclusive streaming deal for the NHL rights in Russia.

IMG distributes NHL rights in all territories, excluding the US, Canada and the Nordics which are the three biggest markets for NHL rights. The agency’s deal for international distribution runs until the end of the 2020-21 season.