ESPN lands US rights to World Cup of Hockey – report

Sports broadcaster ESPN has acquired the US rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey national team ice hockey tournament, according to Canadian pay-television sports broadcaster TSN.

TSN said ESPN has seen off competition from the NBC Sports Group division of media company NBCUniversal, as well as the Fox Sports division of the Fox network, to land the rights. If confirmed, the World Cup of Hockey would mark the first significant ice hockey rights acquired by ESPN since 2004.

The news comes after Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail last week reported that telecommunications company Rogers Communications has acquired Canadian broadcast rights to the World Cup of Hockey.

North American ice hockey league the NHL, which is operating the tournament alongside the NHL Players’ Association, confirmed last month that the World Cup of Hockey would be resurrected in 2016, with the event’s return set to be hosted in the Canadian city of Toronto.

The World Cup and its predecessor, the Canada Cup, have been held seven times since 1976 through to 2004, with the rebirth of the national team competition one of the key items on the NHL’s agenda in recent months.

All tournament games will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto from September 17 to October 1 next year. The eight competing teams will include the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden, along with a ‘Team Europe’ and ‘Team North American Youngstars.’