NBC to shun NHL during Pyeongchang 2018

The NBC network, rights-holder to the Olympic Games in the United States, has confirmed it won’t broadcast any games from North American ice hockey league the NHL during the 2018 winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

The 2018 Games are due to run from February 9-25 and the New York Post newspaper said NBC will not cover any NHL games across the period spanning February 7-26. NBC and NBC Sports Network broadcast 20 games over the equivalent period last season.

In April, the North American league confirmed it would not participate in the Games, stating no “meaningful dialogue” had materialised to convince it of the benefits of disrupting its season so its stars can compete in Pyeongchang.

The NHL’s decision ends a run of five consecutive winter Games with the league’s players and followed months of back and forth between the organisation, the International Ice Hockey Federation and International Olympic Committee.

The Post said the gap during the Olympics was included in a broadcast schedule released by NBC in July, but it was assumed it would be filled at a later date.

NBC Sports Group vice-president of communications, Chris McCloskey, said its contract with the NHL allows the network to add games but that, “As of now, there are no changes.”