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Nent seals more exclusive winter sports with IIHF Infront deal

The Nordic Entertainment (Nent) Group continues to pick up exclusive winter sports rights in the Nordics, agreeing a new deal until 2028 with the Infront agency for International Ice Hockey Federation rights.

The new five-year agreement, from 2024 to 2028, is for exclusive rights in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to the IIHF World Championships and the two annual Division I tournaments (both Group A and B).

Nent will show every game on its Viaplay streaming service and Viasat pay-television channels, with selected games also broadcast on its free-to-air channels.

Nent currently hold IIHF World Championship rights in Norway and Sweden in a deal also with Infront, from 2018 to 2023. IIHF rights in Sweden were initially acquired by public-service broadcaster SVT, which sublicensed rights to Nent, with all rights shared between the two.

IIHF rights in the 2018 to 2023 cycle are currently held by commercial broadcaster TV2 in Denmark and commercial and pay-television broadcaster MTV3 in Finland. The 2019 IIHF World Championships was shown by public-service broadcaster RÚV in Iceland. Nent will be launching Viaplay in Iceland in 2020.

Rights were sold by Infront, which renewed its global media and marketing rights until 2033 with the IIHF last month.

Nent has been aggressively pursuing exclusive winter sports rights in 2019, with the acquisition of International Skating Union events from 2019-20, as well as a package of Fédération Internationale de Ski (Fis) World Cup events from 2021-22, and the 2023 and 2025 Alpine and Nordic World Ski Championships. Both these deals were also agreed with Infront.

On the IIHF deal, Anders Jensen, president and chief executive officer said: “This ground-breaking agreement is as important as our FIS skiing deal earlier this year. The IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship is part of our DNA, and Viaplay will now become the home of this fantastic tournament in every Nordic country for many years to come. Nent Group will have the biggest and best winter sports portfolio in the world’s largest winter sports market, and we look forward to reaching more ice hockey fans in more countries on more platforms than ever before.”