NHL games will be broadcast on Sweden’s only dedicated ice hockey channel, Viasat Hockey, a new Swedish TV channel, launching this September; on Viasat Sport in Norway; and on Viasat channels in Finland and Denmark. The agreement with ESPN and the NHL includes five exclusive NHL matches every week during the regular season between October and April, news and highlights from all NHL matches, and co-exclusive rights with ESPN America to all of the Stanley Cup Playoff games between April and June. In addition to Viasat Hockey, NHL games will also appear on other Viasat channels in Sweden. The agreement also provides live online streaming rights to all NHL matches for Viasat OnDemand in conjunction with ESPN360, ESPN’s broadband service.
The first matches of the 2009/10 NHL season, the NHL Premier Games, will be played on October 2nd & 3rd in Stockholm at the Globe Arena and in Helsinki, Finland at the Hartwall Arena. The 2009 NHL Premier Games in Stockholm, will see 2008 Stanley Cup Champions and 2009 runners-up Detroit Red Wings take on the St. Louis Blues. These games will be broadcast on Viasat channel, TV6, in Sweden. The NHL features the leading ice hockey players from all over the world, including some 50 Swedish and 40 Finnish players, a number of whom play for both the Red Wings and the Blues.
Viasat has already secured a wide range of exclusive ice hockey broadcasting rights including the annual IIHF World Championship, the KHL, Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan league and the Norwegian Get league.
Hans-Holger Albrecht, President & CEO of MTG, commented: “The NHL is the premier professional hockey league in the world and is extremely popular in the Nordic countries. This acquisition reflects our commitment to provide the very best in both local and international sports content to our viewers, and clearly positions Viasat as the number one broadcaster of ice hockey, with an exciting and diverse portfolio of on and off-line rights.”