Very bad news for NHL in USA
- ESPN declines NHL option for next season
LOS ANGELES (AP) — ESPN will not pick up a $60-million option to retain
NHL broadcasting rights for next season, the network said Saturday.
ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said the network would have further comment
next week. The option deadline is Wednesday.
The decision was first reported by the /Los Angeles Times /and Rogers
Sportsnet in Canada.
While ESPN will not pick up the option on the deal it agreed to in May
2004, the longtime NHL broadcaster could try to retain the rights for
The NHL, in negotiations with the players' association to end the
lockout that wiped out all of last season, has a two-year deal with NBC
to televise games when play resumes. The league also has TV deals in
Canada with CBC and The Sports Network.