ESPN Declines Option -- NHL's Broadcast Future in United States Remains Cloudy
- By The Associated Press
Los Angeles -- 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 less
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.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]