Amazon, Tegna score NHL rights deals

King Kong Kraken: Seattle’s NHL team scores rights deal with Tegna Duopoly.

Tegna’s Pacific Northwest stations acquire almost all Seattle Kraken games; Amazon is the new home of SportsNet’s “Monday Night Hockey” in Canada

A pair of NHL deals on both sides of the border sent a huge body check to cable TV.

On Thursday, the NHL’s Seattle Kraken announced a new television rights deal with MacLean, Va.-based broadcaster Tegna, with at least 70 regular-season and first-round playoff games, airing on Seattle NBC affiliate KING and independent KONG, who’ll air all non-network games with KING simulcasting a few. The duopoly also becomes the station’s official television partner, with a weekly, all-access show. 

Two other Tegna stations in the Pacific Northwest are also on board: KREM Spokane and KGW Portland, Ore., where Kraken games will mostly air on each station’s digital subchannel. Based in Seattle, Amazon has naming rights to the team’s arena and will stream all KING-produced games for Prime Video subscribers in the Kraken territory of Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, marking the first time an NHL team has struck a streaming deal directly.

“Today’s announcement is a game-changer for our fans. Our goal is to increase the ways they can watch our games. whether they’re cheering us on at home or on the go,” said owner Sam Holloway. “To have both Tegna and Prime Video as trusted partners is a dream come true. I can’t wait for more fans to fall in love with Kraken hockey.”

“Our collaboration with the Seattle Kraken marks a significant milestone in our commitment to celebrating the essence of local sports on local broadcast television”, said Tegna’s President and CEO Dave Lougee. “We look forward to bringing every thrilling moment of Kraken hockey to all viewers in the Pacific Northwest as we build on our long-standing commitment to the region.”

More Pacific Northwest stations are expected on board in the coming weeks. The Kraken’s on-air broadcast team is being retained, including former Blackhawk player and analyst Eddie Olczyk and his son Nick Olczyk. 

Since entering the league in 2021, Kraken games were broadcast on Root Sports, a regional sports network once connected to the now-defunct AT&T Sportsnet, now part-owned by the Seattle Mariners. A decision by Comcast – Seattle-Tacoma’s largest pay cable operator – to move Root to a higher-priced cable tier played a role in the decision to part ways with Root, as viewers are cord-cutting, or getting rid of cable due to its continued high cost. As a result, several teams moved away from the RSN model including the Vegas Golden Knights, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and the former Arizona Coyotes.

This is the second deal in two weeks in which Tegna brought sports rights to its stations. Earlier, Tegna’s Indianapolis stations scored an over-the-air deal with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever for seventeen games, featuring hot rookie prospect Caitlin Clark. 

And Amazon wasn’t done deal-making. The tech conglomerate is also taking over rights to Monday night hockey games from Rogers SportsNet in Canada, making them exclusive and marking the first time a major streamer landed rights to major sports property north of the border.

“With Prime Monday Night Hockey, we’re offering our customers even more from their Prime membership,” said Magda Grace, head of Prime Video, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. “We’re committed to driving more innovation for fans as we bring the NHL into more Canadian homes and across more devices on Monday nights than ever before”

Amazon’s agreement is only for two years, covering the 2024-25 and 2025-26 seasons – the back-end of a twelve-year deal signed by Rogers in 2013. This doesn’t affect Sportsnet’s rights to Wednesday Night Hockey or Saturday’s Hockey Night In Canada (with two games sub-licensed to the CBC) or any playoff contests. The NHL rights deal in Canada is the next major sports contract up for bids in North America after the NBA wraps up its rights negotiations with U.S. networks and streamers sometime this year.


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