NHL reaches 7-year deal with Turner Sports, ending NBC run

The Los Angeles Kings enter the ice at the start of the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks Monday, April 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
The Los Angeles Kings enter the ice at the start of the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Anaheim Ducks Monday, April 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The NHL and Turner Sports on Tuesday formally announced a seven-year agreement that begins next season and will put three Stanley Cup Finals on the TNT cable network.

The world's top hockey league is eager to replicate the success found on Turner by the NBA.

“From our standpoint, we looked at the strength of the Turner Sports portfolio, which is outstanding,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “They put a fun and innovative factor into all of what they do, and we’re excited to have that same treatment for our sports, and for our fans.”

Turner and corporate owner WarnerMedia surprised many with the acquisition. Longtime NHL partner NBC and Fox were seen as the favorites to get the second package after the league reached an agreement with ESPN last month.

NBC’s run of covering the league since 2005 ends after after this season’s playoffs. It is in the final season of a 10-year contract.

WarnerMedia News & Sports Chairman Jeff Zucker said Turner’s style and approach to covering the NBA and baseball will translate well to hockey. Whether it has the same vibe as its NBA coverage, which includes the successful “Inside the NBA” studio show, remains to be seen.

“Obviously I think that there’s a style to Turner Sports, but you can't just copy ‘Inside the NBA’ on Thursday nights," he said. “We’re going to bring that same approach to the NHL but also one that I think is innovative, fun and dynamic.”

Zucker said there haven’t been any decisions about studio talent or announcers. Charles Barkley is a big hockey fan, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he made an occasional appearance.