ESPN has secured the rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The eight-team tourney -- United States, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia. Team Europe and Team North American Young Stars – is scheduled for Sept. 17 through Oct. 1, 2016 from Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
The deal with the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association – reported to be worth between $7 million and $9 million –covers a minimum of 16 telecasts, 17 if the best-of-three finales reaches its ultimate conclusion.
Most of the games will air on ESPN and ESPN2 and mark the worldwide leader's to coverage of pro hockey. ESPN last televised NHL games from 1992 –2004, including the World Cup of Hockey that last year.
NBC Sports, the long-term U.S. NHL rights-holder, had scheduling conflicts NASCAR, F1, Notre Dame football, PGA Tour, Ryder Cup and Paralympics.
“As the home of hockey in the U.S., which includes rights to the NHL through 2021, the World Championships through 2017 and the Winter Olympics through 2030, we were interested in working with our partners again, but this event proved challenging due to programming commitments.”
The eight teams will be divided into two groups of four, and each will compete in three tournament games within their assigned Group in a round-robin format. The top two finishers in each Group will advance to a single game semi-final against a team from the other Group. Winners of the semi-final games will advance to a best-of-three final round.
“We are thrilled to resume our partnership with Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League and to work closely with Gary and Don Fehr of the National Hockey League Players’ Association to make the World Cup of Hockey on ESPN a reality,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “We look forward to presenting this compelling tournament, with national pride at stake, to fans both in the United States and internationally.”
Bettman noted: “ESPN broadcast the prior World Cup of Hockey, from Air Canada Centre. Now the World Cup is returning, with ESPN broadcasting in the U.S. We are very pleased and hope our fans will be, as well.”