Comcast has reached an agreement with the NHL for the authenticated livestreaming of pro hockey on regional sports networks in Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and the Bay Area.
The agreement follows a lengthy negotiation between the National Hockey League and Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit. It also comes after a similar deal was announced between the NHL and Fox’s regional sports networks (RSNs) in July.
Under terms of the new deal, NBCU-owned RSNs Comcast SportsNet Chicago, CSN California, CSN Philadelphia and CSN Mid-Atlantic will be able to livestream Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals games to Comcast subscribers in their respective markets.
That means that a Capitals fan in D.C. will be able to stream a game played down the street at the Verizon Center online or on a mobile device, given the proper Comcast pay-TV authentication. This availability starts this week and runs through the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs—the point in the season at which national networks take over NHL coverage from RSNs.
The agreement is part of a stepped-up digital presence being put in place by the NHL, which last year licensed its streaming rights to Major League Baseball’s digital video shop, BAM Tech, for $100 million.
According to Awful Announcing, the Comcast deal is similar to the one the NHL carved out with Fox over the summer, which allowed RSNs in Boston, Denver and Pittsburgh to livestream hockey games. In fact, the Fox deal was described as the “template,” outlining how such tenements as technology and authentication would work.
The NHL is not early to the livestreaming party. RSNs with NBA deals, such as Comcast SportsNet Chicago and TWC SportsNet in Los Angeles, have been livestreaming local pro basketball games for several years.