NBCUniversal high sticks ESPN in battle for hockey viewing rights

It may not be the Olympics, but Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) NBCUniversal programming unit showed that it's serious about sports programming by outbidding Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) unit ESPN for the 10-year rights to broadcast the National Hockey League (NHL).

At $2 billion, the deal is the richest in the history of the hockey league. To reach the pinnacle, NBCUniversal had to outbid and outlast ESPN, Fox Networks and Turner. NBC will also build a studio for the NHL Network channel.

Details are a little sketchy at this point. In the past the NHL and NBC divided advertising profits left over after production expenses while Comcast's Versus channel--now part of the NBCU group--paid $77 million a year to air NHL games.

For more:
- AFP has this story

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