Posts Tagged ‘Opening face off’

It looks like Finland is going to have NHL on the TV as well now. According to Finnish magazine, Urheilulehti, the games will be shown on Viasat and Nelone Pro channels. What gives credibility to the rumours is that there have been tweets going around from sources close to NelonenPro to say that they hope to have something soon and a Swedish press release posted on the Viasat pages about the NHL.

According to Urheilulehti, the deal would cover the next five years (also the length for which Medge Consulting has the rights for). Earlier last week, EPSN America announced that it had withdrawn from the NHL in UK, Ireland and Scandinavia/Nordics. Finland, a known hotbed for hockey, has not had any NHL games shown, apart from the Premiere games that took place in Helsinki and Stockholm.

Urheilulehti says that the deal is radical change to last year as Viasat and Nelonen Pro can broadcast as many games as they want and the channels can choose which games they are going to show due to the exclusivity of the deal. This would allow the channels to broadcast games that are most interesting to their audiences and have greater flexibility among the broadcast of games. So theoretically, if Viasat and Nelonen Pro so wish, they could show a game or two every night of the week, which seems a hell of a lot better than deal than some other countries have gotten.

The deal is quite different to the one that was unveiled in the UK with Premier Sports that are going to be showing ‘up-to 10 games per week’. As for Premier sports, they have expanded the offering of the games, but majority of the games are still showing Western Conference teams and most have a start time of 3am UK time.

Medge Consulting and Viasat are expected to make an official announcement about the rights during this week, according to Urheilulehti. There has been no confirmation on what will happen with Game center live in the countries the deal will effect, and whether Viasat and Nelonen Pro will offer their own online streams as part of the package.

I guess everyone remembers that GCL was switched off in the region for the NHL Premiere games aired on Nelonen Pro and Viasat.


The original story can be found here (in Finnish only)

Last night I put together a post about Viasat buying the TV rights for the Nordic region and reported that many fans were outraged by the decision, mainly because the NHL Game Centre Live was blocked in the countries affected.

It would appear that Viasat has also acquired the broadband broadcasting rights for the NHL in the Nordics region, but it would seem that they are not doing anything with it at the moment, which has enraged fans in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

When the NHL sold the broadcasting rights to Medge and AMI, it also sold the broadband broadcasting rights and as far as I can tell, where there were no broadband/internet broadcasting deals in place, the NHL started selling its in-house product to the European market.

As the Viasat agreement also includes broadband coverage, the NHL has had to pull the plug on Game Centre Live in the Nordics due to conflict of interest, effectively creating a monopoly in the region for watching games.

As for Viasat and the quality of the product they offer: I’ve watched the last two Stanley Cup Finals from Viasat during my holiday in Finland and they deliver a good quality product, with localised commentators who actually know hockey and know what they are talking about.

However, the gripes that I’ve seen is that it is yet another TV package that people would have to subscribe to and with no broadband screening package available (at the time of writing), it has caused fans to get irate about it.

ESPN TV UK has also tweeted today to say that they are in talks with Medge and AMI with hopes to get an agreement in place soon. Whether that would include ESPN Player I’m not too sure about, but it would seem to make sense that they struck up that agreement as well.

UPDATE (15:48 GMT): Since posting this story, it would seem like there has been further developments into the story. Finnish tabloid Ilta-Lehti has reported that the TV deal for Nordics will only cover the NHL Premiere games. Medge Consulting has done as much as posted a Swedish news bulletin on their site to say that the deal is in place to cover the NHL Premiere games for Nordics. Well done Medge, really, well done.

This situation is starting to get beyond confusing and with mere hours to go till opening face off, we are still none the wiser, whether the Nordics (or the whole of Europe for that matter) have an all encompassing TV deal in place or not. At the moment, I’m starting to feel like you need a degree in astro physics to work this mess out.

I would like to apologise if my post caused any confusion, but I’m trying to stay on top of the developments.


EDIT 2: (17:32 GMT): The NHL has issued a statement regarding this whole mess. Good job, you got it online mere hours before puck drop for the first games. I’ve copied the whole statement below, but by the looks, we are still far from a situation where a TV deal would be announced.


The NHL’s goal this season is to bring more programming content and live games than ever to our passionate and loyal European fans. In connection with that pursuit, today we have launched six native-language Web sites (Czech, Finnish, German, Russian, Slovak, Swedish). NHL GameCenter LIVE enables our international fans to enjoy live and on-demand games via streaming video on broadband, mobile and tablet devices.

On the television side, we continue to work throughout Europe to bring NHL hockey to our fans. While these negotiations are ongoing, we remain optimistic that we soon will soon have agreements to announce. We thank you for your continued patience, as we continue to work diligently toward this goal.

The following are the local broadcast listing for the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere:

Friday, October 7:
2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Stockholm
7:00pm: New York Rangers vs. Los Angeles Kings
TV10 and online via Viaplay (Sweden)

2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Helsinki
8:00pm: Anaheim Ducks vs. Buffalo Sabres
Nelonen Sport Pro (Finland)

Saturday, October 8:
2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Stockholm
7:00pm: New York Rangers vs. Anaheim Ducks
TV6/Viasat Hockey and online via Viaplay (Sweden), Nelonen Sport Pro (Finland)

NHL Live Games Online:
The 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere Games will be available through NHL GameCenter LIVE everywhere except Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. In those countries, the 2011 Compuware NHL Premiere games will be made available online via “Viaplay.”