Posts Tagged ‘Viasat’

As posted previously on this blog, Finland and Sweden have an NHL deal in place carrying through till 2015-2016. In Sweden the games will be shown by Viasat and in Finland by Nelonen Pro.

In Finland, Nelonen Pro will air 150 games per season and will show the play offs and the Stanley cup finals. Viasat in turn is looking to air 15games per week.

Additionally Viasat will be airing all 1,300 regular season games live or ‘as-live’ through it’s extra channels and satellite broadcasts.

Both channels will offer North American tv broadcasts but will provide localised commentary and local insights to the games.

“This is a significant deal and will allow us to bring all the NHL games to the Nordic countries for the first time ever,” said NHL director John Collins. “This broadcast agreement ensures that NHL fans in the Nordic countries an entirely new way to approach the games and the players. This agreement is a win for both NHL hockey and our fans.”

Included in the deal is an online broadcast service of games, Viaplay, which will allow fans to stream live games through the service.

Again there is no news about the continued availability of Gamecenter live.

This deal would mean that the NHL is available on TV in nordics, uk and the Czech republic. I will report any new tv deals for other regions.

Personally I have to say that this deal is really impressive and I hope it pleases the fans in the Nordics.

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 Earlier last week, EPSN America announced that it had withdrawn from the NHL in UK, Ireland and Scandinavia/Nordics.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)

This statement was just released by ESPN America:

““Unfortunately, the NHL will not be part of the programming schedule on ESPN and ESPN America in the UK, Ireland or Nordic countries this season.
ESPN spoke to the NHL and their rights holders about continuing a partnership in these regions but we could not reach an agreement that worked for everyone.
We wish the National Hockey League and its new partners all the best while we remain in active discussions with them about coverage in many other parts of Europe.

Our channels will continue to provide a wide range of live sport, award-winning documentaries, original news & chat shows, and more.”

Judging by this, each of the countries will have a regional sports channel showing the NHL this year. For the UK the rights have been sold to Premier Sports and in the Czech Republic to Nova Sports. This suggests that channels like Viasat or Nelonen Pro might be getting NHL on the screens in the Nordics.

However, ESPN America has only pulled out from the Nordics, UK and Ireland, it does not mean that it wouldn’t pick up the broadcast for other European countries where a deal is not in place as of yet.

There is still no update as to whether GameCenter Live will be switched off, or if it will remain accessible to viewers in Europe.

Though ESPN America has pulled out, I would argue that in benefit of the sport it would be better to have the games on as many channels as possible, however, I can only guess that channels that have purchased the rights have demanded these on an exclusive basis to ensure that they can snag up as big of a share of the market as possible.

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.”

The puck drops tomorrow and fans across the world are waiting with bated breath to watch the games. None more than the European NHL fans as the situation over broadcast rights is still up in the air. Fans have been campaigning across social media platforms to raise the issue to NHL and those involved. Even Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks re-tweeted one of the #NHLTV4Europe tweets last night.


The last few days has seen Puck Daddy put a story together on the issue and even quoted the open letter I put together. I was just trawling twitter and I saw one of my followers Teemu Tammilehto (@tammarii) tweet that there is a TV agreement in place and that Game Centre Live has been blocked.


A thread on HF boards has users in Nordic countries saying that Game Centre Live is blocked and many other users from countries such as Germany are reporting similar problems. It would transpire that there is a broacast agreement in place for the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark) would have a TV deal in place with Viasat. But reading the comments on HF Boards, it would seem that the decision has enraged many fans (read the thread here:


To me this is an encouraging step, but still a double edged sword situation. In my initial blog and the follow up I said that the NHL needs a TV deal in Europe and a presence online, but with the broadcast agreement now in place, it would appear that the online broadcasting rights are up in the air.



Users who subscribed to Game Centre Live have received the following message:


“Unfortunately, NHL GameCenter Live is no longer available in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. The NHL is now being broadcast in your region through Viasat.

A refund has been applied to your account. Please allow 7-10 business days to see this reflected back on your credit card statement.

NHL Web Support”



I’ve been critical of the Game Centre Live route, but don’t get me wrong, the GCL is a great product but with most internet providers failing to deliver the promised speeds, users would have hugely differing experiences with watching games. For me personally GCL would’ve been a painstaking experience, much like watching the World Championships through


However, as Viasat now has rights to broadcast games, there is no indication whether there will be online broadcasts and to what degree. The NHL needs to have both televised and online presence globally to really market the sport. TV will provide fans like me an outlet to watch games and the Internet provides the option of giving fans the option of what games they will watch.


Further to the point, there seems to be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel on getting the debacle sorted out, though there are many more markets that need to be covered and Medge and AMI are running out of time.


Apologies for the rambling nature of the post, but I wanted to get the information up ASAP. I will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as and when they happen.


Let’s hope that we will all be able to watch games in time for the opening face off, whether it is on TV or online. Or who knows, both.