The NHL and the Worldwide Olympic Committee had been unable to safe an expanded media rights deal for the 2022 Winter Olympics, however the league nonetheless intends to ship its gamers to Beijing, sources instructed ESPN.
In its new Collective Bargaining Settlement, the NHL agreed to let gamers take part within the 2022 Beijing Video games and 2026 Milan Video games contingent on securing agreements with the IOC and IIHF. The 2021-22 regular-season schedule was launched with an Olympic break from Feb. 7-22. Talks stay ongoing between the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC. Whereas no ultimate settlement is imminent, there was optimistic momentum in the direction of a decision for a number of weeks.
If and when that ultimate deal is introduced, it won’t embody expanded media and advertising rights for the NHL, which had been a purpose for the final decade. The NHL was denied “High Sponsor Standing” for the 2018 PyeongChang Video games, which might have allowed its web site and NHL Community to have content material from the Video games. It was one of many acknowledged the explanation why the league opted to not ship its gamers to these Winter Olympics, amongst different monetary issues.
Whereas the NHL loaned its gamers to the Olympics from 1998 via 2018, it hasn’t been in a position to personal highlights of their exploits on the ice. For instance, Sidney Crosby’s “golden purpose” in 2010 and T. J. Oshie’s shootout exploits towards Russia in 2014 are nowhere to be present in NHL video highlights on air or on-line.
The NHL additionally didn’t make many inroads in getting its promoting and logos into the Video games. The IOC had held agency on all of those advertising rights, fearing that different skilled leagues will make the identical requests for his or her athletes on the Olympics.
Based on one supply, the NHL misplaced leverage in these issues when it left NBC, which airs the Winter Olympics, in its new rightsholder take care of ESPN and Turner Sports activities.
Nonetheless, there have been optimistic indicators that an settlement is forthcoming. ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reported that the NHL has discovered a supplier for COVID insurance coverage for gamers, and particulars on insurance coverage are being negotiated with the NHLPA.
Nonetheless, the NHL and the NHLPA “retain full authority to determine to not take part ought to COVID-19 situations worsen or in any other case pose a risk to the well being and security of NHL gamers.” If the gamers find yourself not collaborating within the Beijing Video games, the league will launch a revised 2021-22 schedule that can attempt to adhere to the launched one as a lot as attainable.