By James O'Brien
In a way, baseball will power the way hockey fans consume a ton of digital NHL-related media going forward.
More specifically, MLBAM will be doing the heavy lifting, as the NHL announced a “historic” six-year deal with the service, which also apparently powers streaming services for companies ranging from ESPN to the WWE and CBS.
The short version: MLBAM will operate NHL.com and its team sites, the NHL Network, Game Center Live and Center Ice. It will “fully launch” in the first month of 2016.
Here’s a little more information from the press release:
The deal awards MLBAM rights to distribute live out-of-market games, including through the NHL GameCenter LIVE and NHL Center Ice subscription services in the United States and certain international markets. MLBAM will operate NHL.com, including the League’s seven native language sites, and Club websites. MLBAM will operate NHL apps and be available to develop apps for the Clubs. The NHL and MLBAM will partner on the design and development of new digital products and platforms. The NHL and its Clubs retain editorial control across all platforms. The Emmy-Award winning MLB Network will provide studio space and production resources for the NHL Network for distribution in the United States and certain international markets.
There are some interesting side notes to this announcement, including a benefit that may be seen on the ice rather than on a screen.