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  • IOC Says NBC Free to Air NHL Games During PyeongChang 2018


    (ATR) There are no restrictions on NBC airing National Hockey League games during the Olympics, the IOC tells Around the Rings.

    An IOC spokesperson said that there is no clause in NBC’s rights deal that prevents it from showing certain events during the Games period. As of now there are no NHL games scheduled on NBC during PyeongChang 2018.

    NBC owns the broadcast rights for both the Olympic Games and the National Hockey League. Traditionally there would be no conflict as the NHL shut down for every Winter Olympics from 1998 to 2014. The NHL says that no players can be called into national teams for the 2018 Winter Olympics and the league would not shut down.

    A report from the New York Post said industry sources interpreted NBC’s decision was giving a “symbolic middle finger” to the NHL for withdrawing from the Olympics.

    “During the Olympic Games period, rights holding broadcast partners are entitled to show what programming they wish in addition to their coverage of the Games, including other sporting events,” an IOC spokesperson said.

    A spokesperson with NBC told ATR in a statement that “as of now there are no changes” to the schedule released in July. Although that may be true, that does not mean that NBC will definitely avoid the NHL during the Games period.

    “Our agreement with the NHL provides the flexibility to add games to our regular-season schedule for a variety of reasons,” the spokesperson added.

    The television schedule was made during the summer months after the NHL released a statement saying it would not participate in PyeongChang. In addition, ATR understands a final decision on the full slate of Games shown on the full range of NBC channels is an ever-evolving conversation each season.

    NBC has not shied away from showing non-Olympic sporting events during Olympic periods. In 2002 and 2006 the network aired the Daytona 500, a NASCAR event, during the Salt Lake City and Turin Olympics.

    Homepage photo: Getty Images

    Written by Aaron Bauer

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