TV Answer Man, I think you are wrong. I looked at the ESPN+ schedule and they don’t have many games for the Boston Bruins. It was almost none. I thought they were going to have all the games that NHL TV had. I subscribed to ESPN+ but I think I got screwed! — Jerry, Tampa, Florida.
Jerry, I have received more than a dozen e-mails in just the past week expressing the same concern. After perusing the ESPN+ schedule, they concluded that it will not provide as many games as NHL.TV did in previous seasons. In fact, some people say the streamer will have fewer than 100 games, not more than 1,000 as the NHL TV plan did.
(ESPN earlier this year purchased the out-of-market rights to NHL games starting with this season; this allowed the NHL to eliminate NHL TV and permit ESPN+ to be the sole provider of the out-of-market plan for streaming. See our article for more details.)
So what gives?
The problem is that the readers, and likely many others, are apparently looking at the ESPN+ schedule of 75 exclusive NHL games that will be on the service this season. (When I asked a few readers why they thought ESPN+ would not stream 1,000 games this season, they pointed me to the schedule of 75 games.) In addition to those 75 exclusive games, ESPN+ will carry more than 1,000 out-of-market games, including both home and away broadcasts, just like NHL.TV did. (The 1,000 plus games are broadcasts from regional sports channels.)
For example, the streaming service this week will offer 27 games, starting with Tuesday’s opening night matchups between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, and Seattle and Vegas. You can see this week’s schedule here.
I’m not sure why so many people have become confused by this, but it’s probably a combination of ESPN being late in publishing its out-of-market NHL schedule and the fact that some are unaware of the transfer from NHL TV to ESPN+. Regardless, ESPN+ is the new NHL TV, and at $6.99 a month or $69.99 for one year, it’s a pretty good deal, particularly considering that the streamer also has a large number of other live sporting events, including MLB games.
And if you’re just a NHL fan, you could subscribe now (the 2021-22 season starts on October 12) through April and only pay $49 to watch those 1,000 out-of-market games. By comparison, the 2020-21 season of NHL.TV cost $144.99.
Jerry, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann