By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I read on Reddit that the NHL Center Ice plan is actually cheaper than a subscription to ESPN+. How can you order NHL Center Ice so I can pay less to watch all the hockey games this season? — Larry, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Larry, ESPN+, the streaming service operated by ESPN, this season will offer 50 exclusive NHL games and more than 1,050 out-of-market regular season games through its NHL Power Play feature. The games will include the choice of two separate live streams with either home team or away team commentary, as well as Canadian national presentations of Hockey Night in Canada. Replays of every NHL regular season and playoff game on ABC, ESPN, NHL Network, and TNT are also available to stream on NHL Power Play on ESPN+.

But ESPN+ does cost $9.99 a month and it rises to $10.99 a month on October 12. The yearly price is now $99.99 a year, but it increases to $109.99 a year on October 12. (The NHL Power Play games and features come with the ESPN+ sub, which also includes live games from other sports and other ESPN programming.) In contrast, the cost of NHL Center Ice, which offers up to 40 out-of-market games every week during the regular season, is as low as $69.99 for the season.

So how can you order NHL Center Ice instead of ESPN+, you ask? Answer: Subscribe to Dish, DIRECTV, Comcast or another pay TV provider that carries NHL Center Ice. The hockey package is only available on cable and satellite services. Dish is now offering it for $70 for the season while DIRECTV’s price is $69.99. Comcast is selling it for $70 in four payment installments of $17.50 each. That is definitely cheaper than ESPN+ although you don’t get the other programming (including the 50 exclusive games) that’s on the streaming service.

By the way, the 2023-24 NHL season will drop puck tonight (October 10) with a tripleheader on ESPN and ESPN+: The Tampa Bay Lightning host the Nashville Predators at 5:30 p.m. ET; the Chicago Blackhawks play the Pittsburgh Penguins at 8 p.m. ET; and the Seattle Kraken face off against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Vegas Golden Knights at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Larry, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann