Hockey fans in the United States are going to be seeing a lot of the Edmonton Oilers this season.
Both ESPN and TNT have announced their schedules for the 2021-22 season and the Oilers will be featured nine times on national broadcasts.
The Oilers will appear on ESPN+/Hulu three times: Nov. 7 against the Buffalo Sabres, Nov. 23 against the Dallas Stars, and April 26 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Edmonton will be on TNT a league-high six times this season: Oct. 27 against the Philadelphia Flyers, Dec. 1 against the Penguins, Dec. 22 against the L.A. Kings, Feb. 2 against the Washington Capitals, Feb. 23 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and March 9 against the Capitals again.
These TV deals are big for the NHL growing its product in the United States. The Turner deal, which features an aspect with HBO Max, is worth $225 million per season. The ESPN deal is worth $2.8 billion over the course of seven years.
We’ve come a very long way from the NHL getting aired in the United States on the outdoors network as a niche sport. Having Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the past two Hart Trophy winners, on TV this many times should be a good way to get Americans interested in the sport.