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NBC and Versus Set to Announce New TV Deal

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Well at least they got rid of Joe Beninati.

According to the Sports Business Daily, NBC and Versus have agreed to a deal to renew the NHL's TV rights:

NBC and Versus have agreed to a deal to renew the NHL’s TV rights, according to execs close to the deal. A formal announcement is expected to come this afternoon. Specific deal terms are not known, but the bidding had gone above $200M per year. Fox pulled out of the bidding last week, and Turner pulled out yesterday, saying it could not find a business model to support the money the NHL appears to be getting in this negotiation. The NHL never came back to ESPN with a final bid, sources said. ESPN’s interest in picking up the package stayed until the end of the bidding process. But sources said it was too difficult for the NHL and ESPN to work around NBC and Versus’ matching rights.

Personally I'm not a fan of seeing the NHL on a network that is in twenty million fewer homes than ESPN, not to mention what having only one channel does to playoff scheduling. Obviously I'm just speculating here, but it sounds to me like the NHL wasn't all that interested in going back to ESPN. Maybe they didn't want to share the network with all the other major sports, who knows.