NEW YORK/TORONTO – ESPN has been awarded the exclusive U.S. media rights to the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the National Hockey League (NHL®) and National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) announced today. The World Cup of Hockey will be played at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Sept. 17 – Oct. 1, 2016. Eight teams, comprised of the world's best hockey players, will compete for a best-on-best international hockey championship.
The deal covers all tournament games – round-robin, semi-final and the best-of-three final – for the 2016 tournament and includes exclusive rights on television and radio, with most games to appear on ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN International gains the exclusive rights in over 20 countries served by its Pacific Rim and Latin North networks. Additionally, live access to coverage of the event on ESPN networks will be available through WatchESPN on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via an affiliated video provider.
"We are excited to have ESPN as our broadcast partner for what is going to be an incredible tournament featuring over 150 of the top hockey players in the world," said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. "ESPN's reach and storytelling approach will expose our players' skill and personalities, something that we know will resonate with fans as the tournament unfolds."
"ESPN broadcast the prior World Cup of Hockey, from Air Canada Centre. Now the World Cup is returning, with ESPN broadcasting in the U.S.," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We are very pleased and hope our fans will be, as well."
"We are thrilled to resume our partnership with Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League and to work closely with Gary and Don Fehr of the National Hockey League Players Association to make the World Cup of Hockey on ESPN a reality," said John Skipper, ESPN President. "We look forward to presenting this compelling tournament, with national pride at stake, to fans both in the United States and internationally."
Further details on the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will be released at a later date.
The eight teams participating in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey will include Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Finland, Team Russia, Team Sweden, Team USA, Team Europe and Team North American Young Stars. The teams will be divided into two Groups of four, and each will compete in three tournament games within their assigned Group in a round-robin format. The top two finishers in each Group will advance to a single-game semi-final against a team from the other Group. Winners of the semi-final games will advance to a best-of-three final round. It is expected that more than 150 of the best players in the NHL will participate in this tournament.