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NBC extends television contract with NHL through next season @NHLdotcom

NEW YORK - NHL games will continue to air on NBC next season.

The network decided to exercise its option to extend the contract, it announced Wednesday.

"There have been positive signs for the league, both on and off the ice," Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, said in a statement. "Ratings were up this year; the Winter Classic in Buffalo was a huge success; advertising sales were healthy; and the product on the ice has never been better, led by young, marketable stars such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. We believe this is a sport that will continue to grow."

Ratings for the regular-season Sunday games on NBC were up 11 per cent from last year.

NBC will continue to televise the Sunday afternoon games and some playoff games.

Last year, NBC extended what had originally been a two-year deal.

"This is great news for the NHL and its fans," commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "NBC has been a great partner and its innovations to the broadcasts have helped bring fans inside the game like never before."

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