In yet another short-sighted deal by a major sports league, the NHL cut ties with ESPN and sold its rights to Outdoor Life Network
OLN, which recently made the bold acquisition of Surivor
repeats, is in 20 million fewer homes than ESPN, which is considered (for better or worse) as the premier cable sports destination.
OLN will carry games on Mondays and Tuesdays and will pay $65 million this season and $70 million in 2006-07, with options for four more seasons after that. ESPN declined to match the offer.
George Bodenheimer, the president of ESPN and ABC Sports, said "given the prolonged work stoppage and the league's TV ratings history, no financial model even remotely supports the contract terms offered."