Telstra, the Australian telecoms giant, has entered into a five-year international distribution deal with North American ice hockey’s top-tier NHL.

The deal, announced today, will see Telstra use its Global Media Network (GMN) to deliver NHL games to rightsholding networks across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, while plans exist to increase distribution to partners in other worldwide markets eventually.

The deal will see up to 1,400 games each year delivered to viewers globally, Telstra has said.

The firm will support the delivery of this NHL content through its Broadcast Operations Centers in Pittsburgh (US), Sydney, and London.

The GMN is a “purpose-built video contribution and distribution network supporting permanent and occasional use services for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint … across traditional broadcast, IP video standards, and cloud connectivity”, according to the telecoms heavyweight.

Dan Kim, senior vice-president of media and international distribution and strategy at the NHL, said: “With their Global Media Network, Telstra offers a level of flexibility, creativity, and commitment that allow us to provide tailored, custom delivery solutions on a market-by-market basis. We will continue to share the excitement of live hockey with avid fans around the world and look forward to building audiences in new markets this season and beyond.”

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Adam Day, vice-president of enterprise, technology, and broadcast sales for the Americas at Telstra, added: “This exciting new partnership coincides perfectly with Telstra’s ongoing commitment to invest in its networks and offer new, innovative content delivery and distribution solutions to customers around the world. We look forward to helping the NHL expand its reach …”

In September last year, US media giant Disney and its sports broadcaster ESPN confirmed coverage of the NHL in 109 countries globally, starting with the ongoing 2021-22 campaign, through their long-term partnership with the league.

The duo will provide NHL coverage across Australia, New Zealand, South America, the Caribbean, parts of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The action will be shown on both the linear ESPN channels and on Disney's various streaming platforms, including Star+, ESPN Play, and the ESPN App, depending on the region, and will feature more than 1,400 games from across the regular season and playoffs, the Stanley Cup finals, All-Star weekend, Winter Classic and Stadium Series.

ESPN landed rights to the NHL for seven years starting with the 2021-22 season back in March 2021.

The current season began on 12 October and will end on April 29.