Viaplay, the streaming platform run by European media giant Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT), has acquired rights in the UK to North American ice hockey’s NHL and KSW, the European mixed martial arts promotion.
The additions come ahead of the platform’s launch in the UK in the second half of 2022. An exact launch date, along with details about the full offering and pricing, is yet to be announced.
The agreement with the NHL will see up to 1,400 games a year from the league shown on Viaplay up to the end of the 2026-27 season.
Among them will be all Saturday and Sunday games, the Stanley Cup playoffs and final, and “other marquee events, including the NHL Winter Classic, NHL All-Star Game, NHL Stadium Series, NHL Heritage Classic, and NHL Global Series.”
The deal expands the relationship between Viaplay and the NHL to cover 10 markets, with deals for coverage of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Championship from 2024 to 2028 and the Champions Hockey League, Europe’s top clubs' competition, having been announced last month.
It brings the total number of markets in which it shows the NHL to 10, with the others being Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.
Viaplay’s acquisition of KSW rights, meanwhile, will make the promotion available to view in the UK for the first time.
It will see 12 live events from the promotion broadcast annually until 2025, with the first slated for late 2022.
The UK becomes the 11th market in which Viaplay will broadcast KSW, following a 10-market deal last year for rights in Poland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands.
Among the other sporting properties lined up so far for Viaplay’s UK debut are ISU figure skating and speed skating, EHF handball, CEV volleyball, World Athletics events, and FIS snowboard and freestyle.
Peter Nørrelund, chief sports officer at NENT Group, said: “We’re already expanding Viaplay’s UK sports line-up with more long-term rights that put us firmly on the map.
“We have worked with the NHL for 19 years in our Nordic markets, which proves the quality of our coverage. KSW is one of our fastest-growing partnerships and will be broadly available in the UK for the first time. These deals are great news for UK sports fans – and there's more to come.”
David Proper, senior executive vice president of media and international strategy at the NHL, added: “Viaplay has been an outstanding partner and key stakeholder in the NHL's strategy to deliver the game to as many fans as possible throughout the world.
“We look forward to building on our shared commitment to bring the world's best hockey players to a broader audience and are thrilled to have expanded our relationship with Viaplay.”