Posted by Chris G, Digital Radio Producer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

LAVAL, QC. — While hockey fans were focused on the Stanley Cup finals, the NHL quietly announced a preliminary accord concerning out-of-market broadcast games. On June 11th, as part of a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit, the NHL revealed that it will offer single-team GameCentre Live packages for at least the next five seasons. That’s great’s news, right?

The answer is that it’s not necessarily a win for hockey fans. Let’s review some facts around the settlement to help you determine if in fact you come out a winner from this settlement.

What is this?

In the past, hockey fans were forced to purchase Center Ice or GameCenter Live which provided access to out-of-market games for all NHL teams.  Under the terms of the antitrust lawsuit settlement, fans in the U.S. will be able to offer single-team packages for a discount of the bundle for all teams.

How much less?

The cost of the single-team package will save you 20 per cent of the regular price of the full season package. If you are a fan that watches only your favorite team’s games, then the price is a win for you. If you are a fan that likes to watch hockey in general or if there are fans of other teams in your household, the single-team package is not cost efficient.

What about fans in Canada?

Rogers confirmed to All Habs Hockey Magazine, that as of this moment, they have no intention of offering single-team packages in 2015-16. Single-team packages will only be available to subscribers of Comcast and DirectTV in the US.

Any other discounts?

The league will offer to ‘early bird’ subscribers an additional discount of 17.25 percent for the single-team package.

Will single-team packages be available through both Gamecentre Live and Center Ice?

Given that the single-team package will only be available online via Gamecentre Live, you need to make sure that you have a good internet package to support streaming of multiple NHL games.

What about the dreaded blackouts?

If you live in your favorite team’s TV market, the single-team package will not be available to you for purchase. For example, if you are a DirectTV subscriber living in Boston, subscribing to the Bruins single-game package will not be an option for you. You would be able to order the single-game package for the other 29 NHL teams.

(Image from Yahoo Sports)
(Image from Yahoo Sports)

Anything else about blackouts?

Games that will be broadcast on national TV (ie NBC in the US), will not be available as part of the single-game package. Therefore, if NBC Sports airs your team’s game often, the single-game package may not be as attractive for you. For example, NBC Sports aired 17 Bruins games in 2014-15, therefore only 65 games would have been available as part of the single-game package. It would be wise to review the NBC Sports schedule by clicking here.

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As demonstrated above, there are a lot of factors for a hockey fan to take into consideration before making a decision of purchasing a single-team or a full season package. One thing that is certain is that the settlement is win for the National Hockey League. There will be fans that will switch from a full season to a single-team package, but that loss will be offset from new fans that were not subscribers in the past that will sign up for a single-team package going forward.

If you have any questions about the lawsuit settlement, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at chrisg@allhabs.net


Don’t forget to follow Chris (@chrisg1980) and the Habs360 podcast (@Habs360) on Twitter for the latest news on the Habs, broadcasting rights, and more.