As the 2021-22 season for the New Jersey Devils is less than a month away from starting, more information has come out with respect to the season as a whole. Specifically, broadcast information. This is the first season under the National Hockey League’s new broadcasting deals with Disney (ABC, ESPN) and Turner (TNT). Today, both media companies released their schedules for the upcoming season for the games that they will exclusively broadcast. The Devils will have nine games between both networks: eight for ESPN+ and one on TNT.
The ESPN PR department sent out an email listing their schedule of games to be aired on ESPN+/Hulu, ESPN, and ABC. The Devils have no games scheduled for the TV channels; it is just ESPN+/Hulu for them. Of upmost importance is that they are exclusive to ESPN+ and Hulu. I take this to mean that there will be no local broadcast for those eight games. So if you want to see them, then you better have ESPN+ and Hulu, you need to go get it by November, or you will miss out. Here are the eight games:
- November 2 - Devils at Anaheim, 10:30 PM ET
- November 5 - Devils at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM ET
- November 9 - Devils vs. Florida, 7 PM ET
- November 26 - Devils at Nashville, 6 PM ET
- November 30 - Devils vs. San Jose, 7 PM ET
- December 10 - Devils vs. Nashville, 7:30 PM ET
- January 25 - Devils vs. Dallas, 7 PM ET
- March 1 - Devils at Columbus, 7 PM ET
The majority of these games out of the division (7 out of 8). Curiously, it has two-thirds of the Devils’ trip through California and both games against the John Hynes-coached Predators. Your mileage may vary in terms of how this impacts you. With four of these being home games, you may not care much about the broadcast for a couple of these. If you are out of market or can not/do not want to go games at the Rock, then you may. Disney wants people to get ESPN+ and Hulu and sports is a common way of getting customers as it has been for cable providers. This is their play.
The one game on TNT is on April 3, a 4 PM ET game at The Rock between the Islanders and the Devils. TNT is typically on basic cable packages in the U.S. so access should be easy enough. It is effectively the team’s only nationally televised game in the regular season unless you want to argue ESPN+ and Hulu are national (global?) by way of potential reach.
All the other 73 regular season games are planned to be on the MSG broadcast networks as has been for decades now. If this changes, then I will note them.
Related to ESPN, their push into hockey has been in more earnest. Today was the league’s media day and so began the media tour. John Buccigross spent the day interviewing NHL players and the first one he did was with The Big Deal, Jack Hughes.
Interviewing a bunch of NHL players today. Jack Hughes was first. GREAT personality..natural performer..great energy and instantly likeable..X Game athlete vibe…NHL should push/promote him forward Hard…— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) September 16, 2021
Uh, Buccigross, isn’t pushing and promoting players the media’s job? Such as the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network a.k.a. ESPN? The league / team / player provides access and the media provides the publicity. You’re the media! That criticism aside, look for an interview with Hughes to come out in the future. That he was interviewed (and interviewed first) and has been a part of the NHL’s Media Day is yet another reason why Jack Hughes is The Big Deal. Now marvel at his luscious hair.
In any case, it looks like this news means that if you want to see all 82 games of the Devils’ regular season, then you will need ESPN+ and Hulu on top of TNT and MSG’s networks (MSG, MSG+, MSG+2, MSG 2). I know I will. What do you think of these broadcasting announcements? Are you pleased about the nine games being on ESPN+ and TNT? If you do not have ESPN+ and Hulu, then would this make you get it? Will the Devils get more of these games on these two networks if they are better in the future? Please leave your answers in the comments. Thank you for reading.