Yahoo and the NHL have reached an agreement to stream four hockey games per week online for free for fans. The company announced the news on Thursday, saying that the streaming will start on March 11.
The partnership between the NHL and Yahoo will bring free content to fans, including live streaming of games as well as highlights, post-game coverage and "additional content" on the Yahoo Sports homepage. The partnership will allow fans who do not have a cable subscription to watch the games online.
"More and more people are finding their video experiences online, and that includes live and sports," said Adam Cahan, Yahoo's senior vice president of video.
Yahoo has already streamed a live sporting event with the NFL last year, which reportedly drew over 10 million viewers online. The company has also previously partnered with Major League Baseball to bring live games online, as well as with the PGA Tour for golf tournaments. The company said that streaming is a way to bring more viewers to each sport.
Ad Week reports that the deal will run into next season and could see increased games, depending on the success of the streams. Yahoo has also reached a deal with NBC Sports to stream two additional hockey games per week on top of the four with the NHL. The NFL is expected to continue looking at streaming games with the company. Reuters reports that the league has "opened up discussions" with Yahoo about streaming the three London NFL games during the 2016 season.
The NHL-Yahoo partnership will begin on Friday, and the package includes a "Best of the Day" and "Best of the Week" highlights package. The first game that will be streamed for Yahoo is the matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday. Yahoo and the league are already partnered in fantasy sports, as the company is the official fantasy sports partner of the NHL.
The NHL has seen increased television ratings over the past few years, including strong ratings for nationally televised games on the NBC Sports Network. The league has also found great success with its Winter Classic games each year. The latest edition of the Winter Classic was announced on Thursday with the St. Louis Blues hosting the Chicago Blackhawks in 2017 at Busch Stadium.
"This alliance brings us one step closer to providing fans a live professional sporting event every day, on Yahoo, completely frictionless and for free - no cable subscription or authentication required," said Phil Lynch, Yahoo's VP of media partnerships.