The NHL is picking up some needed cash after a pandemic-impacted 2021 season.
The National Hockey League is reportedly selling its 10 percent stake in Disney Streaming Services for $350 million.
The NHL reportedly lost an estimated $3.6 billion in revenue last season due because of limited game attendance across the league and a shortened schedule. In January, Commissioner Gary Bettman told the media the league would have actually saved money if games were canceled.
Because of those losses, the league is exercising an option in its contract with Disney that triggered a sale of the stake on Aug. 3. The deal, initially reported by The Hollywood Reporter, is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.
The NHL’s stake was in the streaming technology company originally created by Major League Baseball, known as “BAMTech.” MLB established BAMTech in 2015 — with the NHL as a minority investor — to be the technology company behind MLB.tv and NHL.tv. BAMTech also took over management of the NHL’s website and overhauled its stats reporting.
Disney bought a 33 percent stake in BAMTech 2016; the company subsequently increased its stake to 75 percent in 2017 for $1.58 billion.
MLB still owns a 15 percent stake in what is now known as Disney Streaming Services. MLB has a similar option that it could exercise in September 2022. According to reports, Disney has valued MLB’s stake at $752 million.
The good news for MLB owners is, if the league does exercise its option, that cash influx would come after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place (in theory). The current CBA between MLB and the MLBPA expires at the end of the 2021 season.