News broke yesterday that the Golden Knights will be featured a dozen times on ESPN and Turner Sports this upcoming season. With the new television partnership in place, the two networks are leaning heavily on Vegas to help kick off their first season broadcasting the NHL.
VGK on ESPN/TNT/HULU
Tue. Oct. 12 vs. Seattle 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Wed. Oct. 20 vs. St. Louis 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
Tue. Oct. 26 at Colorado 5:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Tue. Nov. 9 vs. Seattle 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Fri. Dec. 3 at Arizona 6:30 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Wed. Dec. 8 vs. Dallas 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
Tue. Feb. 1 vs. Buffalo 7:00 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Thu. March 3 vs. Boston 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Thu. March 17 vs. Florida 7:30 p.m. (ESPN+/Hulu)
Sat. March 26 vs. Chicago 12:00 p.m. (ABC)
Wed. March 30 at Seattle 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
Wed. April 6 vs. Vancouver 7:00 p.m. (TNT)
One major complaint about NBC’s hockey coverage was their lack of diversity. The network tended to schedule more games with the league’s more established franchises and most likely from the eastern time zone, with the exception of the Chicago Blackhawks. However, as new media outlets take over, Vegas was identified as a perfect team to present to a potentially new audience. The Golden Knights are a Stanley Cup contender with a loaded roster, and they so happen to play in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s enough intrigue for sports fans unfamiliar with the NHL.
Turner Sports have become the standard in NBA broadcasting having been able to successfully keep an audience for an entire double-header. It’ll be tough to mimic the chemistry and content TNT developed around basketball but they’ll try with familiar faces that are well aware of the Golden Knights roster. Also, Turner split their games up evenly across the league. Vegas will appear four times on TNT in 2021-22, facing off against St. Louis, Dallas, Seattle, and Vancouver. Add in the other eight games on ESPN and the 31st franchise will be given plenty of exposure to the rest of the hockey landscape.
As for the eight contests on ESPN, the Golden Knights will greatly benefit from Worldwide Leader’s global audience. Vegas brings its own unique elements that may even help break in the network known more for dumping hockey rather than covering hockey. Although, ESPN will bring some Vegas flair with their infamously elegant hockey analyst Barry Melrose. The partnership between the entertainment network and a highly competitive team like Vegas should be more than enough for viewers.
Vegas has quickly become a premier NHL team in terms of demand and success, enough to feature 12 times nationally. Of course, fans will get their fill of eastern located games but clearly, the new television partners want to present fresher and more successful teams than the standards of the past decade. As the Golden Knights continue to pile up wins and postseason appearances expect their national television schedule to grow. Hopefully, the networks won’t fall back to the old habits and broadcast the big named organization. It should be reserved for teams like Vegas that will put on a winning show.