On Feb. 18, 2020, the NHL and IMG Arena announced a new partnership agreement that will allow sports betting operators to live stream selected out-of-market NHL games. The goal of the agreement is to get sports bettors–specifically, NHL sports bettors–more involved in NHL games that they bet on, but normally could not watch.
Since 2013, IMG Arena, a London-based company that specializes in bringing sport and the sports betting industry closer together, has successfully provided live streamed NHL games at sports betting operators across Europe. The international deal is good through 2020-21; however, the NHL is “excited about the expansion of [its] international relationship with IMG Arena into the United States.” Steve McArdle, NHL executive vice president of digital media and strategic planning, said, “The NHL has taken a progressive approach to sports betting, and this live game streaming opportunity with IMG Arena provides another innovative touchpoint for fan engagement.”
The agreement could not only increase fan engagement but also serve as a major boost to the NHL’s viewership. Currently, out of the four major U.S. sports, the NHL ranks last in television ratings. Under the new deal with IMG Arena, fans who bet on out-of-market NHL games now have the option to watch a live stream version of the game at various sports betting operations–games that were previously unwatchable unless a fan purchased rights to the game via the NHL or various streaming services.
Freddie Longe of IMG Arena said, “The NHL is a highly-valued asset in our portfolio, and we are proud to expand this successful partnership to offer one of the largest U.S. sports to our growing customer base of sportsbooks. This marks a major development in the U.S. betting rights landscape, and we look forward to driving further engagement for NHL fans.”
Other than the NHL, IMG Arena also provides different sports betting services to other sports like the Ultimate Fighting Championship, PGA Tour, and Association of Tennis Professionals Tour, Scottish Professional Football League, and many others.