The NHL and Showtime are finalizing an all-access show on teams in the conference final and the Stanley Cup Final during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, an industry source told Puck Daddy.
The series is expected to run weekly during the last two rounds of the playoffs, and will have a similar format to HBO’s 24/7 series and EPIX’s “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” and “Road to the NHL Stadium Series.”
The league started using this type of platform and format with HBO from the 2011 Winter Classic through the 2014 Winter Classic and then moved to EPIX the last two seasons.
Showtime should help increase the NHL’s visibility amongst premium channel subscribers in the United States. It reportedly has upwards of 23 million US subscribers. EPIX has 10 million subscribers in the US but is available in 40 million homes.
This isn’t supposed to close the door with EPIX, and instead is designed to give the league another avenue to promote content on subscription networks.
Showtime has experience with other types of original programming sports shows. These include “A Season With Notre Dame Football” which documented Notre Dame’s football team during this past year, as well as “Inside the NFL” and “60 Minutes Sports.”
NHL teams tend to get secretive during the playoffs, and it’s unclear how availability will compare to prior all-access type shows. Some HBO and EPIX programming involved following players home, showing their lives away from hockey. But this should still provide a different look at hockey players during one of the highest pressure points of their season.
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