According to multiple online reports, the NHL and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have failed to come to an agreement on an expanded media rights for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China. It remains to be seen how this affects the NHL's participation in the upcoming games.
Officially the IOC denied the NHL "Top Sponsor Status", something that the NHL has been seeking for over a decade now. The designation would have allowed the NHL to use its website, social media channels and NHL Network to broadcast highlights from the Game, but evidently the IOC wasn't thrilled with that idea. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, but I'm willing to bet that greed is playing a large part in the decision.
From ESPN NHL insider Frank Seravalli:
In its new collective bargaining agreement, the NHL agreed to let players participate in the 2022 Beijing Games and 2026 Milan Games contingent on securing agreements with the IOC and IIHF. The 2021-22 regular-season schedule was released with an Olympic break from Feb. 7-22. Talks remain ongoing between the NHL, NHLPA, IIHF and IOC. While no final agreement is imminent, there has been positive momentum toward a resolution for several weeks.
The NHL also did not make many inroads in getting its advertising and logos into the Games. The IOC had held firm on all of these marketing rights, fearing that other professional leagues will make the same requests for their athletes at the Olympics.
According to one source, the NHL lost leverage in these matters when it left NBC, which airs the Winter Olympics, in its new rightsholder deal with ESPN and Turner Sports.
Honestly, how awful is the IOC?
To me, they don't seem to be too interested in growing the sport so long as it doesn't affect their bottom line. They're going to put an inferior product out on the ice and they'll laugh all the way to the bank given that the host city and sponsors have already handed over the check. All they had to do was throw the NHL a bone and let them put highlights on their website, but they can't even do that? Shameless.
Source: ESPN · Photo Credit: Zuma Press