NHL to stay on NBC

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NEW YORK -- The National Hockey League will remain on NBC.

NBC's two-year revenue-sharing deal with the NHL has been extended another year through the 2008-09 season, the companies said Wednesday. It follows another one-year extension that was announced in 2007.

The deal includes NBC's "Game of the Week" and its flexible scheduling that allows it to pick the best match-up, including three games on Sundays. It also carries the Stanley Cup finals.

The NHL has had tough skating since NBC Sports snagged the broadcast TV portion of its rights deal in 2004. The sport suffered a lockout that iced a season then suffered low ratings on NBC and Versus, which took over the cable deal from ESPN.

But recently, ratings have been showing some signs of life. Regular-season household ratings rose 11% during this year's regular season and men 18-49 ratings were up 33%, according to Nielsen Media Research.

NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said in a statement that advertising sales were good this season as well.

"We believe this is a sport that will continue to grow," Ebersol said.
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