The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced a new TV rights deal with Chinese broadcaster CCTV.
CCTV’s dedicated sports channel CCTV5 will broadcast 119 games from the NHL’s 2014/15 regular season.
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper mentioned the new agreement during an official visit to China earlier this week, as twenty of the matches will involve Canadian franchise the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“Modern hockey is something that Canadians not only invented but developed as a sport as a reflection of our values and of our country” said Harper.
“We’ve never had a proprietary view of it. We have always encouraged the spread of the sport in all countries.”
According to Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s chief commercial officer, Dave Hopkinson, the Maple Leafs’ ties in China have produced more than CAN$2.5 million in sponsorship deals.