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Rangers’ NHL Opener Is First of 11 Games on NBC Sports Group

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The New York Rangers’ Oct. 12 season opener at the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings is among 11 Rangers games scheduled to be televised during the National Hockey League season by the NBC Sports Group.

The start of the season, however, is in jeopardy with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire Sept. 15. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said last month that owners won’t operate the 2012-13 season without a new contract.

Comcast Corp.’s NBC and NBC Sports Network are entering the second season of a $2 billion, 10-year agreement with the NHL, the largest media rights deal in league history. It would be the eighth consecutive season the networks have shown NHL games nationally in the U.S., with the NBC Sports Group scheduled to telecast more than 100 games during the season.

NBC Sports Network will show the Rangers’ home game against the Washington Capitals on Nov. 14, while NBC will televise the NHL Thanksgiving Showdown between New York and Boston on Nov. 23.

How to split an estimated $3.2 billion in league revenue is at the center of talks between the league and the NHL Players’ Association.

The union canceled yesterday’s talks to draft a response to the league’s latest proposal. A meeting is scheduled this morning at the NHL’s New York offices.

The league’s latest proposal increases the amount paid to players by $460 million over six years, according to the league’s website. Terms include fixed payments during the first three years, with players and owners splitting revenue 50-50 from the fourth year.

“Both parties are committed -- if there are reasons to meet and continue to move forward -- to meet as often as it takes to get a deal done,” Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said yesterday. “But obviously every day that goes by it’s less and less likely that we’ll be able to come to closure on all of the issues.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Nancy Kercheval in Washington at nkercheval@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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