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Versus also will maintain a national game of the week, the All-Star game telecast, and other outdoor games played in Canada. Versus also will increase its number of regular-season telecasts from 50 to 90 games.

“This is the most significant U.S. media rights partnership in the league’s history,” Bettman said. “NBC Universal-Comcast is one of the most important, connected and wired media companies in the U.S., and as the potential of the NBC Sports Group is realized, the importance of our relationship will become more apparent to hockey fans and our business partners.

NBC Sports and Comcast have been fantastic partners. They have provided incredible coverage of our sport and have teamed with us to deliver the best TV viewership figures in three decades.”

Under the previous deal, overall NHL television ratings in the United States increased by 84 percent over the last four years, and this year’s Winter Classic was the most-watched regular season hockey game in the U.S. in 36 years.

Versus boasted its highest regular-season viewership this season, a 17 percent jump over last season.

With the merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, the company now consists of 20 television networks and more than 40 digital platforms. Versus has gone from 64 million homes in 2005 to more than 79 million homes.

Ebersol said the Versus name will be changed within 90 days to better reflect its association with NBC. The most attractive part of the deal from the NBC side is the exclusive nature it provides.

“This is a perfect marriage with us,” he said. “Nothing serves the NBC Sports Group better than the National Hockey League.”

The NHL said it is on pace this season to set a record for total revenue, surpassing $2.9 billion overall.