NHL nets deal with Sling Media

The National Hockey League agrees to allow Slingbox users to clip and share live and recorded hockey games.

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Major League Baseball might not be a fan of Sling Media, but the National Hockey League on Wednesday announced its support of a forthcoming Sling feature called "Clip + Sling."

The NHL is the first pro sports league to make a deal with Sling. Clip + Sling is a feature that will allow Slingbox users to select clips of live or recorded television and share them with others. Though the content can only be clipped by Slingbox users, anyone can access the Web portal that will host the clips. The 2-year-old company also has a Clip + Sling licensing deal with CBS, which it first announced in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. The service is currently in private beta, and will be open for public beta later this summer, Sling said.

In a statement, the hockey league called Sling's technology "a natural fit" for its fans. It's also arguably a wise move for the NHL, which doesn't have a lucrative TV contract like those of pro baseball, football and basketball, and has been relegated to an obscure cable channel known as Versus. While the NHL does give fans the option to watch games online via its Center Ice Online feature, it doesn't seem to be as fiercely protective of its content as, say, MLB.com.