BEIJING — The National Hockey League has struck a long-term deal with All Sports Network, an Asian regional channel being launched by Hong Kong-based Yes TV.   

ASN will carry hockey from the start of the 2008-09 season and the deal also gives Yes TV and ASN rights in all TV formats throughout most of Asia including China and the Indian sub-continent, but excluding Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Korean distribution of NHL games through ASN will begin during the second year of the deal.

“We are very pleased with the growing number of partners broadcasting ASN, especially in China with our distribution and equity partner XFMedia,” Yes TV CEO Thomas Kressner said. “Ice hockey is quite popular in the northern parts of China and its popularity is growing.”

Yes TV operates soccer network GoalTV and two specialized channels dedicated to British clubs Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, Spain’s Barcelona and Germany’s Bayern Munich.

It also holds exclusive broadcasting rights for the NFL via TV, mobile and broadband simulcast across multiple Asian territories. 

In its first season, ASN will carry 130 NHL regular-season games, the NHL All-Star game, NHL Stanley Cup playoffs and final, as well as NHL highlight programs.