Monday, August 22, 2005

New NHL TV Deal: Hitting the Mark or Fishing Without Bait??

As many of you know by now, the NHL has decided to form a new agreement with Comcast and it's Outdoor Life Network for at least two-years with $135 million in that span. The move was because of ESPN leaving the NHL saying that, "given the prolonged work stoppage and the league's TV ratings history, no financial model even remotely supports the contract terms offered." Which leaves people wondering what will happen with the OLN/NHL agreement. Will it be a blessing in disguise or will it be a continuation of the disaster as ESPN??

Well-- if you read the OLN/NHL Press Release, then it seems like something that will actually work for the fans of the NHL and make the game more enjoyable to watch. For instance, the changes that the NHL and OLN is looking at putting into the broadcast:

  • VOD (Video-On-Demand) game highlights and library footage of hockey’s greatest moments with full fast-forward, rewind and replay capability
  • HDTV game coverage in a crisper, faster-moving, more exciting game for hockey fans every week
  • Online streaming of two live games per night (subject to local blackout), broadband highlights, commentary, and library footage
  • Round-the-clock coverage on the NHL Network, to be launched in the US in the future
  • Comcast will have the ability to carry and/or syndicate additional games on Comcast’s regional sports networks where it has the consent of the local team and team’s rights holder
Looking at that alone, it looks to be that OLN is taking this new deal very seriously, calling the NHL its cornerstone for the upcoming fall season. No pressure for the NHL, huh?? Yet, even with all this new stuff coming out about the new US TV deal and how it could possibly help the game of hockey in the lower 48, there is plenty of people that are still unsure about the union.

Some in the New York area will be blacked-out from the Rangers-Flyers season opener because of the OLN Rights. MSG Network, who would regularly carry the game, is blackout because of the fact that OLN is going to show the game as it's top billing. If fans in the New York Metro area want to see the Rangers, Devils, or Islanders; they will have to shell out the extra five buck a month on digital cable to get OLN as a regular channel.

One far more pessimistic approach comes out of Toronto of all places. Bill Lankhof goes on to talk about how this new deal is not progress at all. Also criticize the way Americans think of hockey players and the game itself. What can you expect from a guy who lives in a city with a Napoleon Complex.

In the end, will this whole thing work out?? Well, it depends if OLN is very serious about doing the NHL right. Though ESPN would have been a nice fit, what has the "Excellence in Sports Performance Nightly" channel done for the NHL in the past 2 or 3 years?? ESPN treated the NHL like the red-headed stepchild of the sports spectrum. There's only so many times you can see the Red Wings take on the Avalanche before you want to shoot yourself in the head after hearing "Thornegasm" after "Thornegasm."

If OLN wants to make the NHL their cornerstone then they better stick to what their promising. They have to make sure that every bulletpoint is hit and that everything will be for the betterment of the game and not just the betterment of the network. The people will flock to OLN if they realize that the coverage is good, but if there is word out about how the coverage is equal or worse than ESPN was, then the network has gained an enemy in the eyes of the hockey public. Hockey fans are a small, but powerful group. They are vengeful, vindictive bunch that will remember every screw-job that has happened along the way.

That being said-- I think that the NHL will be a good fit on OLN and OLN will treat the NHL with the utmost professional respect. This is a union that should go a long way....just so long as neither side effs it up.

This has been ScottyWazz. Take care of yourself and someone else. PEACE!!

1 comment:

Sports Junky said...

I agree,

I love Hockey. and recently I have bought stock in it. Not like real stock on Wall street, but a stock market that is strictly for sports.

You have seen it? Its pretty cool. You buy issues for your favorite teams and you make real money. Not like a fake stock simulator. I cash out Dividends each time the team wins. Also I can sell my team stock when the price goes up.

check it out if something like this interests you.
heres a link http://allsportsmarket.com
you can log in and check it out for free..

They just released IPO'S for Hockey this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

Keep up the good work on your blog!
-Erik