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03-19-2004, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by NJD Jester
Er...I posted it, didn't I?

Oh, I'm sorry...I didn't realize you had to play a sport to watch it on television. I guess that's why figure skating does so poorly.

As for it not being ESPN's fault...have you seen the way the NHL gets shuffled around the lineup? Or the fact that, outside of eight teams, the network hasn't built interest in the league? Or the fact that, like most of Bettman's NHL marketing, ESPN's refusal to embrace fighting and physical play in its promotion of the sport in favor of starf--king had turned fans off rather than attract them?

Let's see... "Everything that Bettman has done is in the attempt to improve the ratings." And everything he's done has failed, to the point where they are rolling back Bettman-era rules (like the space behind the net). But no one should blame the guy who got the job because he's a marketing "genius" for poorly marketing the sport.

I'm glad you don't run my business...

We agree that the myth of the casual fans has made the league make some decisions it simply should not have made.

But as for ESPN: The same marketing for 10 years; the same announcers for 10 years; the same eight teams for 10 years; hell, the same bloody theme song for 10 years. It hasn't worked, and it's not hockey's fault.
ESPN can get ratings for Poker but not for hockey. I guess that means that the put all the smart marketing people on the Poker account, and all the morons on the NHL. Of my favorite 10 commercials over the last 10 years, almost every one of them is a ESPN commercial for Hockey. They really did some great promotions IMO.

Not to be condescending, but ratings are based on fan interest. It's easier to be a fan of a sport that you played, or still play. You mention figure skating - how many heterosexual males do you know that watch figure skating?

Do you think that it's a coincidence that there has been a downward trend of NHL games on ESPN over the contract? Did you ever consider that they did the best they did to promote the game, and the ratings tanked. At that point they just decided to cut their losses and not keep throwing good money after bad.

How in the hell can you say it's not hockey's fault? ESPN catches flack here for always showing the same 6 or 8 teams. They do that because it's there only chance to get any sort of local ratings. Do you think that ratings would be better if they showed FLA-ATL games, or CAL-MON games? You almost never see small or Canadian markets on ESPN, but that is because they don't get the ratings.

Again not to be condescending, but you blame the lack of ratings on ESPN because they have the same announcers and theme music? That's like saying the shuttle blew up because it was painted white. It's the NHL's job to promote the game to it's fans. I agree that Bettman hasn't delivered on what he set out to do. I just think that his business model was based on making the NHL a major sport in the U.S., WHICH NO ONE (not the Commissioner, and certainly NOT ESPN) is going to be able to do. It's just NOT going to happen. I don't care how catchy the music is, or how many NHL games that ESPN shows, the NHL will not get TV ratings. Especially if there is a labor stoppage here in 6 months.

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