Don't Bet On Lockout
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07-09-2004, 03:09 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL
Originally Posted by
Yeah why do people keep saying the NHL is over if there's a lockout? the NHL is one of the 4 major sports in the world and wouldnt be on TV so much if it wasnt... it may lose fans for a while but I Think if the NHL reworked its schedule to stop having the playoffs happen the same time as the NBA Playoffs then people would be watching and would get more media coverage - the NHL has an opportunity to fix whatever was wrong and They need to rework the schedule.... there were NHL Playoff games on the same time as NBA Games but watching ESPN you would have thought the NHL was in exhibition because they were only talking about Basketball. ESPN is ruining the NHL - they decide for themselves what sport people watch.... do you think people would be watching Tennis if they didnt drool all over the Serena Sisters? Heck No! If ESPN drooled over players in the NHL as much as they do other sports the NHL wouldnt be in this problem... so blame them on the lockout
I think you overstate how big hockey is, and you blame ESPN for things which are not its fault. I think Tennis, Golf, and Nascar all get much higher ratings than hockey. If I'm not mistaken, Arena Football, and MLS soccer are not far behind. Hockey is a secondary, perhaps even a tertiary, sport in the United States. ESPN is doing a sensible thing for itself by minimizing hockey. If the interest isn't there, it doesn't do them any good to spotlight it. You can say that ESPN sets the trends in sports, but that's only part right. ESPN is influential, but it only has a finite capacity to show events. It's going to show the ones that are the most profitable for it. Right now, ESPN is better off showing World Series of Poker than in showing hockey.
The reason for this is that, for the last several years, hockey has not put out an especially good product, in ways that have been recounted ad nauseum. It doesn't help that when the NHL had its best product, they ditched ESPN to go to a much less popular sports channel that wasn't seen in many homes and eventually folded. Through significant parts of my childhood and early teenage years, I could not have watched an NHL hockey game at any time of the year, even if I wanted to. That was a wasted opportunity for hockey, and it was purely the NHL's fault.
In spite of itself, the NHL enjoyed a brief run of some degree of greater popularity throughout the country, but it's fading now. I don't know what will bring it back, but we shouldn't and can't rely on ESPN just being magnanimous and giving the NHL air time it hasn't earned.
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