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01-02-2011, 10:16 AM
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A Fistful of Dollars
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Just scouring Kuklas site and there is an article by Larry Brooks on the subject at hand:

And how many of these decisions will the league have to cede to the U.S. television network that gets its rights in the postseason negotiations?

All those devoted hockey fans out there who have been clamoring for the NHL to strengthen its television presence should understand this without confusion — the greater the rights fees, the greater control a network assumes over a league.

The partnership between a television network and a pro sports league is very much like the one the NHL claims to have with the NHLPA, except that the league would be the position of the union, which means limited partnership.

There are no more iconic ballparks for the NHL to winterize. Every marquee U.S. team except the Rangers already has been in the event, the Penguins now twice. If this event is about promoting attention and generating ratings, it is about big-time teams, big-name players, and big markets.

It is not about an egalitarian approach to satisfy the small markets and the southern tier. That’s what the salary cap is for.

The Lakers play on Christmas every year, and no one (other than Phil Jackson) seems to have much trouble with that, so it’s reasonable to believe the league and its network — there is an assumption that NBC will retain the rights — will ride the Penguins as often as possible. Maybe next year, Pittsburgh will play in the event for the third time in five years and face Detroit in its second appearance.

There can’t be a game at Yankee Stadium because of the Pinstripe Bowl, and there won’t be a game at Citi Field. Let’s face it, it’s just not a sexy enough venue. Beyond that, even with the bitter fallout of the Ilya Kovalchuk affair, it is difficult to imagine the NHL having the Rangers as the home team at the Meadowlands while the Devils twiddle their thumbs.

If the event is about gate receipts, it won’t be coming to New York for some time. But if it’s as much about finding the perfect backdrop for television, if it is about the setting as much as it is about marquee teams, then Central Park would be the perfect venue.

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