The Lockout Thread UPD 1/6 - framework of new CBA agreed to
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10-05-2012, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Jose
Originally Posted by
SBJ had the ESPN offer at higher than 120m (regardless it was an informal offer either way, i'm sure it was a ballpark figure regardless) and I'll argue that the exposure from ESPN is worth far more than the difference.
Yes, ESPN only guaranteed 1 Reg Season game, therefore "minimizing" it in importance mainly because NHL Reg season overlaps NFL/CFB coverage. NBC got the offer because it offered "feature" hockey.
Well it's featured Hockey games on VS gets outdrawn by HS Football game of the week on ESPN2 (same network that NHL Reg Season games would've been on.) I'm sure ESPN would be more accommodating to showing NHL highlights if it had a stake in the NHL. Those human interest storiy, 10-15min specials, are great for the casual fan interest. Instead Hockey is froze out on ESPN coverage and gets the bare minimum.
I don't think it's inaccurate to say the NHL did so because it thought higher of itself and it's growth than what the fact showed. They didn't even return a counter offer to ESPN. If they pushed I'm sure a deal would've been reachable, or at least ESPN would've been leverage for a better deal from NBC, or Fox or whomever. I don't blame ESPN for making the offer it made, it had all the leverage in the world. Despite that, the NHL should've stayed at the negotiating table, and see what they could've gotten.
For the casual fan who is not watching the NHL yet, ESPN would've been perfect as a interest catalyst. Those are the fans the NHL needs to get. It's great to be able to provide better service/product for fans you already have, but you need to draw new ones too. NHL is terrible on multiple fronts at drawing and keeping newer people to hockey. It's cult like status within the hardcore fanbase/media doesn't help ease new fans as well. Hockey media seems to have this chip on their should for whenever hockey is slighted (or they feel it's been slighted) or whenever hockey isn't heralded like they feel it should be. No other major sports media have that littleman syndrome going. Not exactly the most welcoming environment. This is one area that I think ESPN does wonders with: the casual fan. Their catering to the casual fans tends to turn off more hardcore viewers from their highlight shows/talk shows, but meh, it works for the network as a whole.
If an institution is in trouble fiscally it has two options: grow your revenue base, and/or cut costs. I stand that ESPN was a better option at the former than NBC was, despite the money upfront.
ESPN was underbidding on the NHL. I am also sure that ESPN/ABC placed a bid against the last NBC/VS contract in the last round of negotiations. Bettman has set up an environment sans lockout that is conducive to getting that big national TV $. It is an issue of time frame. The NHL was dramatically behind the eightball regards TV when he came on board almost two decades ago. They are catching up. He is using capitalism at its finest to create a competitive bidding environment for TV money.
FTR, ESPN has been notoriously cheap when they are not competing for services. It shows in their non-prime programming. It also tends to show in their broadcast talent.
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