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ESPN Declines to Match OLN Bid for NHL TV Rights

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08-18-2005, 01:03 PM
  #1
Puck33
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ESPN Declines to Match OLN Bid for NHL TV Rights

http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/news/rec..._id=1001016934

ESPN has declined to match a bid by Comcast's Outdoor Life Network for the cable TV rights to air National Hockey League games under a new contract, meaning OLN, whose offer had already received approval by the NHL board of governors, will win the agreement.

ESPN announced its intention not to exercise its right to match the deal just hours before the midnight deadline. OLN bid a guaranteed $135 million for the first two years, and another $72.5 million for a third option year, according to sources. ESPN in late May had opted out of the final year of its TV rights deal ithat would have required it to pay the NHL $60 million for the right to air games the upcoming season, but retained its right to match any offer from another network.

George Bodenheimer, chairman of ESPN and ABC Sports, said, "We have informed the NHL that we did not accept their final contract offer [i.e., match the terms of the OLN offer]. We worked very hard to build and sustain our relationship with the league and would have liked to continue [televising NHL games]. However, given the prolonged work stoppage and the league's TV ratings history, no financial model even remotely supports the contract terms offered."

ESPN was not only unwilling to pay as much as OLN, but it was also not able to meet some of the provisions that OLN had agreed to with the NHL. Among them, a provision that if agreed to, would require ESPN to carry all NHL games on ESPN, which has greater distribution and ratings, and none on ESPN2. Another part of the Comcast/OLN deal would reportedly insure that if the NHL starts up an NHL Network, that Comcast would distribute that network on a digital tier on all of its systems. ESPN could not match that because it does not own cable systems.

The OLN bid, according to sources, also includes a provision that
Comcast offer NHL shoulder programming and some games On Demand to its 22 million subscribers, and would also include a broadband component, including possible video streaming of NHL games.

For competitive reasons, it was thought that ESPN had no choice but to match the offer, because gaining TV rights for the NHL would give OLN a foot in the door toward becoming a full-fledged sports programming network competitor to ESPN. OLN has also bid on the new National Football League Thursday-Saturday TV rights package. Garnering both the NHL and NFL, along with the Tour de France TV rights which it already owns, would make OLN a legitimate rival to ESPN.

ESPN representative Diane Lamb acknowledged that garnering the NHL TV rights will further OLN's presence in sports television. "[OLN] is certainly setting itself up as a potential competitor, and we welcome that competition." But Lamb added that OLN will not be the first competitor to ESPN.

"[ESPN] already faces daily competition from a number of sources," both print and television, she said.

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08-18-2005, 05:09 PM
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Mike23
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I always watched the hockey games on ESPN. So I'm stuck watching NHL on this OLN channel now? That sucks..

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08-18-2005, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike23
I always watched the hockey games on ESPN. So I'm stuck watching NHL on this OLN channel now? That sucks..
With any luck, Gary Thorne will be on OLN.

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08-18-2005, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarOutCrops
With any luck, Gary Thorne will be on OLN.


Good gawd NO! i can deal without the neckless troll plus hes a wings homer.

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08-18-2005, 05:31 PM
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Channel 73 on Comcast folks.

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08-18-2005, 05:35 PM
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this is great actually , ESPN did not care about hockey and OLN will and they will show more games and off ice , before/after game stuff !!

the TO/Steroid channel can lick em

ESPN will want them back sooner or later

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08-18-2005, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by avalanche_country
this is great actually , ESPN did not care about hockey and OLN will and they will show more games and off ice , before/after game stuff !!
OLN should certainly be able to show a ton of games. Their ratings might dip in the south if it knocks off Squirrel Huntin' Monthly, though.

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08-18-2005, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FarOutCrops
OLN should certainly be able to show a ton of games. Their ratings might dip in the south if it knocks off Squirrel Huntin' Monthly, though.
The NHL should be in good shape if Clem, Hold 'er Down While I go Get a Gun is the lead in.

After seeing the first year of Tittude, I'm worring this will be another Bas Fishin' ameture network.

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08-18-2005, 06:24 PM
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Mr. Avalanche
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarOutCrops
With any luck, Gary Thorne will be on OLN.
You go to hell, you go to hell and you die

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08-18-2005, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Avalanche
You go to hell, you go to hell and you die
That's a little extreme. Also, I think for him to actually get to hell, he has to die first.

Yeah Gary Thorne is a knob and he does love the wings...

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08-19-2005, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Avalanche
You go to hell, you go to hell and you die
You go to...Minnesota?

http://www.twincities.com/mld/pionee...s/12420292.htm

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08-19-2005, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Bender
That's a little extreme. Also, I think for him to actually get to hell, he has to die first.

Yeah Gary Thorne is a knob and he does love the wings...
Detroit is a passable substitute for hell though.

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08-19-2005, 05:50 PM
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I take it no one is a fan of South Park

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08-19-2005, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Avalanche
I take it no one is a fan of South Park
I think my last name came up in the Michael Jackson episode (ONE OF THE COPS) 99.9% I heard wrong or it's a coinsidence, however since I went to school in Littleton I have to wonder.

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08-19-2005, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Avalanche
I take it no one is a fan of South Park
I am, Mr. Garrison. That quote still makes me laugh even though it's been a few years.

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08-19-2005, 06:04 PM
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Sweet, ESPN now has more time for womens basketball and curling....

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