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Relationship between NHL and ESPN ends (all OLN discussions)

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Old
08-18-2005, 09:54 AM
  #26
zestystrat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Son of Steinbrenner
Great move by Bettman. We all thought a tv contract was dead during the lockout but the league ended up with a BETTER deal.
I'm not sure how doing a deal with a cable station that has 64 million subscribers (26 million subscribers less then ESPN) is a better deal then working with ESPN/ABC.

With the new CBA "cost certainty” was “achieved” if you believe the spin. Therefore Bettman’s main concern, post-lockout, should have been: “What is the best way to grow the NHL.”

Getting a few extra million dollars doesn’t really help the league big picture-wise, but losing 26 million households does hurt the league over the next few years. It handicaps its growth.

While a repurposed “OLN sport” grows it’s network on the back of the NHL, it confirms to the public (imo) that pro Hockey is on the same level as pro Soccer and not MLB/NBA/NFL or even the PGA. Meanwhile the NHL on OLN will reach 26 million households less then it did when it was on ESPN (not to mention the ABC aspect of the deal).

With a year off one would think that Bettman’s would want to grow the sport and it helps to do that with the biggest potential audience.

The only good aspect of the deal is that (according to the NYT article) “OLN's deal mandates that Comcast carry the NHL Network, which is now only available in Canada, on its digital sports tier.” Which is good news only if you have Comcast cable and want to pony up the cash to get the digital sports tier.

This is a great deal for Comcast & OLN, but a bad one for the NHL.


I cut and pasted some of my comments from the other two threads on this subject.

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08-18-2005, 09:56 AM
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighlyRegardedRookie
Now it's on a network where it is the centerpiece of their programming.
Is it? Ironically, it was ESPN that basically made the annoucement that OLN had the exclusive broadcast rights. As of yet, OLN hasn't even issued a press release. You can't even find a blurb about it on their website: www.olntv.com Is this the kind of promotion the NHL was looking for?

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08-18-2005, 09:59 AM
  #28
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Hockey got plenty of air time...

on ESPN, bnad more importantly, was available in many households. Broadcasting two games per week doesn't seem to be much more than previously at ESPN. It'll take a while to re-brand and create an identity for the NHL on a new network. Us die-hards complain about ESPN - but many are used to it, the format, etc. Change is often good, but as Highly points out...it's $10 more...while that seems to not be much, you're not going to get any casual fan to pony-up to watch hockey. It'll be like hockey's available to a small club. It's not the way to re-market a league that missed an entire season.

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08-18-2005, 10:12 AM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
on ESPN, bnad more importantly, was available in many households. Broadcasting two games per week doesn't seem to be much more than previously at ESPN. It'll take a while to re-brand and create an identity for the NHL on a new network. Us die-hards complain about ESPN - but many are used to it, the format, etc. Change is often good, but as Highly points out...it's $10 more...while that seems to not be much, you're not going to get any casual fan to pony-up to watch hockey. It'll be like hockey's available to a small club. It's not the way to re-market a league that missed an entire season.
Right. NHL tonight, draft coverage etc all helps to (at the very least) grow awareness of the sport.

I wonder if NHL tonight will still be on ESPN. Hmmm less Melrose...maybe I like this deal. It's a tough call.

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08-18-2005, 10:13 AM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue
This is NOT good news. The only people that are making out here are the owners, as they are the only ones profiting from this. This is a MAJOR setback for the league. After taking a whole year off, not to have a major network television contract is an utter disaster. I'm not going to go into the viewership reasons, as they issues with OLN is already documented above. But, one CANNOT just turn a blind eye to this and think that every thing is just peaches and cream. The NHL has a very small fanbase to begin with. It gets destroyed in ratings by things like poker and bowling. Not to have a major national outlet is a disaster. I'm sure that Bettman's spin machine will be out in full force. But all that has happened here is that the owners made money. That's it.
Not being able to market your sport on a major network is not too good.
A post like this is understandable.. the wide set panic is setting in... This reminds me of the time before TSN here was the only thing around until our version of comcast (rogers) bought their own channel. People said they couldn't compete and what not but guess what... They turned that joke of a network into some very credible. If I were you i'd be welcoming another sports network, we've got 3 here and they all produce very good sports coverage and don't leave any sports fans out because they are so afraid to lose viewers. Neck and Neck makes for a good product for us. At first all the leagues were with TSN, but then as sportsnet came around leagues started broadcasting games on both TSN and Sportsnet. ESPN is soooooo crappy and to think when I was younger I wanted ESPN here. No sport should be given more amount of time unless something very big is going on with that sport i.e Stanley cup, World Series, Super Bowl. ESPN gives way to much coverage to pre-madonnas just because that network likes to stir the pot more than anything. Shouldn't it be about sports??? ESPN owns 20 % of TSN and now they throw their shows like PTI and poker on once in awhile, but what the good thing is we have two other sports channels to flip through while you guys don't(Espn 2, 3, 4,5 ,8 don't count). The worst thing about ESPN is how they have americans in their clutches. The bottom line is that you guys need another national sports empire and you need to give a channel some time because they don't come together overnight.

/end rant

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08-18-2005, 10:15 AM
  #31
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OLN will be great for the game

I don't understand why the NHL moving to OLN is such a bad move. Comcast is the largest cable provider and OLN is currently available to 64 million viewers. When the game outgrows those 64 million people than we will worry about a national game. Hockey is a localize sport and is available in it's hometown everywhere for free (except Chicago). Every fanatic who is away from there local teams (like myself) will order "Center Ice".

Rumour has it that Comcast will develope a "NHL" channel much like "The NFL Network" and "The Golf Channel". I know this isn't a great example but i'll give it a try. Have you ever tried to watch Golf coverage on ESPN or ESPN2 and received a 5 minute blurb on Sportscenter and the nothing. When you go to the golf channel you get an entire hour of post round coverage along with a whole golf news "SportsCenter" type of show. I'd much rather has a specialized channel like that instead of a measily 5-10 minute blub on ESPN.

That's just my take on this.

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08-18-2005, 10:19 AM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
on ESPN, bnad more importantly, was available in many households. Broadcasting two games per week doesn't seem to be much more than previously at ESPN. It'll take a while to re-brand and create an identity for the NHL on a new network. Us die-hards complain about ESPN - but many are used to it, the format, etc. Change is often good, but as Highly points out...it's $10 more...while that seems to not be much, you're not going to get any casual fan to pony-up to watch hockey. It'll be like hockey's available to a small club. It's not the way to re-market a league that missed an entire season.
Here's another way not to market the league: Sign with a cable network who's wildly popular shows - PTI and Around the Horn - continually treat hockey as a JOKE. With the possible exception of Jay Mariotti, no one on either of those shows has ever directly or ably answered a hockey-related question. They laugh off the NHL, sending the message of "let's move on and talk about real sports." Between that and the mediocre game broadcasts, ESPN was toxic to the NHL, and the fact that 26 million or so fewer people will be exposed to ESPN's poison actually helps the league because that's 26 million fewer people being *turned away* from the game. OLN is a clean, albeit smaller, slate; it's time for the NHL to utilize it.

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08-18-2005, 10:21 AM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrose_Jr.
Is it? Ironically, it was ESPN that basically made the annoucement that OLN had the exclusive broadcast rights. As of yet, OLN hasn't even issued a press release. You can't even find a blurb about it on their website: www.olntv.com Is this the kind of promotion the NHL was looking for?
Washington D.C. (August 9, 2005) -- Comcast has signed a two-year, $100 million deal to carry the National Hockey League, starting this fall, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today. The contract, the newspaper says, calls for Comcast to carry an "undetermined" number of games in High-Definition TV.

The agreement, which would include two NHL broadcasts a week, must still be approved by the NHL's Board of Governors. If approved, The Inquirer says Comcast will show the games on The Outdoor Life Network.

NHL officials have expressed strong interest in having the league broadcast in HDTV. League executives believe that the crystal-clear picture will make it easier for fans to follow the action. The Inquirer quotes a TV consultant as saying that the NHL is excited about the Comcast deal because of its HDTV and Video on Demand capabilities.

The NHL earlier signed an agreement with NBC for seven regular season games and several playoff games in the 2005-2006 season.

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08-18-2005, 10:23 AM
  #34
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phishman read my post above about the NHL Network

Gotta Jibboo.....

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08-18-2005, 10:30 AM
  #35
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phishman, that appears to be an AP reports or something.

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08-18-2005, 10:32 AM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zestystrat
phishman read my post above about the NHL Network

Gotta Jibboo.....
I think there is a major movement in the US and Comcast is at the heart of it. Everything is moving from a broad coverage aspect (ESPN and Sports Center) to a very specialized aspect. There already is an "NFL Network", "Golf Channel" and a "TechTV channel" and they are all offered with VOD.

Just like the news did in the early-ninties; where is broadcast news today? ESPN will die away just like "The Evening News" and we will all watch whatever Sport we would like on it's specialized channel. If you happen to missing a game or recap show then you can check it out with VOD.

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08-18-2005, 10:33 AM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrose_Jr.
phishman, that appears to be an AP reports or something.
That actually wasn't in responce to your post; i'm having a rough day posting.

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08-18-2005, 10:54 AM
  #38
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Treated as a joke?

while we all joke about hockey's coverage (and as I mentioned previously, by and large hockey coverage (i.e., analysts and play-by-play and other hockey-related shows) is pretty week, anyways) - it still reaches the highest amount of households on ESPN. Even with the best telecasters, and best guys on ESPN2Nite, viewership would likely not increase (in other words, if it was treated as less of a joke). While reaching 24 million less households (thanks Zesty), or perhaps even less because it needs to be on a digital network. And great..it's on HDTV, which reaches how many households? I get HDTV, which consists of limited programming, and likely wouldn't include OLN.

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08-18-2005, 10:56 AM
  #39
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Hockey should be on ESPN 8, the Ocho.

I hope you guys get that and don't show your ages.

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08-18-2005, 11:11 AM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phishman3579
I think there is a major movement in the US and Comcast is at the heart of it. Everything is moving from a broad coverage aspect (ESPN and Sports Center) to a very specialized aspect. There already is an "NFL Network", "Golf Channel" and a "TechTV channel" and they are all offered with VOD.

Just like the news did in the early-ninties; where is broadcast news today? ESPN will die away just like "The Evening News" and we will all watch whatever Sport we would like on it's specialized channel. If you happen to missing a game or recap show then you can check it out with VOD.
Narrowcasting is an old trend. It started with the rise in cable, and continues with room on the dial that digital cable & satellite TV provides. It’s similar to the magazine business. There are a lot of real specialized & specific magazines, but for the most part they only appeal to a limited fan base. The biggest mags are still the general-purpose mags ie Sports Ill, People, Time etc.

The same goes for TV. While the NHL Network is great for most of the peeps on this board, it will have a small viewership and be niche market and therefore will have a small subscriber base. General entertainment or general sports nets like ESPN, USA, TNT etc all do better then the niche nets. In fact OLN’s move here with the NHL is a move to be LESS of a niche net and more of a general sports net. I think the trend is to move more in that direction not the other way. There is more money in being all things to all people (ie general).

I do agree that VOD is the something to look out for. But we know that if ESPN were looking to get into that business, there would be a line of cable operators that would want to get into bed with them. The point is that VOD does nothing for the casual hockey fan, and that is who the NHL should be concerned about - The sports fan that automatically tunes to ESPN when they turn on the TV. If they happen to catch a game and get turned onto the sport then mission accomplished!

The bottom line for me is the more households any hockey coverage has, that translates to more potential new hockey fans.

BTW I’m pretty sure the Ocho has more viewers then OLN.

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08-18-2005, 11:19 AM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrose_Jr.
Bad news for those without OLN, which seems like most of us. If I recall, Center Ice doesn't carry any playoff games.

Time Warner has OLN on channel 122.

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08-18-2005, 11:30 AM
  #42
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was just going to say that same thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by JOrtmeyer41
Time Warner has OLN on channel 122.
but without the actual channel number.

As soon as I heard that OLN was going to get the NHL I checked to make sure.

But it's only 78 games. I'd be content to watch the 200+ games I get between the Rangers Devils and Islanders.

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08-18-2005, 11:31 AM
  #43
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Great channel

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Prescription
Hockey should be on ESPN 8, the Ocho.

I hope you guys get that and don't show your ages.

"The OCHO"

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08-18-2005, 11:32 AM
  #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phishman3579
I think there is a major movement in the US and Comcast is at the heart of it. Everything is moving from a broad coverage aspect (ESPN and Sports Center) to a very specialized aspect. There already is an "NFL Network", "Golf Channel" and a "TechTV channel" and they are all offered with VOD.
The ironic thing is that when ESPN first aired, it was considered very specialized. It was an all-sports channel. No such thing existed. When my parents first got cable, we got only 13 channels, and ESPN was one of them. We thought the idea of an all-sports channel was great. We got to watch surfing, and shuffleboard, and darts, and all sorts of great things like that.

Now, an "all-sports" channel is considered be too general. How 'bout that?

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08-18-2005, 11:34 AM
  #45
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Originally Posted by nrf83
When I read this thread 2 thoughts immediately hit me. 1) If we had Crosby, 40% of our games would be OLN and we couldn't watch them(still would kill for Sidney), 2) get set to watch Pitt at least 40% of games.
Or the Flyers since Comcast owns them!

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08-18-2005, 12:01 PM
  #46
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I dont think this is the end of the world here.

And to think we ALMOST made it a whole week without going all to pieces and crying about something.

{sigh} back to the drawing board.

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08-18-2005, 12:05 PM
  #47
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i'm very happy about this. now we'll probably be able to watch NHL games in HD on a regular basis on the INHD channels (721/722 on TWC in manhattan) just like they are currently doing with MLB games 3 times a week. screw ESPN and their crappy coverage. they aired NHL tonight for what, 2 months...and during a horrible time slot. it's a joke they actually have 2 HD channels when they hardly ever show anything in HD. i'm glad hockey broadcasts will finally be aired by a network that will actually promote the sport rather than making it take a back seat to everthing else. good job NHL!

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08-18-2005, 12:12 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by DrHockey
A post like this is understandable.. the wide set panic is setting in...
This is not widespread panic. This is reality. In no universe does it actually "help" that ESPN is refusing to air your sport. After becoming the only sport in North American history to cancel an entire season, this upcoming year should be all about exposure. As much of it as possible. Not having your sport shown on one of the biggest cable channels in the world is not a good thing.

"If I were you i'd be welcoming another sports network"

Welcoming in one is one thing, having to pay for it is another. The pro-Bettman crowd seems to trot out the "casual" fan argument to suit their needs. First they say that hockey has no casual fan, then they say that hockey does indeed have one and the new NHL will roll out the welcome mat for them. Here's the thing. The so-called casual fan WILL NOT pay to have an extra channel that will air the NHL. Not even all the die-hards will. I, for instance, am ticked off enough that I will not give one penny to the NHL this year until I see some serious tukkhas kissing. And, as of now, I have not felt the love.

"ESPN gives way to much coverage to pre-madonnas just because that network likes to stir the pot more than anything. Shouldn't it be about sports???"

Say what you want, but to deny that ESPN gives millions of households access to sport is ridiculous. Like it or not, ESPN has become the benchmark for sports channels. To deny that is to deny reality. If ESPN is not showing your sport, then your sport is "minor-league" status. As I said before, this year has to be about exposure, and what gives more exposure to more households, then the premier sports channel in the world?

"and now they throw their shows like PTI and poker on once in awhile"

Poker is shown more than once in a while. Why show poker and PTI? Becuase they mean ratings. What does it tell you when poker and bowling are blowing the NHL away in ratings? It tells me that people are not interested in the sport. And having to pay to get the friggin' OLN network so that I can watch natinal coverage of hockey is not a way to get more exposure so that the sport can grow.

"The bottom line is that you guys need another national sports empire and you need to give a channel some time because they don't come together overnight. "

Taking on ESPN is like Grenada declaring war on the U.S.

"I don't understand why the NHL moving to OLN is such a bad move."

Because the viewership of the league is being greatly shrunk.

"Every fanatic who is away from there local teams (like myself) will order "Center Ice"."

That's a blanket statement. Not every fan will. I know plenty that will not. Some just do not want to pay the $$$.

"They laugh off the NHL, sending the message of "let's move on and talk about real sports." "

What else would you call a league that, despite miniscule ratings, canceled an entire friggin' season?

"ESPN was toxic to the NHL, and the fact that 26 million or so fewer people will be exposed to ESPN's poison actually helps the league "

Now, I've seen everything. So less viewership is actually good for the sport?

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08-18-2005, 12:18 PM
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge
And to think we ALMOST made it a whole week without going all to pieces and crying about something
Spoken like someone who's cable operator carries OLN.

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08-18-2005, 12:23 PM
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by True Blue
This is not widespread panic. This is reality. In no universe does it actually "help" that ESPN is refusing to air your sport. After becoming the only sport in North American history to cancel an entire season, this upcoming year should be all about exposure. As much of it as possible. Not having your sport shown on one of the biggest cable channels in the world is not a good thing.

"If I were you i'd be welcoming another sports network"

Welcoming in one is one thing, having to pay for it is another. The pro-Bettman crowd seems to trot out the "casual" fan argument to suit their needs. First they say that hockey has no casual fan, then they say that hockey does indeed have one and the new NHL will roll out the welcome mat for them. Here's the thing. The so-called casual fan WILL NOT pay to have an extra channel that will air the NHL. Not even all the die-hards will. I, for instance, am ticked off enough that I will not give one penny to the NHL this year until I see some serious tukkhas kissing. And, as of now, I have not felt the love.

"ESPN gives way to much coverage to pre-madonnas just because that network likes to stir the pot more than anything. Shouldn't it be about sports???"

Say what you want, but to deny that ESPN gives millions of households access to sport is ridiculous. Like it or not, ESPN has become the benchmark for sports channels. To deny that is to deny reality. If ESPN is not showing your sport, then your sport is "minor-league" status. As I said before, this year has to be about exposure, and what gives more exposure to more households, then the premier sports channel in the world?

"and now they throw their shows like PTI and poker on once in awhile"

Poker is shown more than once in a while. Why show poker and PTI? Becuase they mean ratings. What does it tell you when poker and bowling are blowing the NHL away in ratings? It tells me that people are not interested in the sport. And having to pay to get the friggin' OLN network so that I can watch natinal coverage of hockey is not a way to get more exposure so that the sport can grow.

"The bottom line is that you guys need another national sports empire and you need to give a channel some time because they don't come together overnight. "

Taking on ESPN is like Grenada declaring war on the U.S.

"I don't understand why the NHL moving to OLN is such a bad move."

Because the viewership of the league is being greatly shrunk.

"Every fanatic who is away from there local teams (like myself) will order "Center Ice"."

That's a blanket statement. Not every fan will. I know plenty that will not. Some just do not want to pay the $$$.

"They laugh off the NHL, sending the message of "let's move on and talk about real sports." "

What else would you call a league that, despite miniscule ratings, canceled an entire friggin' season?

"ESPN was toxic to the NHL, and the fact that 26 million or so fewer people will be exposed to ESPN's poison actually helps the league "

Now, I've seen everything. So less viewership is actually good for the sport?
Thank you!

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