Kukla's Korner Hockey
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
The online publication SportsBusiness Journal reported this week that the NHL has started preliminary talks with ESPN about replacing NBC as a television partner in 2008-09.
In response, an NBC spokesman said it was premature to speculate on what the network will do with its 2008-09 option.
What’s more, NBC will employ a flexible NHL schedule in 2007-08, from which it will pick the best matchup — a move that should push up ratings.
“This is the first opportunity that NBC will have to really fight for the rating number that it considers to be its target,” an NHL source said.
Still, if the NHL is talking to ESPN, it’s almost certain NBC has informed the league it is preparing to pull out.
Networks make programming decisions months in advance. It’s unlikely the NHL would have approached ESPN unless it knew NBC was not planning to pick up its option.
Update 2:30am ET:
More thoughts from TIB,
Giving up exclusivity for publicity would be a smart move for the young network. ESPN, which has mocked the channel on occasion, would now be helping remind its audience it not only exists, but carries similar content. Somewhere Alanis Morissette is smiling.
Despite the jokes directed at Versus, Comcast has done a good job getting it onto more cable systems since the NHL deal was signed, and continuously improving the hockey broadcasts as they’ve gone along.
from the Vancouver Province,
Turn out the lights. The NBC-NHL party is just about over. The U.S. TV network has one year plus an option left on its deal with the hockey league and with numbers sinking faster than the Lusitania the rats are already jumping ship.
The NHL on NBC now makes “Joanie Loves Chachi” look like an Einstein-like programming decision.
In response, the network has now cancelled its studio show and has reduced three games on Saturday to just one on Sunday.
Gone are Brett Hull, Bill Clement and Ray Ferraro.
“Of course I was disappointed,” says Ferraro. “Three minutes into the call and you know you’ve got to start earning a living some place else.”
read on & some HNIC news too…
from Ray Slover at the Sporting News,
Unless I see something that tells me otherwise, I’d rather see the NHL leave games on NBC and Versus. Yeah, an ESPN connection would raise the league’s public-relations image. And if NBC wants out of the deal, the NHL is right to do something to assure its TV presence on a high-level U.S. broadcast outlet, preferably one available to the highest number of viewers. Free TV, rather than cable.
Hard-core fans aren’t the NHL’s primary concern. They are hooked and in the creel. It’s casual fans the league needs to grow its base and popularity. And realigning with the magical machine that is ESPN would seem a bonanza in the making.
Nah. Leave the games on Versus. Better yet, go through with the proposed NHL Network. It’s better than being a second citizen on ESPN.
from the SportsBusiness Journal (paid sub.),
The NHL and ESPN are in discussions about bringing the league’s games back to ESPN2 as soon as the 2008-09 season. Multiple sources described the conversations as preliminary. The two started talking the week of July 16 when the NHL approached ESPN about NBC’s nine-game regular-season …
added 11:30am, Thanks to the folks at SportsBusiness Journal for providing the link to the story for KK readers! This article also mentions the NHL Network and some Center Ice talk too.
via Sports Business Daily (paid sub.),
NBC Sports Coordinating Producer Sam Flood today announced that former Islanders GM & coach Mike Milbury will join the net’s “NHL Game of the Week” as a studio analyst, replacing former NHLer Brett Hull, who has taken a front-office position with the Stars. The studio show, which originated from Rockefeller Plaza the past two seasons, will now be broadcast live on location from game sites and will be hosted by Pierre McGuire,
added 4:32pm, from TV Week,
“Mike is sometimes controversial, usually quotable and always interesting,” said Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ coordinating producer and NHL Producer. “As an ex-player, coach and GM, he brings a hat trick of perspective to his new role as a broadcaster. And taking the studio show inside the arena provides an immediacy and big event feel, while shining an even bigger spotlight on the ‘Game of the Week.’”
Multiple award-winning Canadian sports journalist Pierre LeBrun joins the Hockeycentral panel and sportsnet.ca for the 2007-08 NHL season.
LeBrun, well known in Canadian sports circles for breaking big stories, will be part of the 2007-08 Hockeycentral team which features numerous hockey experts including host Daren Millard and regular analysts Nick Kypreos and Bill Watters.
“I’m thrilled to be on board with Rogers Sportsnet and look forward to breaking down what will be an interesting 2007-08 NHL season,” said LeBrun. “There’s a cool vibe at Sportsnet and I want to be part of that.”
note: thanks to PuckHound for noting this in the KK forums
from William Houston at the Globe and Mail,
Hockey Night in Canada is in the midst of a major shakeup.
Joel Darling, the show’s executive producer, is out after seven years on the job. He has been promoted to a new position at CBC Sports as the No. 2 executive to Scott Moore, the head of the department.
Sources say play-by-play veteran Bob Cole has agreed to a two-year “transitional contract” in which his workload in 2007-08 will be slightly reduced, with 2008-09 likely marking his final season.
Cole’s broadcast partner, Harry Neale, has been given a one-year deal also with a reduced workload.
In terms of content, the pregame show will be upgraded and the Hot Stove intermission segment revamped.
NEW YORK, N.Y. / PLAINVIEW, N.Y. (July 19, 2007) – The National Hockey League (NHL) and NeuLion Inc., today announced their partnership to bring a unique online experience to fans worldwide using NeuLion technology at the start of the 2007-08 season.
A new NHL Integrated Video Portal will be available via NHL.com and all of the 30 club sites to deliver high-quality video and other content. Fans will be able to navigate easily between live game content, video features, behind-the-scenes footage and game highlights that are viewable in multiple video windows or full screen.
NeuLion will power this NHL online video offering, which will include the following (pricing has yet to be determined):
I don’t have all the details yet but the WSJ is reporting that the NHL has a deal with IPTV provider NeuLion Inc. to sell its out-of-market package for live online viewing. Center Ice, until now sold only through cable and satellite, will run $169 for the season, about 45 games a week. It looks like a single-night option may be available for $15. According to WSJ, the games will not be interrupted by advertising—that would be a major change from the current local ads included in the various market broadcasts.
I am working on getting more information and will post when available…
added 10:13am, 7/19/07, from Cable 360 Net,
The ratings-challenged National Hockey League will expand its Center Ice live games package to the Web starting next season in an aggressive online push that potentially freezes out subscribers to its cable TV-based Center Ice package with In Demand. “We need to be nimble in this space,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman tells the Wall Street Journal.
...the Center Ice Web package will run commercial-free and include HD video, highlights, pre- and post-game shows, stats and social networking.
note: original post was 7/18/07 at 9:50pm… Moved to top of page since additional information was added…
added 1:33pm, see this post for added information…
from the Toronto Star,
Bob Cole and Harry Neale will be back for another season of Hockey Night In Canada.
CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore confirmed yesterday that the veteran announcers have agreed on new one-year deals for the upcoming season.
“We’re happy to have them both back,” Moore said. “Bob’s a legend and I want to make sure he’s a part of Hockey Night In Canada as long as he wants to be in some way, shape or form.”
added 8:07pm, from the CBC,
Hall of Fame play-by-play commentator Bob Cole and analyst Harry Neale will be back on Hockey Night in Canada next season.
CBC Sports confirmed Thursday that both agreed to two-year contracts, extending a partnership which began in 1985.
continued... note according to the CBC, both signed two year contracts…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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