Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Dan Wetzel at Yahoo Sports,
NBC knew the audience for the Preakness would be at least three times greater. And it had far more valuable commercials sold for the pre-race show than whatever it would get out of overtime hockey.
So it cut the game. Which doesn’t mean we need to cut up the game.
Maybe I’m just skittish to change because much of it hasn’t worked (can we bring back the old names, Adams Division, Campbell Conference, et al?). The “Preakness Game” proves that most of the tinkering has failed. But mostly I’d hate to see the NHL again react out of a defensive position, the embarrassment of this, and make another permanent, major change to the sport.
Just because NBC thinks women in silly hats and Black-Eyed Susans are better television than overtime hockey, doesn’t mean it’s true.
NEW YORK (May 22, 2007)—The National Hockey League today released the schedule of dates for the 2007 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin Monday, May 28 in Anaheim or Detroit.
The Stanley Cup Final will match the Ottawa Senators, champions of the Eastern Conference, against the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 6 tonight in Anaheim.
from Clay Travis at CBS SportsLine,
1. Send a horse’s head to NBC studios. This worked well in The Godfather and will provide a nice opening bang.
2. Have Don Cherry record a monologue lambasting this decision and put it up on YouTube. Expletives included.
from the New York Times,
But a foul-up at Versus’ master control in Denver delayed by about two minutes the time before Versus took the Sabres-Senators handoff from NBC. Marc Fein, a Versus senior vice president, said, “Needless to say, it didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked.”
John Shannon, the league’s senior vice president for broadcasting and a former hockey producer who loathes such mistakes, said: “We believed the checks, double checks and triple checks were in place. It was one simple, human error. We talked all day. Everything was coordinated. Our concern was that people were told to go to Versus, and it wasn’t there right away.”...
But NBC could have done much better because its overtime plan to go to Versus was in play when Buffalo’s Maxim Afinogenov tied the score with 9 minutes 2 seconds left in the third period.
From there, NBC should have given viewers several messages about switching to (and finding) Versus before regulation ended.
Given the single warning — and the relative newness of Versus — it is reasonable to wonder if fans endured for the two minutes or so that it took for Versus to pick up the NBC feed, or if they wandered off?
added 7:37am, from Newsday,
In an interview with WFAN, commissioner Gary Bettman said the broad audience was worth the risk of overtime, but he left open the possibility of rethinking the Saturday afternoon strategy next year.
Who to blame? Everyone, and that includes you, America, for not watching enough hockey to give the sport ratings clout.
Regardless, the time might have come for the league to swallow its pride, thank NBC for its attention and accept being a niche sport that doesn’t belong on the big stage, if it ever did.
from the Hollywood Reporter,
NBC Sports defended its decision to cut off Saturday’s telecast of the Buffalo Sabres-Ottawa Senators playoff game just as it moved into overtime in favor of the Preakness Stakes.
The network received criticism in the blogosphere and from some viewers for its decision to forgo the final minutes of the game to cover the Preakness from a Baltimore racetrack. A network spokesman said Monday that there was not much NBC could do: It was contractually obligated to carry Saturday’s Preakness telecast….
“We terribly regret that some of our avid fans weren’t able to see the overtime play,” the spokeswoman said. It wasn’t as much a problem among home viewers as it was for those who were watching at bars and restaurants nationwide, where the distribution of Comcast-owned Versus is still sporadic.
from MultiChannel News,
In Demand and league representatives confirm they’ve held talks to renew distribution of Center Ice; the current pact ends after the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The package provides access to about 40 regular-season hockey games per week from outside the viewer’s home area, plus some first- and second-round playoff games.
But cable executives said that so far at least, initial discussions for a Center Ice renewal have remained separate from talks about the NHL Network, or about a planned high-definition NHL service. NHL executives would not comment on the negotiation strategy.
Sabres/Sens on Saturday 1.2 rating and a 3 share
Ducks/Wings on Sunday 1.6/4
from Cris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star,
NBC made a business decision here, choosing high-priced horse advertising over a commercial-free overtime.
But what does this say about the NHL?
It says the league is so desperate to please American networks that it’s willing to take this kind of abuse. This is the same league that scheduled Saturday’s game for 2 p.m. to appease NBC. That decision deprived Ottawa fans of a traditional Saturday night spot while costing the loyal CBC hundreds of thousands of viewers and countless dollars in ad revenues.
For kowtowing to NBC, the league gets a slap in the face.
More accurately, it got a slap in the face, a punch in the solar plexus and a kick in the rear with a frozen boot.
from William Houston of the Globe and Mail,
NBC pulled the plug on coverage of the overtime period between the Ottawa Senators-Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, denying viewers in most of the United States the conclusion the Eastern Conference final’s Game 5.
A source close to the National Hockey League Saturday called the decision to prematurely end the telecast “disappointing,” but said the network’s contract with the league allowed it to pull out after three hours.
from Allan Muir at Sports Illustrated,
No joke. I get a call this afternoon from a buddy of mine, livid about NBC’s decision to dump overtime of the elimination game between Buffalo and Ottawa onto Versus.
“I can’t believe it,” he moaned. “They cut off the strongman competition I was watching for a stinkin’ hockey game!”
I had to laugh. After the kick to the gut American fans got today, it’s nice to know there’s at least one sport lower on the broadcast totem pole.
As I stated yesterday, NBC should have prepared the fans with a heads up of their plans, but nothing was mentioned. I have received over 100 emails the last 12 hours, all livid with the NBC decision. Many people set their DVR to record and even allowed for extra time, but they missed the OT since no one set the DVR to Versus. If NBC would have alerted us about this switch, in ADVANCE, it would have made it a little easier to take.
Instead, many NHL fans feel like NBC just doesn’t care.
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.
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