Gary Bettman was just on The Fan 590 in Toronto. The radio guys wer kidding him that he pulled another one out of his hat regarding the TV contract. Bettman said the NHL is valuable and deserves to be treated as such.
Bettman talked about the NBC contract. He believes long term the NHL will make money, the ratings NBC is going by are very low in his opinion so there is room to grow.
Now that a partnership exists with the players, he feels ESPN should have exercised their option but they did not so they move in another direction and here we are.
NHL will be a priority for OLN in terms of scheduling and promotion. He felt ESPN had other sports to promote more than the NHL.
The new contract is just not with OLN, but with Comcast who reaches almost a quarter of the U.S. households. Things like VOD, game streaming will help the NHL out. Much more in-depth coverage.
Bettman is comparing the move to OLN like the one in Canada, from TSN to Sportsnet, look at the growth of Sportsnet since that move took place.
Says OLN will stay with the NHL after the game is over, extensive interviews, highlights, etc. With ESPN, they went to Sports Center two minutes after the final buzzer.
Bettman said streaming of the NHL games will be blacked out in local markets, including Canada and they are trying to work out the details with Comcast now.
Bettman mentioned will do at least one game a week in HD with Comcast/OLN. Not enough trucks and some arenas are not even set up for HD. Said will eventually get all three games in HD (one game on Monday and two regional games on Tuesday).
Bettman danced around the CBC lockout regarding hockey, said he isn't even thinking about it now, will look into how to handle broadcasts if the lockout runs into October.