Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 08/22/12 at 03:23 PM ET
Key part of NHL/NBC Comcast Universal TV deal,NBC makes a $200M payment to NHL in 2012-13 even if entire season lost to lockout.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) August 22, 2012
If lockout wipes out 2012-13 NHL season, NBC makes $200M payment to league and extra year is added onto deal for no rights fee.— Allan Walsh (@walsha) August 22, 2012
But the man in charge remembered a post he made on December 4th, 2011, and as it turns out, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported this in December. It’s a great reminder of how things break down from Walsh, but here’s Brooks’ explanation as well—which was tinged with what we thought was conspiracy theory back then, and now makes a whole lot more sense:
Of all the contracts signed this summer, the 10-year, $2 billion deal the NHL gave to Comcast/NBC is the most curious. Unless, that is, you’re Comcast/NBC/Ed Snider/the Flyers. Yes, even more curious than the three-year, $12.75 million deal the Hurricanes gave to Tomas Kaberle. Unless, that is, you’re Kaberle.
Back but to the point at hand: There may be every good reason for the league to be on NBC and NBC/Versus, which is giving the sport major league status, rather than on ESPN, which never did and likely never would.
But for the NHL to have essentially made an inside deal that lasts for a decade in which there are no triggers, no escalators, no options, no out-clauses, regardless of the ratings or other potential opportunities, is as short-sighted as it gets.
Unless, of course, the deal has something to do with the fact the NHL has full lockout protection for next season and will receive its $150 million or $155 million (the rights fee increases somewhere around 4-percent a year over the course of the deal) even if there isn’t a single game played.
There’s something slightly questionable, isn’t there, when the league strikes a deal favorable to Comcast/NBC when Comcast/NBC also controls the Flyers? What a coincidence that the Flyers happen to be in the Winter Classic for the second time in the last three years.
Again, this isn’t about the product or the energy and resources NBC is investing in promoting the league. One would assume, though, NBC would have put the same energy and resources into promoting the NHL if the contract were for five years and faced competition to retain the rights.
A bit inconsistent, it would seem, that the league is probably going to propose term limits of five years on contracts for players in the next collective bargaining agreement but runs off and locks itself (and the players) into a 10-year TV deal.
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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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