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from Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy,

Does the NHL need ESPN?

It’s a question that’s been asked in every board room, sponsorship pitch meeting and press box around the NHL since the lockout. It was asked frequently during the early years of the NHL’s relationship with Comcast on U.S. cable, as the embarrassing start on Outdoor Life Network begot the growing pains of VERSUS.

It’s been asked much less frequently now that the NHL is locked into a 10-year television contract with NBC, which has helped to broadcast every Stanley Cup Playoff game in its entirety on national television for the first time in League history — something ESPN didn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t do.

As the NHL continues to build in popularity across every metric in the U.S. — attendance, sponsorship, ratings, social media outreach — the question has now changed. It’s no longer “does the NHL need ESPN?” …

… it’s “Why doesn’t ESPN need the NHL?”


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHL Media, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: espn


Vladimir16's avatar

I have mixed feelings on this one. On one hand I loved ESPN’s coverage back in the day and really miss Gary Thorne. He’s infinitely better than the jack-noodles that are on NBC’s coverage (exception being Mike Emrick , of course).
On the other hand I’m not a fan of ESPN anymore, “The Decision” being just one of many, many reasons why, so it probably wouldn’t live up to my old expectations.
Now, the question on whether ESPN needs or is regretting their decision to not pick up the NHL coverage? I highly doubt they’re too concerned about this.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/03/12 at 04:56 PM ET

Primis's avatar

ESPN doesn’t do hockey because they think/know hockey fans don’t watch them.

Why it’s never occurred to them that having the NHL would bring new eyeballs from as-of-now untapped viewership is the real question/mystery.

10 years from now though I think ESPN will be in rough shape and we’ll look back and realize it was stupid to ever wonder if the NHL needed ESPN.

Posted by Primis on 05/03/12 at 05:13 PM ET


ESPN is coverage is centered around the NFL and other sports are covered when things are slow in pro football. This attitude existed back when the NHL was on ESPN. I remember NFL rumors getting more morning air time than what had happened in the NHL playoffs during the previous evening.

I think the sport of hockey need to be carried by networks that treat it as a sport that has a passionate following, and not an afterthought.

Posted by DevsFan from Midwest on 05/03/12 at 05:25 PM ET

Ducksworth's avatar

I miss Gary Thorne and Bill Clement, other than that I don’t care for ESPN in the least bit and haven’t watched anything on it since they dropped the NHL.

Posted by Ducksworth from Brownstown, MI on 05/03/12 at 05:42 PM ET


ESPN makes a mockery of most sports.  I rarely watch it anymore.  It’s geared to the 18-36 crowd of ADD sufferers.

I’m glad NHL went to NBC.  Coverage is much better and don’t have to listen to insufferable ESPN anchors that know nothing about the game.

Posted by 13 user names on 05/03/12 at 08:24 PM ET


I’m glad NHL went to NBC.  Coverage is much better and don’t have to listen to insufferable ESPN anchors that know nothing about the game.


Posted by timbits on 05/03/12 at 11:50 PM ET

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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.

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