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ESPN And Their NHL Coverage

from Rich Hofmann of the Philadelphia Daily News,

It is Tuesday night, about 26 hours before the start of the Cup finals between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. It also is a day when the NHL has announced the shift of one of its franchises, from Atlanta to Winnipeg - a news event that happens less than once a decade. The television is tuned to ESPN, to the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter.”

And . . . nothing.

Not a word about hockey.

Not one.

It becomes a game of sorts, watching the scroll on the left side of the screen that announces the segments that are coming next. That ESPN was going to spend a goodly portion of the hourlong show pumping up the start of the NBA Finals, which were to be aired on its corporate sister, ABC, was entirely understandable. ESPN, long ago, acknowledged that its news shows were a promotional vehicle as well as a journalistic enterprise.

But to keep watching that scroll . . . and to see a bunch of NBA, followed by a bunch of Jim Tressel, followed by a bunch more NBA, with a smattering of baseball and the French Open, and then a bunch more NBA, and, well, that was it. At which point, ESPN switched to coverage of a baseball game and “SportsCenter” shifted over to ESPN2.

read on

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



And that’s why I refuse to allow ESPN on any of my televisions.  I haven’t watched it in over 5 years and will never watch it until I feel the give hockey the respect it deserves.

Posted by tbassett on 06/03/11 at 11:14 AM ET

Bosephus's avatar

Yup, just like tbassett mentioned , that article broke down why I very rarely watch ESPN.

Posted by Bosephus from Behind enemy lines, Denver, CO on 06/03/11 at 11:22 AM ET


Newsflash: Not a lot of people watch hockey.

We like it, of course.  It’s my favorite sport.  That said, people are crowing over how Game 1 got a 3.something Nielsen and that’s GOOD NEWS.

The NBA Finals are a MUCH bigger story.
Tressel-gate is a MUCH bigger story.

The Cup Finals?  When one of the teams isn’t even in the USA?  Just as relevant to the nation at large as the French Open, or random Baseball news, or whatnot.

A team that nobody cared about in Atlanta moving to a place not too many people have heard of in Winnipeg, in a sport not too many people care about in the first place?

Maybe that gets a 45 second mention on a PTI or AtH kind of show… but that’s about it.

Sportscenter isn’t some kind of public service, they have to cover things enough people actually care about to have them watch the show and not turn the channel… or in certain cases where they have a financial incentive to do some free ‘advertising’.

Other that that, IMO the NHL gets about as much run on SC as it merits, nationally-speaking.

And all of that aside, who cares what SC does or doesn’t do, anyway?  If being on SC more is so important, maybe our super-smart Commish should have signed with ESPN instead of the owner of one of his teams.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/11 at 11:39 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/11 at 10:39 AM ET

That’s great and all, but ESPN devotes a ton of time to NASCAR as well as PGA…. which do not recieve anywhere near the ratings.  It’s at that point it all falls apart.  ESPN also spends a great deal of time on MLS…. which is not even in the same Galaxy (see what I did there?) with these other sports ratings-wise.

It’s not about anything other than promoting ESPN’s/The Mouse’s own broadcasting rights.  And nothing more.  Sportscenter and the other shows are now just a vehicle to promote their own live broadcasts, and if they don’t have the rights they figure they’ll refuse to acknowledge it because of they do it’ll reinforce their own broadcasting rights.

The backlash REALLY showed this year though (and not just hockey fans), and if the NBA locks out like the NFL, they’re going to be in really big, big trouble… which is the only reason ESPN wanted the NHL (because the part of their package nobody talked about was that a lot of the “broadcasts” would have only been available on ESPN3—which is streamed online and XBox consoles).

As much as everyone hates VERSUS, they *have* to win this battle because the alternative of ESPN winning bodes poorly for all televised sports.  And I think VERSUS/NBC knows they have a fair shot at it, because they’ve seen the backlash against how ESPN now operates and know there’s a market there of people disgruntled with ESPN.

Posted by Primis on 06/03/11 at 11:54 AM ET


I don’t care if ESPN shows any hockey coverage or not. I do not go to ESPN for anything. I get all my news from new aggregates and blogs (Yay! to KK!!!) and even though I watch a lot of hockey through ‘Center Ice’, I often turn the volume down as the announcers drive me crazy.

So… ESPN who? NBA what? Leave me alone I have the Stanley Cup Finals to watch. =)

Posted by plain quesadilla from Roslindale, MA on 06/03/11 at 11:55 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Having zero interest whatsoever in either NFL, NBA, or pretty much any sport other than Hockey, I never even think to tune over to any of the ESPN channels. Well….maybe if classic is showing an old hockey game. ESPN really hasn’t been relevant to me since about 1986.

Posted by Down River Dan on 06/03/11 at 12:00 PM ET

UMFan's avatar

Being on SportsCenter is over rated these days. Why sit through analysis of ganes you’re not interested in just to get to the news of the sports you are interested in? With the internet, scores, highlights, analysis and everything else under the sun are available within seconds from multiple sources and multiple points of view. Besides, if you think the NBA stuff is bad, ESPN basically turns into the NFL network during their season and forgets just about everything else.

Posted by UMFan from Denver, Colorado on 06/03/11 at 12:03 PM ET


I stopped watching ESPN 2 years ago in May when they were showing women’s NCAA playoff highlights (they were carrying games on one of their sister stations) ahead of NHL playoff highlights.  Who gives a flying crap about womens basketball?

If I want baseball highlights I have MLB Network, if I want football highlights I watch the NBC Sunday Night Football pregame show, basketball is useless to me, and I have the NHL Network and Versus for hockey highlights.

Posted by RogerNYLA on 06/03/11 at 12:41 PM ET


I can’t remember the last time I watched SportsCenter, it has no ethics at all and as everyone has noted, exists solely to promote ESPN/ABC product.  If you judged interest solely by ratings, NBA Finals coverage would get approximately 3 times as much coverage as NHL but that is obviously not happening.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 06/03/11 at 01:14 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Ditto almost all of the above comments. ESPN is a self-promoting behemoth that repeats the exact same stories on Sportscenter, Around the Horn, PTI etc… that relate back to their programming.

Clearly hockey isn’t the most popular sport in the US, but a playoff highlight reel with a short blurb would certainly going to get more attention than a lot of the crap that they show….but hey, it might end up sending viewers to Versus, so they feel no reason for them to promote it.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/03/11 at 02:11 PM ET


“That’s great and all, but ESPN devotes a ton of time to NASCAR as well as PGA…. which do not recieve anywhere near the ratings.”


The PGA, sans Tiger, had a 4.7 ovenight rating.
The Jeff Byrd 500, a random Sprint Cup race, drew a 3.9.

Stop it.  The PGA and Nascar kill the NHL nationally.

The NHL’s ratings are borderline garbage.  Regular season NHL games struggle to draw a 1 nationally.  That’s what a third round Champions League (the old guys) golf telecast draws.  Heck, on 3/19 a Champions League third round telecast had a 1 flat.  The next day a rangers-Pens game had a 0.7.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/03/11 at 03:50 PM ET


ESPN = Thug TV

Posted by timbits on 06/03/11 at 09:21 PM ET


just read that new book about espn and it shows how they operate.

Posted by FlyersFan on 06/03/11 at 11:19 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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