Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/02/06 at 03:20 PM ET
OLN came out of the All-Star break with a new on-air set and a new graphics package. Plus, in March the NHL hired veteran hockey producer John Shannon to help make the broadcasts more professional. Shannon was a longtime executive producer of “Hockey Night in Canada” and Leafs TV.... Much of this confidence comes from a television schedule that gives NBC and Versus more exclusive windows for hockey games. NBC will show its games on Sundays this season, as opposed to Saturdays last season. And Versus will have an exclusive game of the week on Tuesday nights through November, after which it will switch to Monday nights. “I view last season very much as a transitional season for us on television,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “This summer, and obviously this year leading up to this coming season, we’ve been able to develop a very good schedule for Versus and for NBC. … We weren’t able to create exclusive windows last year, just because of the timing.” So far, some advertisers are stepping up. Dodge and Enterprise agreed to return as sponsors on Versus. New sponsors for the upcoming season include Rent-A-Center, Philips Electronics, Clorox and Midas. NHL executives credit Shannon’s hiring with helping to stabilize the hockey broadcasts, which look like much admired “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts. “He is working to establish minimum standards and minimum criteria with our rights holders, and he’s going to work on a constant basis in terms of providing feedback and evaluations with our local broadcasters and working with them to help improve the quality of the broadcast,” Daly said.
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