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This Should Not Be Happening

from WKYC,

This Sunday at 1pm, Channel 3 will be carrying the baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers, forcing us to join Game 4 of the Stanley Cup semi-finals between the St. Louis Blues and the Los Angeles Kings, in progress.  We know this upsets our hockey loving fans and are sorry to have to do it.

Below is a statement from our programming director, Terry Moir, on the tough decisions she has to make when it comes to balancing our commitment to the Indians and other programming.

Dear hockey fans,

We know and understand your frustration with us for airing Indians baseball instead of playoff hockey.  But Channel 3 has a contract to air 20 of the Cleveland Indian baseball games on broadcast TV. We entered into our agreement when STO was just being launched. The idea was to have 20 games that people who could not afford cable TV would be able to see. We try, very hard, to divide up the sports that we pre-empt for baseball. So we take some hockey, some tennis, some golf, some volleyball and various other smaller sporting events.

Games are picked in December of the year before they air. Then NBC lays in their sports calendar in January or February. Our initial list of games is then cleared by NBC. NBC has events that we can pre-empt and ones that we cannot pre-empt. If I have a game on a date that they feel is not pre-emptible then I have to move off that date….

read on

Filed in: NHL Media, Hockey Broadcasting, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: nbc


Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

Is this why the Barons had to move?

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/04/12 at 02:13 PM ET


If this is a Saturday afternoon game, then it should be streamed as well on MSNBC.com.  The game is available there without blackout restrictions.  They have even formatted the feed so that it will be accessible on an iPad and other HTML5 compliant devices.

Posted by CJBear71 on 05/04/12 at 02:14 PM ET


I did appreciate what appeared to be a sincere response by the station, and an explanation that makes sense.  I know in a lot of other NBC markets when this happens,  you get nothing but snide condescending responses. King 5 in Seattle is so bad they won’t even pre-empt the evening news for the SCF, because they have to show their 100 year old anchors blathering about some meth lab fire or new outrage in government waste.

Posted by timbits on 05/04/12 at 02:28 PM ET

awould's avatar

It’s a Cleveland station showing a home team instead of an out-of-market hockey game between two teams located in far off cities? What’s the problem?

I wouldn’t expect them to show the hockey over the local sports. In fact, if I lived in Michigan still, I’d be pissed if a Wolverines football game was preempted by a Dodgers/Cardinals playoffs game.

Posted by awould on 05/04/12 at 02:44 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Yeah seriously, is this really a problem? On the Cleveland NBC affiliate, a hockey game between two non-Cleveland, non-Ohio, and really non-regional teams is going to be preempted as a result of a baseball game, featuring the CLEVELAND Indians?

I’m sorry, but I’m not crying for the four people in that market that will care that they are missing the Kings/Blues game.

As a huge hockey fan, I’d be pissed if a non-Red Wing hockey game preempted a Tigers game.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/04/12 at 03:34 PM ET

Da lil Guy's avatar

I agree with Paul.

It’s mean spirited of this broadcaster to force poor people to watch baseball 20 times a year.

Posted by Da lil Guy from Guelph, Ontario on 05/04/12 at 03:37 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I’m in the “Total Non-Story” camp.

Given the choice between an in-market Indians game, or an out-of-market playoff hockey game, you show the game with local interests.  They’re absolutely making the right call.

This is only a story if it’s happening in STL or LA.  Then, it’s inexcusable.

Posted by Primis on 05/04/12 at 04:19 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Here is my issue.  If it is happening in Cleveland, it is probably happening in other areas of the country too.

At least make the game available on an alternate channel, for those fans who want to watch the game.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/04/12 at 04:22 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/04/12 at 02:22 PM ET

You are correct sir!  It certainly won’t plant the seeds for growth of fans in non-traditional markets if they have no access to it.

Posted by calquake from Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst on 05/04/12 at 05:04 PM ET


If it is happening in Cleveland, it is probably happening in other areas of the country too.

You’re right.  It probably is happening in cities where baseball is far more popular than hockey.

Why would any station, if given the choice, air a hockey game instead of a baseball game when they know that the baseball game will get more viewers and thus allow them to charge more for advertising?

Why should the minority dictate what the majority have to watch?

Posted by Garth on 05/04/12 at 05:48 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Garth, you must have missed the alternate channel idea.

Plus, do you think they would do this to an NBA or MLB playoff game?  Of course not, it is planned out in advance, just like the NHL should do.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 05/04/12 at 05:52 PM ET


It’s a local NBC affiliate.  I wouldn’t imagine that small local stations have access to alternate channels shoudl they need to broadcast a hockey game for three hours in a year.

Plus, do you think they would do this to an NBA or MLB playoff game?

NBC doesn’t have the rights to either the NBA or MLB so it’s a moot point, but if this station specifically obtained the rights to 20 Cleveland Indians games they probably paid a relatively large sum to get them.  Therefore I would guess that they would pre-empt whatever national NBC broadcast that was scheduled to air at the same time as the Indians games they bought the rights to.

Posted by Garth on 05/04/12 at 06:22 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I don’t know that an “alternate channel” is such a feasible idea.  I don’t know that this NBC affiliate *has* an alternate channel in the family to move it to.  And how would you get carriers to carry a new alternate channel in time (something like FSD+)??? Maybe you could rapidly get one on locla cable, but what about DirecTV or DISH viewers?

Besides doesn’t GameCenter cover the playoff games as well?  I’m sure the NHL’s answer would be “Pay us for GameCenter and you can see the game”.

I get what you’re saying about it putting out some out-of-market fans but… that’s a fight the NHL has no hope of winning at the moment.  You gotta’ pick your battles.  And STL vs LA in a Cleveland market is not really a battle to pick.

Posted by Primis on 05/04/12 at 06:26 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Besides doesn’t GameCenter cover the playoff games as well?  I’m sure the NHL’s answer would be “Pay us for GameCenter and you can see the game”.

No, there are no playoff games on GameCenter or Center Ice this year due to the new NHL television contract with NBC.

If I am a hockey fan and I’m in the Cleveland market, I would be upset about this.  How else am I supposed to see my team play and in a playoff game?  I understand the station’s position but as I rabid hockey fan, I would be quite upset.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 05/04/12 at 08:54 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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