Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/18/12 at 12:44 AM ET
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
There have been numerous press releases from both the NHL and the NBC sports network trumpeting the increase in viewers in these playoffs in the U.S. and the numbers only lie when you really want them too.
Of course much of the success, perhaps the lion’s share of these increases, is directly due to the increase in penetration in places where hockey hasn’t been a steady diet in the U.S. other than the full network weekend telecasts.
Having been in four different hotels in California the past month your agent can assure Canadian fans that the days without hockey while in the contiguous U.S. states are at an end, at least until this present 10 year agreement runs out which won’t be for another nine seasons. Every time you turn on your television there is the NBC Sports network front and centre when you couldn’t find Versus with a private investigator in those same regions in the past. No longer do you have to ferret out the closest sports bar and check to see whether they carry the hockey game. It seems to be everywhere which is something the sport didn’t have before, perhaps ever.
Even when the NHL was on ESPN, if another big event came along which conflicted with a crucial game, hockey would be bumped to ESPN2 which didn’t have anywhere near the penetration it does now. So for early playoffs and regular season, this coverage American fans are presently enjoying is perhaps the best ever and the numbers are there. And for that reason the thumbs have to go up with respect to the success of this deal. In fact, a lot of good things have been happening with respect to television revenues and penetration ever since the league got it’s act together with the Winter Sports classic and carried that momentum forward with this contract. After all these years, it’s great to see some success.
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