Canucks and Beyond

Catching Hockey On ESPN

10/22/2008 at 3:38pm EDT

I once found it odd how many UK hockey fans there are out there, but not anymore. Over the years I’ve heard a lot from British NHL fans and am no longer surprised at their knowledge of and passion for the game.

imageThe only thing I still find surprising is that such passion exists despite the obstacles they face in trying to enjoy their favorite sport—which is why this might be an interesting option for some.

This morning, SENShobo dropped me a pointer to a press release about ESPN360 in the UK and it’s new online video player:

LONDON - Sports network ESPN has launched its online video player in the UK, which airs live streams from major American sports associations the NHL and NCAA basketball and football.

The on-demand content is available through a range of subscription packages, ranging from £7.99 per month to £54.99 for complete access.

The service has been broadcasting on occasion in high-definition over the past year (though I’m not sure how often that will apply to NHL games). Regardless, at least the live streams aren’t a rare occurrence. From Pocket Lint:

The service also includes a subscription package offering video on demand access and live streaming of more than 1000 NHL regular season games, as well as the Playoffs and the Stanley Cup Final.*

Recently, Kukla’s Korner solicited reader questions about hockey broadcasting which we’ve sent to John Shannon, the Senior VP of NHL Broadcasting. He’ll be answering those questions for everyone soon (and we’ll post the answers online) but one of the questions caught my eye.

A Spanish KK reader (Miquel B.G. from Palma de Mallorca, Spain) mentioned how ESPN360 works for him, and some issues he has:

Hi, I´m a european NHL fan and I purchased ESPN360 Season Pass and Playoffs Pass last year and the experience was great so this year I purchased the Early Bird.

But I have some questions/problems.

-Why we can´t have the Center Ice Online? ESPN360 works good but CIO has some features (watch 4 games at the same time ) that ESPN360 doesn´t have.

So it sounds like there are some issues, but hopefully things continue to improve. If anyone else has experiences with ESPN360 that they want to share, please do.

Just a note: the website seems to be IP-dependent… meaning that clicking that link will take you to the ESPN services available in your specific country.

For more about ESPN360, check out their site’s FAQ page or their wiki.

*emphasis mine

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