Articles in Hockey Media

Too Much Gambling Ads And Talk

12/04/2022 at 1:51pm EST

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

The Saturday evening tussle between the Canadiens and the Edmonton Oilers marked the first time this season I’ve watched a hockey game on the CBC, and I felt like I’d hopped a flight to Las Vegas and landed in the midst of the MGM Grand Race & Sports Book.

Wall-to-wall gambling ads doesn’t even cover it. There were times when the face of the oleaginous Cabbie would appear to offer in-game updates or various betting parlays. Almost overnight, Hockey Night in Canada, one of our most sacred institutions, has become a gambling website. It’s not even NHL hockey — it’s FanDuel hockey.

HNIC isn’t alone. The wholesale takeover of the sports world by gambling interests has completely altered the simple experience of watching the game with your family on a Saturday night. ESPN, TSN, Sportsnet, TVA, now the CBC — they’re all in it, and the experience is the same whether you’re watching the NHL, NFL, NBA, MLB or (for all I know) professional lacrosse.

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A Better Experience For The Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Hockey Fans

12/02/2022 at 11:30am EST

NEW YORK (Dec. 2, 2022) – The National Hockey League today announced a season-long partnership with P-X-P (formerly Play-By-Play Sports Interpreting) to expand its commitment to Deaf and hard-of-hearing fans.

The NHL FAST Channel On Roku

12/01/2022 at 8:38am EST

NEW YORK (Dec. 1, 2022) – The National Hockey League today announced the debut of its first-ever NHL FAST (free ad-supported streaming) channel, showcasing a wide variety of curated NHL programming from the League’s deep content library. Starting today, fans in the United States can find the NHL FAST channel on channel 216 on The Roku Channel, the home of free and premium entertainment on the Roku platform. The Roku Channel reaches U.S. households with an estimated 80 million people (as of Q4 2021) and is available for audiences to stream for free via Roku devices, on the Web, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TV, and select Samsung TVs.

The NHL FAST channel will feature specially curated NHL content including the latest NHL game highlights, classic condensed games including memorable Stanley Cup® Playoffs, Stanley Cup® Final, and NHL All-Star games, plus an assortment of archived programming that captures the excitement of the NHL. The NHL FAST channel will also feature hundreds of hours of NHL Original Productions programming such as, “Welcome to the NHL” and “NHL Bound”, and other engaging content and documentaries featuring the greatest Players, Clubs, and personalities in NHL history.

Bally Sports Is Losing Subscribers

11/30/2022 at 2:35pm EST

from Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic,

Diamond Sports owns 19 regional sports channels airing games of 42 NBA, MLB and NHL teams, feeding those clubs substantial sums that cover a large part of their player payrolls.

Times are generally good for the economics of these sports, but hovering over these teams is the very real possibility Diamond could file for bankruptcy, or perhaps even restructure what it pays the teams, a casualty of the decline in the regional sports channel model and the inflated $9.6 billion price Diamond parent Sinclair paid in 2019 for the network of channels....

“We have seen quite a bit of (subscriber erosion) acceleration over the year,” said Scott Shapiro, Sinclair’s chief financial and operating officer, on the earnings call. “And that’s probably driving, you know, at least 75 percent of the change to (cash flow) guidance, when you look at the magnitude of where churn expectations were at the beginning of the year, to where we’re projecting for the full year.”...

“There is no sale process,” Ripley said, appearing to rebut speculation Diamond is to be sold. “But, you know, we’re talking to parties about deleveraging, strategic partnerships, and things of that nature.” Deleveraging means reducing debt.

Some of those parties are the leagues themselves, which have been reported to want to buy Diamond. Ripely’s comment suggests otherwise, but there is no doubt the NBA, NHL, and MLB have a keen interest in keeping Diamond afloat, and people close to the situation confirmed they are active in the discussions.

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Talking Twitter

11/19/2022 at 9:04am EST

from Paul Sullivan of The Chicago Tribune,

Following up on something posted on Twitter would soon become an everyday part of the beat. An app we would use and abuse, curse and praise and pay close attention to morning, noon and night would changed the way people follow sports and thus the way we covered it.

Following up on something posted on Twitter would soon become an everyday part of the beat. An app we would use and abuse, curse and praise and pay close attention to morning, noon and night would changed the way people follow sports and thus the way we covered it.

If Twitter truly is on its death bed, as many have predicted since the latest exodus of employees under Elon Musk’s reign, it will be a loss for everyone — but particularly for sports fans who use it constantly from the time they wake until they go to bed, plus the occasional 3 a.m. bathroom break...

Influencers will have no one to influence, trolls will go unblocked and brand-name sports media stars will be left in a lurch. If a “Woj bomb” falls in an empty Twittersphere with no one around to retweet it, would it still make a sound?

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Listening To Our Game

11/11/2022 at 6:44am EST

from the CP,

Radio broadcast crews for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks are not on site for road games this season. The English radio crew for the Montreal Canadiens also remains grounded.

Remote coverage that was previously a necessity due to travel restrictions has become the new normal for radio broadcasters who are being told to stay home and call road games off a screen.

“It’s not perfect, far from it, I’m somewhat embarrassed that we’re not there,” said longtime Maple Leafs radio broadcaster Joe Bowen. “But that’s the situation that it is. So we’re trying to do the best we can under what we feel are some difficult circumstances.”..

“COVID presented lots of challenges for the league, including for our broadcasters,” Gary Meagher, the NHL’s senior executive vice-president of communications, said in an email. “They adapted to calling games remotely for the better part of two seasons with a dedication to their craft.

“While 95 per cent of our broadcasters are now back to calling games in-arena, we know that the handful of radio crews that are still calling games remotely are providing their fans with the unmatched professionalism to which they are accustomed.”...

Broadcaster Paul Romanuk, who has called hockey and Raptors games over his career and made remote calls for Olympic coverage, said there is much to be gained by in-person staffing.

When a call is made from a screen, Romanuk said, the radio crew is simply limited in its ability to deliver the best possible product.

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Watching P.K. Subban On ESPN

11/10/2022 at 9:18am EST

from Danny Chi of the ESPN Press Room,

ESPN has signed three-time NHL All-Star and Norris Trophy winnerP.K. Subban to a multi-year agreement.

Subban will join ESPN’s industry-leading roster of dynamic NHL play-by-play announcers, analysts and reporters, making his season debut in the coming weeks as an in-studio NHL analyst. Subban will work primarily as a studio analyst for NHL coverage, while also serving as an in-game analyst for select NHL games throughout the regular season.

“For a long time, I’ve sat in the locker room with teammates and discussed what it would be like to be on the other side as analyst,” said Subban. “I have a vested interest in growing the game and know the importance of the rapidly expanding sports landscape, so I look forward to bringing my unique insights from having recently been on the ice and now my off-ice perspective.”

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Discussing The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award

11/07/2022 at 2:28pm EST

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

Some of the biggest names in the history of hockey broadcasting can’t be considered for Hall of Fame recognition because they don’t do play-by-play or colour analysis of games. They merely host the largest programs in the sport. Hockey Night In Canada. The Hall of Fame inductions. Trade deadline. Free agent frenzy.

They do what others, frankly, cannot do — and have been pushed to the side in almost a piece of unexplainable petty politics, keeping the biggest and most accomplished names in the sport away from the largest acknowledgment.

“It’s a strange thing,” said Joe Bowen, the Leafs broadcaster, who has won the Foster Hewitt Award. “I do know what we’re doing needs to be changed.

“I don’t even know how the Foster Hewitt thing is voted on and I won it. I don’t vote. I don’t know who votes. We’ve never had a meeting and ‘Let’s talk about this.’ It’s not just Duthie or Dave Hodge or Ron MacLean. I think Ralph Mellanby should be in the Hall of Fame, did anyone influence hockey broadcasting more than he did.”

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