A very interesting tidbit of news came across the news wire today: Comcast aquires a 51% share of NBC, with GE able to force the sale of another 24.5% in 3.5 years, and the rest in 7.
As a former employee of an NBC affiliate in northern Michigan and a rabid hockey fan, I’m very interested in the repercussions to both the NHL and NBC in this deal. Comcast owns Versus, which has been hitched to the NHL’s bandwagon for some time now. Comcast has long shown an interest in hockey in general - during the ‘04-‘05 lockout, Comcast aired a few other hockey-related broadcasts on their own cable channels, including the Larionov retirement game (imagine the Red Wings vs. Russia—Yzerman scored a couple of goals for Russia that game as I recall, and yes, Igor got a goal too). It feels natural that the NHL and Comcast should take care of each others interests, and I am excited to see what might happen in the future now that Comcast owns a controlling share in NBC.
Could we see more regular season and playoff NHL games on the major network? I sure hope so. I don’t really see NBC as a potential competitor to Versus, but rather as a nice complement. Let’s hope that this might function as a workaround for those of us DirecTV customers who presently miss out on some programming due to the Versus/DirecTV impasse. Let’s hope that this will bring the NHL to a broader audience and fuel a ratings and revenue resurgence for the game. ESPN Who?