Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

ESPN Hockey Coverage A Work In Progress

07/03/2021 at 10:16am EDT

from Matt Porter of the Boston Globe,

How will ESPN’s NHL coverage look different from what we’ve seen on NBC’s networks the last 15 years?

“We’re trying to figure it out,” said Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president in charge of hockey coverage. “We know what the music is going to be.”

The familiar “NHL on ESPN” theme is back. But the network is determined to make a splash in its first NHL games since the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, beyond the personalities named in this past week’s roster announcement.

The network’s coverage starts with the July 21 Seattle expansion draft, hosted by Chris Fowler on ESPN2. John Buccigross will host the NHL Draft two days later. Those shows will be produced by NHL Network.

When Gross spoke over the phone this past week, ESPN (which reportedly paid $410 million a year for seven years of NHL rights) and Turner ($225 million a year over the same period) still hadn’t divvied the games. The NHL had yet to release its 2021-22 schedule. Its puck- and player-tracking data has not seen the light of day.

“One thing we’re trying to get our arms around is what analytics teams and coaches use to showcase in our game coverage, our studio coverage,” Gross said. “Camera positions is another thing we’re looking at, talking to the league to see how we can showcase and document the games.”

Strategy and speed are the buzzwords Gross hears in his daily conversations with NHL people. Capturing both, while serving hard-core fans, hooking viewers from the massive pool of casual sports viewers who don’t give hockey much thought, attracting diverse genders and backgrounds . . . all are among Gross’s concerns.

continued plus more hockey topics...

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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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