Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Streaming Or Watching On Cable

01/26/2023 at 12:08pm EST

from Daniel Kaplan and Bill Shea of The Athletic,

...fans find themselves: stuck between two competing poles, the high-priced traditional cable TV universe and the fresher world of increasingly costly streaming. These options are pulling from the same sports, and in some cases, the same event and even the same match, leaving fans either missing out or forking over more money than ever. To get the best sports coverage, it’s not clear whether to rush forward to streaming, stay back with old-fashioned cable and broadcast television, or some combination of the two.

Companies like ESPN (ESPN+), NBC (Peacock), and CBS (Paramount+) are balancing the need to satisfy consumers paying hefty cable bills with the move to streaming, an area in which these conglomerates have spent — and lost — billions of dollars. While the belief abounds that one day everyone will stream, that day is not today, and sports fans are stuck between old- and new-world paradigms.

“There is as much art as science to it,” said sports media consultant Lee Berke, on how sports broadcasters decide what goes behind a streaming paywall and what resides on traditional linear TV. “You don’t want to get too far ahead of the curve, and you don’t want to be too far behind.”

It may be an art deciding how to carve up sports and tournaments between online and TV, but the results are often arguably unsightly.

much more ($)


We have hulu exclusively to watch the NHL on ESPN+. It's constantly blurry or crashing out. It is not our internet service because nothing else behaves that way.

We do NOT recommend hulu.


*cough*NBC putting playoff games on The Golf Channel to punish the league for not sending players to the Olympics*cough*


Last year with nine Wings games on ESPN+ was an absolute joke. Thankfully there are only two games this year that are exclusively on ESPN's pay-us-more channel. The day the NHL goes to mostly streaming is the day I stop watching. I'm not going to pay more than I'm already paying for cable so I can "stream" a damn game.


I have no issue with the NHL moving to streaming. In fact, I'd prefer it. What I don't like is them dividing the games between multiple streaming services. I just want to watch hockey. I don't want to pay the price for all the other content those services provide, specifically ESPN.

I know the situation is even worse for an "in-market" NHL fan. But here is my scenario. We have a two team household (Red Wings & Predators) and want to watch, at a minimum, all those teams games, plus all playoff games, the Cup Finals and ideally any other NHL game. To do this now, we have to get:

NHL Center Ice - regular season

Hulu+ - regular season, playoffs?

TNT - regular season, playoffs - no streaming option

ABC - playoffs?, Stanley Cup finals

ESPN - playoffs, Stanley Cup finals  - no streaming option

ESPN+ - regular season, playoffs?

Right now we are covered with Directv (TNT, ABC, ESPN), Hulu+ and  NHL Center Ice but I've got to cancel Directv soon as we pay way too much for what we get. I could stomach missing a few games during the regular season but missing the playoffs is not acceptable. 

Frankly, I'm a bit shocked the major leagues have taken this route. Their ticket prices to attend games are ridiculous and their prices to watch games at home grow by the day. I actually make pretty decent money but I try to be smart when I spent it. I'm surprised they can grow a fan base with this pricing model (then again I don't understand why people buy new cell phones every year). The NFL already lost me and I won't go back. Directv has already lost a lot of my money and is about to be canceled altogether. NHL will be the last thing I cancel but I'll scale back before paying even more. I can't be alone in this and if the economy goes down further you can bet those subscriptions will be hit hard.

End rant. 

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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