Hockey Nearly Loses Its Best US Network TV Advocate…

While Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow duke it out in a battle that is guaranteed to end with both sides bleeding badly – the NHL’s best US TV advocate, Dick Ebersol, this weekend escaped death in a private plane crash. One of his son’s was killed in the crash.

Ebersol is the chief of NBC Sports and is well known for his influence on Olympic broadcasts as well as bringing the US Open (golf) to NBC. He also is the most notable person linked with inking the 2 year deal with the NHL that basically put the NHL into a commission agreement (like arena football) but also kept its games on national TV in the US. That deal comes as ABC bailed after its long term ESPN-ABC deal expired. ESPN agreed to renew for this year which is about to be canceled due to the lockout.

Both sides in this FOOLISH battle need to use the Ebersol miracle as a “starting point” to get their asses in a room and work out a deal. The simple fact is – without TV ratings in the US hockey will never grow. Moreover, if this season is lost for the first time in pro sports history the players will NEVER make the money they can if they settle for a reasonable cap (higher than $31 million being offered by the NHL and with a franchise player clause).

Make no mistake, the US TV deals (ESPN and NBC) in place are all loaded towards the last part of the season. You think the owners want to walk from $60,000,000 from ESPN? I doubt it. Making $60,000,000 is better than spending $300,000,000 in ANYBODY’s math.

I predict NHL hockey will be back by January 21, 2005. The price is simply too high to stand for both sides but I would be it all on being based around a salary cap.

Sources: CNN, Los Angeles Times

13 Responses to Hockey Nearly Loses Its Best US Network TV Advocate…

  1. CupBoundFlyers says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this article. I don’t think the NHL will be back this year because the NHLPA and Owners have decided to compromise on a deal, I think they will be back just because the NHL doesn’t have the financial means to hold out for an extended period of time, nor can the NHL afford to lose more money esp. from TV deals.

    Also, not that it means much to anyone, but I’m friends with someone who knows ken hitch***** and when he talked to him the other day, hitch told him there would be hockey in january 05. Like I said I don’t know how much that means to anyone else, but i know it made me happy lol.

    Maybe there is hope afterall!

  2. hockeyhead says:

    the only ones benefitting from this is the NBA.

    anyone see the C’s last night?

    the nhl needs an NBA lockout.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 19Yzerman says:

    NBA is headed right where hockey is right now. A state of lockout. Everything I am hearing is an echo of the last years NHL talks.

    U.S.A. Networks???

    This is an area that seems to escape accountability for this NHL lockout. ESPN/ABC sports is worse than an egotistical athlete. Its self glorifying broadcasts of the best 25 years of this and that has me wondering what about sports prior to the ESPN era? They act like sport wasn’t sports untill they came long. Tell that to Franko Harris and Joe Nammath

  4. hockeyhead says:

    great….i mean i watch the celtics cuz there is no hockey…..when the nba is locked out fans can go to the nhl….if there is one.

  5. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    The Ron Artest thing is just the tip of the iceberg withthe NBA. while they have a WAY WAY WAY better TV deal – they also have a bunch of convict players who aren’t who you want your kids to grow up and be. Another classy story is Labron James knocking up a girl and her having a baby before the season. The guy is 19. Soon, he will have somebody to play Xbox with in the Hummer.

  6. hockeyhead says:

    i wouldn’t diss the king, yet. i think he is married to this girl or if anything less, they are together and it is his son. people have had kids at a young age through out time. as long as you are a good provider and stick together then it does not matter age.

    coby is a bad example, a.i. is a bad example

    basketball will be in trouble, but they are big in the markets that hockey is not….which is a lot (that rhymed and you know it rhymed marge).

  7. 19Yzerman says:

    With the latest issue of playboy having its first Cyborg Playmate. By the time that kid is old enough to play Xbox they will have Xrated adult video se X box games.

  8. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    What will Hef think of next?

  9. Aetherial says:

    Well apparently the NHLPA has asked to meet and that they are preparign a proposal. I guess one of a couple things will happen:

    1) The NHLPA proposes a dela that includes a cap (ROFL! I doubt it. They have not hurt nearly enough yet to suggest that)

    2) The NHLPA proposes a deal that has a luxury tax structure with some more bite than the last one.

    3) The NHLPA proposes something that is not much better than their last proposal.

    If it is 1) there will be hockey. If it is 2) there will be hockey if the owners decide that the tax is workable and they can agree to their own *cap* which amounts to the tax level. If it is 3), then this is just another move so that the players can attempt to block the inevitable declaration of an impasse.

    I am betting on 3).

  10. 19Yzerman says:

    Bet on three this way murphy’s law can kick in and will can have hockey again.

    My HDS (Hockey Deprevation Syndrome) isn’t improving either. I am like Beavis in that movie Beavis and Butthead do America. After eating a handfull of Percosets and Xzanax. Screaming I am cornholio.

    I know you are waiting for them all to go bankrupt and want them to all scramble like a colonoy of ants that was spryed with RAID.

  11. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    The Beavis episode where Beavis and Butthead go to the beat poetry place and they get wired on Coffee is CLASSIC.

    If I ran a team I would play that clip at EVERY game. Kids today need the positive influences of our generation…

  12. 19Yzerman says:

    I AM CORHOLIO!!!!!!!!!!!

    are you threatening me??

    Looking tv

  13. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    “I need TP for my bunghole – bungholio!”

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