Rocks Rumours: New US TV Deal? and a New Schedule

The popular American Network NBC has a 2 year contract to broadcast NHL games this year, but many fans in the United States still believe that the deal signed for NBC isn’t strong enough to promote hockey back to the United States. After all, as fickle as the fans can be in states where the market is thin, they need to be inticed to watch more hockey come October 2005, and the select games NBC is willing to broadcast isnt enough to generate interest back into the NHL. However, reports out of Philadelphia claim that TV corporation Comcast Corp is preparing a bid to broadcast even more NHL games nationwide. Perhaps this will be healthy for the NHL as both NBC and Comcast are competing for the NHL, which could entice ESPN to come back into the Fray. Perhaps this competition will create a demand for the NHL, and this could lead to improved coverage, and wider acceptance.

According to the Toronto Sun, there is a new schedule style being worked out. According to the Sun, there will be at least 8 matchups between divisional rivals, and at least 10 matchups between conference rivals. To Toronto fans, this means 8 Montreal vs. Toronto matchups. Don’t get me wrong here, Toronto is a team that brings fans to the arena, you cannot deny that. Unfortunately with this rule, it prevents as many west coast trips for the Leafs. This means decreased revenues for teams who need the extra boost including Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Additionally, many teams around the league who depend on high profile teams to come around once and a while may not even see them once in a year. Moreover, teams will now save on travel expenses because they will be mostly playing on their side of North America. This means no Toronto vs. Florida on Monday, and Toronto vs. Vancouver on Tuesday. Even more is that teams will now not have rediculously long road trips, as its more likely to have an interdivisional matchup.

Sources: Spector’s Hockey, TheFourthPeriod

19 Responses to Rocks Rumours: New US TV Deal? and a New Schedule

  1. PayUpSucka says:

    Comcast does an excellent job with the flyers, love to see them take this over.

  2. Flyer_Dman says:


    But I can’t stand Coatsey.

  3. markjohnston says:

    why is ottawa going to see decreased revenues? they will be playing the leafs and habs a tonne.

  4. TheCoach says:

    Ottawa won’t see decreased revenues. More people will go watch Ottawa vs. Toronto and Ottawa vs. Montreal than they would Ottawa vs. Columbus or Ottawa vs. Minnesota.

  5. simplyhabby says:

    As a purist hockey fan, Montreal vs. Toronto, vs. Boston, vs. Ottawa X8 makes me salivate heavily. The best division in hockey beating the crap out of each other X8. SWEET!!

  6. goleafsgo1328 says:

    I believe Comcast also does Carolina Hurricane’s games too, and when I was down there on business I caught a game and they did a very well job presenting it.

  7. habsoverserver says:

    The unbalanced schedule is similar to MLB and the NFL.

    Since football dominates the weekend through Monday night, it leaves only three possible nights a week to televise hockey in the fall.

  8. PayUpSucka says:

    Hahaha, I was waiting for someone to say that. Good one.

  9. nordiques100 says:

    wouldnt it be ironic to have the sens who almost went bankrupt a few years back be among the top 10 revenue teams and having to support the low revenue teams.

  10. 19Yzerman says:

    I must extend my graditude out to the people at comcast because the only games I saw during the lockout were on comcast. One day during this last winter while speaking to a comcast rep about our sevices I asked if we would be getting our bill discounted and told them that part of what I pay for was watching NHL hockey reagrdless of what network it is on. They told me that what ever the networks show is based on the ratings almost as though knowing nothing of an NHL let alone its lockout.

    From what I recall of the NBC deal it was for a very few number of games. Maybe 15? Anyone know?

    I have heard of some sort of new schedule which would have less games of east vs west conf teams. I heard the formula for schedules but, it was somewhat complex and it was on talk radio so my consentration wasn’t 100%. What I do recall was how a match up like Wings vs Leafs would equate to once every 3 years or so between heads up games.

    First we must hear the official announcement of the new CBA.

    Secound the announcement of draft selections.

    Then an announcement of a TV deal.

    Untill then I will be listening to Carly Simon singing “Anticipation”.

  11. Beerios says:

    I just have that feeling ESPN dives back into the NHL again. Maybe not this year, but next.

    And of course at a much lower rate.

  12. BLACKNGOLD248 says:

    Old time hockey at it’s best. Throw in the Sabres and we’re having a blast. Rock ’em sock ’em, drop the gloves and go hockey! That will get the fans going! But we still got to get rid of the instigator penalties.

  13. Timaa says:

    As much as Coatesy can get on everyone’s nerves, I can’t wait to see him, Dorny, and J.J. back broadcasting the Flyers. Sorry, for anyone outside the Philly area, for name dropping.

  14. CechmanekForVezina says:

    Coatsey is the man. His cracked-out approach to hockey can get anyone excited.

  15. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    My lead story on tomorrow is about Comcast getting the national US broadcast rights to the NHL. After the VOOM failure, the Dolans and Cablevision will likely not be able to stomach the acquistion of a new network. Comcast will.

    Ed Snider has the NHL pull to land the deal. ESPN’s abandon of the league will cost them especially as people relaize POKER IS NOT A SPORT not is spelling BEES..!!!!!

    Nevertheless, the NHL can’t lose if they have two bidders for their TV rights. Because no matter HOW you cut it Canada is less than the TV audince of California. The US IS the BEST possible market for the NHL even if Americans don’t know they love hockey. One hint for the NHL – all games in HD. Do a deal with the sat networks for an all HD hockey package. I would pay $250 for it myself.


  16. goleafsgo1328 says:

    I heard they didnt retain those guys and there will be new guys in their place, but you never know.

  17. adambuffalo says:

    I love the NHL pay-per-view package you can get on satelite and cable networks, but I believe it may be hurting tv deals. I’ve had it for the past couple of years because it was the only way I could watch Buffalo while I was living in Phoenix and Vegas. It is great, because I just switch back and fourth between 4-6 games a night. The problem is, during this time I didn’t watch a single game on network TV or ESPN. If NBC, Fox, ESPN or anyone else played a lot more games, I think more people would start watching the games a lot more. It’s hard to build a fan base when you only show 10 games a year on TV. Especially when they are the same 4 teams playing every time.

  18. cgolding says:

    well coatsey has been doing random stuff for CSN throughout the lockout…

    they didn’t pay them through the lockout, but if they want to come back i’m sure they will be invited.

  19. rojoke says:

    No matter what major network the NHL goes to, it’s not going to get more than one game a week, and it will most likely be a weekend game. ABC didn’t start its schedule of games until the All-Star break, so it showed, most seasons, 8 or 9 games. By the time they did that, the casual fan who hadn’t really been paying attention to ESPN and any other outlets most likely weren’t aware of the standings, so for all they knew, they could be watching two teams who weren’t even in a playoff hunt. The NHL, if it is seeking to lure new fans to the game, should require that their network partner begin their schedule of games in October. That way, it can take the first month or so to help educate those novices about the game.

    When the NBC deal was announced last summer, it was believed that the network was going to broadcast their games either on Saturday or Sunday. But now, NBC is back in the football game, taking over the Sunday night games. As a result, it is unlikely that they will be showing any games for the first half of the season, until after the Super Bowl. From a marketing point of view, it would be a good idea to fill that Sunday evening time slot with NHL hockey. Take advantage of that sports audience that you’re already getting. They’ll already be in the habit of tuning into for the past five months, so build on that. You’d probably move the start times back an hour for games in the eastern time zone from NFL games, but that’s a minor change.

    There was a suggestion that instead of going with a network deal, the league should go with a cable package. This would allow them to maybe do something more innovative like miking the benches or individual players, without having to censor anything or operating on a time delay. There was even a story on a Canadian sports network about getting someone like movie and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who’s a big hockey fan, to help the networks in their coverage of the game to make it more appealing and help draw new fans. Half of the problem with the NHL’s inability to draw a TV audience is that the camera angles in many arenas is just horrible. I’ve watched games from Pittsburgh where it looks like the camera is hanging 5 feet from the roof of the building.

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