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post #1 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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NHL, NBC sign record-setting 10-year TV deal

By Bob Condor - NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

In a deal that will deliver more nationally televised hockey to American fans than ever before, the National Hockey League and the NBC Sports Group have reached agreement on a record 10-year television and media rights deal, taking the partnership through the 2020-21 season.

NBC remains the exclusive network home of the NHL and Versus stays as the exclusive cable home of the NHL in the United States. NBC and Versus will both feature exclusive "Game of the Week" time slots during the regular season. Between them, NBC and Versus will telecast 100 exclusive regular-season games, nearly double this just-completed regular season total.

Even better news for NHL fans in the U.S.: This deal marks the first-ever national distribution of all Stanley Cup Playoffs games, including, for the first time, exclusive coverage starting with the League conference semifinals. Dick Ebersol, chairman of the NBC Sports Group, told assembled media at NHL offices in New York (plus others on a conference call) that every postseason game will be broadcast in entirety on NBC, Versus or "a major NBC Universal national cable channel."

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said he "couldn't be happier" to renew the relationship and "the promise of what NBC Universal/Comcast is going to be is exciting." He noted the sport of hockey will now be discussed, promoted and celebrated on 20 NBC Universal networks and another 40-plus digital platforms.

Industry observers were widely impressed with the decade-length of the deal after months of reporting on the League's courting by several suitors.

"This is the most significant U.S. media rights partnership in the League's history," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "NBC Universal / Comcast is one of the most important, connected and wired' media companies in the U.S., and as the potential of the NBC Sports Group is realized, the importance of our relationship will become more apparent to hockey fans and our business partners."

Ebersol, who announced Versus is "no more than 90 days away" from changing its name to one with NBC in it, said exclusivity during the playoffs is "the most important thing" in the record 10-year deal because "it is a two-month season that vibrates."

"I like the rabid fan base in each and every city during the playoffs," Ebersol told NHL.com. "That doesn't exist in every city in other sports, that deep level of rabidness. That's not to say you won't see it in some cities. It's that in the NHL it is rabid in every city (and arena).

Along with the NBC/Versus share for the Cup Final, Ebersol said that starting with the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, of a possible 28 games during the NHL's second round, 24 will be broadcast in full on Versus and another four on NBC. For the conference finals, 12 of the possible 14 games will be on Versus and the other two on NBC.

The new agreement calls for the NBC Sports Group to have a national NBC broadcast on Thanksgiving Friday.

During the regular season, NBC will continue to broadcast the NHL Winter Classic and "Hockey Day in America." Versus will telecast its exclusive national "Game of the Week," plus NHL Premiere Games, NHL Faceoff, the NHL All-Star Game and any future NHL Heritage Classic outdoor games in Canada.

The NBC Sports Group's commitment includes building a new studio for NHL Network at its existing facility in Stamford, Conn.

"NBC Sports and Comcast have been fantastic partners," Bettman said. "They have provided incredible coverage of our sport and have teamed with us to deliver the best TV viewership figures in three decades. It is a credit to our players, our great game and our outstanding fans that Brian Roberts, Steve Burke, Dick Ebersol and their teams would make a commitment of this scale. We also know the best is yet to come."

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post #2 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 02:22 PM
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So, Versus is to be rebranded. I'm guessing ESPNBC is a non-starter, huh?

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post #3 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 02:29 PM
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So, Versus is to be rebranded. I'm guessing ESPNBC is a non-starter, huh?
Believe I read where it's going to be called NBC Cable Sports.
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post #4 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 02:31 PM
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Yeah, but what's the fun in that?

I'm thinking HRSN. Hockey and Rodeo Sports Network.

Or HRSEDWN ...Hockey, Rodeo and Stuff ESPN Doesn't Want Network

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post #5 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
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At today's NHL/NBC announcement, Dick Ebersol, Chairman NBC Sports Group, announced Versus is "no more than 90 days away" from changing its name to one with NBC in it.

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post #6 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Or HRSEDWN ...Hockey, Rodeo and Stuff ESPN Doesn't Want Network
Bing!

We have a winner.

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post #7 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 03:35 PM
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Doesn't ESPN still air rodeo?
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post #8 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 04:44 PM
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How about CSNBC (a nice tie-in with the CSNs, which I assume will eventually be rebranded as well)? Too close to CNBC? Maybe it's time to rebrand CNBC then...


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post #9 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 06:45 PM
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TSEDA

The **** ESPN Doesn't Air.
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post #10 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 08:13 PM
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The NBC Sports Group's commitment includes building a new studio for NHL Network at its existing facility in Stamford, Conn.

I like this part.
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post #11 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Ken H View Post

The NBC Sports Group's commitment includes building a new studio for NHL Network at its existing facility in Stamford, Conn.

Dick Ebersol could always talk to his old pal Vince McMahon, who has a top of the notch television facility to broadcast his World Wrestling Entertainment around the world. The WWE is headquartered in Stamford.
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post #12 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 08:28 PM
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My guess is that USA Network is where the other playoff games will end up airing other than Versus/NBC
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post #13 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

Yeah, but what's the fun in that?

I'm thinking HRSN. Hockey and Rodeo Sports Network.

Or HRSEDWN ...Hockey, Rodeo and Stuff ESPN Doesn't Want Network

Except that ESPN was in the bidding for this until the end, so clearly they did want the NHL.
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post #14 of 28 Old 04-19-2011, 10:24 PM
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My guess is that USA Network is where the other playoff games will end up airing other than Versus/NBC

Or possibly CNBC or MSNBC - both have HD channels and for weekend games have the time to spare (barring breaking news items).
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post #15 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 05:14 AM
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Except that ESPN was in the bidding for this until the end, so clearly they did want the NHL.

Or they wanted a competitor to pay dearly for the NHL.

Free over the air HDTV + Tivo HD + Netflix for Blu-ray and streaming = Bliss
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post #16 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 06:23 AM
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Dick Ebersol could always talk to his old pal Vince McMahon, who has a top of the notch television facility to broadcast his World Wrestling Entertainment around the world. The WWE is headquartered in Stamford.

The Versus studio is also already here in Stamford, so that's most likely where the NHL Network will go.
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post #17 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 06:34 AM
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Or they wanted a competitor to pay dearly for the NHL.

At $2 billion over 10 years, it hardly seems like that's the case. The old contract had them paying $120 million per year. Now it's up to an even $200 million, and they get to carry more national games.

After the Olympics and some college sports, I'm sure they'll want to pick up something else. The NBA would be the most obvious choice given NBC's history, but I assume Turner is now heavily invested in basketball after signing on for the NCAA tournament. MLB is probably an easier get, and I doubt Fox would put up much of a fight for the World Series.


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post #18 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 12:47 PM
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I'm sure you'll see Versus get into more homes, and get better placement, now that Comcast has more leverage with providers by controlling the NBC properties.
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post #19 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 12:57 PM
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Well, that's assuming they get more marquee sports on Vs. Hockey doesn't have nearly the nationwide draw the NFL does. And they can't negotiate NBC carriage in cities where they don't own the affiliate. Granted, they have a lot of other channels, but they're not quite as "must-have" as ESPN or CNN. They need more gotta-have programming.

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post #20 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 01:58 PM
 
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This deal is stupid. I guess the NHL wants to kill off it's league for good. No wonder the NFL is #1. They are the only league that actually shows most of it's regular season games and 100% of it's playoff games over broadcast TV.
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post #21 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by humdinger70 View Post

Or possibly CNBC or MSNBC - both have HD channels and for weekend games have the time to spare (barring breaking news items).

NBC will handle simultaneous NHL games like Olympic coverage.

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post #22 of 28 Old 04-20-2011, 05:09 PM
 
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Or possibly CNBC or MSNBC - both have HD channels and for weekend games have the time to spare (barring breaking news items).

They do? Please let Charter know about this. Apparently they are unaware.
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post #23 of 28 Old 04-21-2011, 08:53 AM
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I couldn't be happier with this deal! I mean yesterday I almost missed the entire first period of the Red Wings game and part of that was so Versus could do post-game interviews. They only have a half a dozen or so channels they could have played the beginning of the game on but thankfully they didn't because I really wanted to watch the Wings game. Next they need to put a team in Phoenix, Two in Florida and a few more in huge hockey states like Georgia and Tennessee. They could probably get Bernie Madoff to take care of their finances from jail. Hell arguably the most exciting sport may one day be able to be as big as that awesome sport where 6' 8" men bounce a ball and put it in a hole they can reach without jumping.
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post #24 of 28 Old 04-21-2011, 09:43 AM
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This deal is stupid. I guess the NHL wants to kill off it's league for good. No wonder the NFL is #1. They are the only league that actually shows most of it's regular season games and 100% of it's playoff games over broadcast TV.

The ONLY thing I like about the deal, which is being mentioned here, is that they are promising that playoff games will be aired across the NBC family of network in its entirety, so nobody gets screwed out of missing the first period of the game they want to see because of OT of a game they don't care about.

The rest is, of course, dumb except that I suspect Comcast (NBC/Versus) was offering the biggest rights fee, probably blew out ESPN's offer by a large margin.

Yes the NFL shows 100% of its playoff games on broadcast TV, but it's the only league to do so. The NBA doesn't even do that, and MLB even has an LCS exclusively on cable. So I'm not sure comparing it to the NFL does any good. The NHL should be aiming as a goal to overtake NBA in popularity one day, not even touch MLB or NFL.

But one NFL comparison is worth noting: In the NFL, take ANY team and have them go 16-0. The Raiders, the Jags, anybody. What happens the season following that, no matter how they do in the playoffs: That team gets the max national TV games, of course. And why? Simple: the NFL wants to promote it's good teams and fans want to see good matchups. So teams with good records and teams who go far in the playoffs and defending champs get tons of national TV games. The rest of the national TV spots are filled in by rivalries of some kind (division or Pats/Colts type).

Now go to the NHL, and specifically the NHL on NBC. The Panthers or Ducks or Predators could go 82-0 and win the Cup. Let's even say win the Cup 5 years in a row. You STILL wouldn't get them on a NHL national "Game of the week" on NBC, and if by some chance you did, it would ONLY be because they were playing one of these teams: Pens, Rangers, Flyers, Bruins, Caps, Red Wings, or Blackhawks, but honestly, NBC would much prefer, no matter what, to only show matchups between those teams.

That's a legitimate gripe. The NHL has no power with NBC to promote good teams, since NBC is so scared of potential ratings issues they only want to show the same teams, primarily in the Northeast. My personal example is the San Jose Sharks: 4 consecutive division titles, and last four years either a 2 seed or higher, including one President's Trophy. A team with that kind of equivalent regular season success in the NFL would get the max national tv appearances every season during that stretch. In the NFL the logic would be that the Sharks are good so we'll show fans nationwide matchups with them versus other good teams. But in the NHL with NBC calling the shots on who is on NBC? Since moving to the single game national game of the week format, the San Jose Sharks have YET to appear in a regular season game. I think that's 5 seasons and counting.

And please spare us the timeslot excuse, first of all they do need to get a better timeslot, but nobody has a problem watching football on broadcast TV at 10:00am Pacific, they'll sure enough watch their elite NHL team at 9:30am. Absolutely pathetic by the NBC, and the NHL (for their tacit approval of this crap), and that alone gives every true hockey fan the right to shake their head in disapproval as to this decade long deal IMHO. If you are a true NHL/hockey fan living in the US, you want to see good teams play, no matter what division they play in, even if they play in the division NBC hates, the Pacific, which this season sent 4 teams to the playoffs and the one that missed tied for the most points ever by a non-playoff team (Dallas Stars, 95 pts). But NBC doesn't want to put any Pacific teams on, which is why in the Winter Classic you'll never see a Pacific team in it, EVEN as the road team [so you can spare us the location excuses]
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post #25 of 28 Old 04-21-2011, 10:01 AM
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Yes the NFL shows 100% of its playoff games on broadcast TV, but it's the only league to do so.

Pretty sure that if the NFL playoffs were all best-of-seven, played in ten days' time, every one of those games wouldn't be on broadcast TV, either.

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post #26 of 28 Old 04-21-2011, 10:30 AM
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can't compare the NFL television setup to the other 3 major pro sports.

Local team tv deals, schedule, # of games, playoff structure...
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post #27 of 28 Old 04-21-2011, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pappy97 View Post

The ONLY thing I like about the deal, which is being mentioned here, is that they are promising that playoff games will be aired across the NBC family of network in its entirety, so nobody gets screwed out of missing the first period of the game they want to see because of OT of a game they don't care about.

The rest is, of course, dumb except that I suspect Comcast (NBC/Versus) was offering the biggest rights fee, probably blew out ESPN's offer by a large margin.

Yes the NFL shows 100% of its playoff games on broadcast TV, but it's the only league to do so. The NBA doesn't even do that, and MLB even has an LCS exclusively on cable. So I'm not sure comparing it to the NFL does any good. The NHL should be aiming as a goal to overtake NBA in popularity one day, not even touch MLB or NFL.

But one NFL comparison is worth noting: In the NFL, take ANY team and have them go 16-0. The Raiders, the Jags, anybody. What happens the season following that, no matter how they do in the playoffs: That team gets the max national TV games, of course. And why? Simple: the NFL wants to promote it's good teams and fans want to see good matchups. So teams with good records and teams who go far in the playoffs and defending champs get tons of national TV games. The rest of the national TV spots are filled in by rivalries of some kind (division or Pats/Colts type).

Now go to the NHL, and specifically the NHL on NBC. The Panthers or Ducks or Predators could go 82-0 and win the Cup. Let's even say win the Cup 5 years in a row. You STILL wouldn't get them on a NHL national "Game of the week" on NBC, and if by some chance you did, it would ONLY be because they were playing one of these teams: Pens, Rangers, Flyers, Bruins, Caps, Red Wings, or Blackhawks, but honestly, NBC would much prefer, no matter what, to only show matchups between those teams.

That's a legitimate gripe. The NHL has no power with NBC to promote good teams, since NBC is so scared of potential ratings issues they only want to show the same teams, primarily in the Northeast. My personal example is the San Jose Sharks: 4 consecutive division titles, and last four years either a 2 seed or higher, including one President's Trophy. A team with that kind of equivalent regular season success in the NFL would get the max national tv appearances every season during that stretch. In the NFL the logic would be that the Sharks are good so we'll show fans nationwide matchups with them versus other good teams. But in the NHL with NBC calling the shots on who is on NBC? Since moving to the single game national game of the week format, the San Jose Sharks have YET to appear in a regular season game. I think that's 5 seasons and counting.

And please spare us the timeslot excuse, first of all they do need to get a better timeslot, but nobody has a problem watching football on broadcast TV at 10:00am Pacific, they'll sure enough watch their elite NHL team at 9:30am. Absolutely pathetic by the NBC, and the NHL (for their tacit approval of this crap), and that alone gives every true hockey fan the right to shake their head in disapproval as to this decade long deal IMHO. If you are a true NHL/hockey fan living in the US, you want to see good teams play, no matter what division they play in, even if they play in the division NBC hates, the Pacific, which this season sent 4 teams to the playoffs and the one that missed tied for the most points ever by a non-playoff team (Dallas Stars, 95 pts). But NBC doesn't want to put any Pacific teams on, which is why in the Winter Classic you'll never see a Pacific team in it, EVEN as the road team [so you can spare us the location excuses]


I completely undertand your gripe with the fact that the NHL doesn't promote teams in that are not among the major markets. What's worse is Versus and NBC's complete snub of showing any Canadian teams either besides the Penguins, Rangers, Red Wings, or Bruins being involved in the game. There really seems to be a disconnect between the American and Canadian teams in terms of coverage in the United States. What's worse about the coverage of NBC/Versus is that those major market teams games that are all on Versus are against one another. It's the same matchup every week; Flyers/Rangers, Hawks/Wings, Pens/Caps. Don't get me wrong we want to see these games but seeing them every single time gets tiresome and can be irrelevant when their is a more intriguing matchup that week.
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post #28 of 28 Old 04-22-2011, 07:52 AM
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I have NHL CI on DirecTV and also through D* Versus. I bet with this deal I will see fewer games I want during the regular season. If they proceed with the "Versus Exclusive" games, other games around that time slot will no longer be shown on NHL CI just as on weekends games in the Fox exclusive slot can't be shown on MLB EI. If NBC shows multiple games on Sunday, will all those games be available (through NHL CI or cable) or only the one "in my area" which they presume I want to watch?

I also love this statement:

"I like the rabid fan base in each and every city during the playoffs," Ebersol told NHL.com. "That doesn't exist in every city in other sports, that deep level of rabidness. That's not to say you won't see it in some cities. It's that in the NHL it is rabid in every city (and arena).

While Eberson talks about the rabid fan base, with this deal I will see fewer games with the home team announcers I like. They may be "homers," but I can choose who to listen to. Instead I will be forced to watch national broadcasts with announcers who are trying, and usually not succeeding, to hide their partisan feelings about one team or another.

Last, the video quality of the nationally televised games varies tremendously in quality and is usually inferior to the RSNs broadcasts from the same facilities. Take the last Rangers/Caps game for example. When MSG broadcasts from the Garden, the games are beautiful examples of how good video can be. Every game Versus or NBC has broadcasts looks awful.

True hockey fans cannot believe this is a good deal for hockey compared to the way they watch now.

SMK
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