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NHL done deal - Page 10  

post #271 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeykid
For what it is worth. Called D* customer retention & asked for a price on Center Ice. The rep said $129 for earlybird special until Aug 12th. Told him nothing was on website or advertised anyware. He was clueless so I wasn't about to ask him if there was going to be Center Ice HD.

Confirmed. I called and got the same response. The early bird special will go till Oct 31st, one month longer than usual, because the NHL wants customers back, but maybe not enough. They are giving a whopping ten dollars off Center Ice to "entice" fans back. Actually my guess would be the NHL lowered the amount to 80 dollars per subscriber that D* has to pay and Rupert and D* raised it 10 dollars and then tell you they are giving you 10 dollars off and you are saving.
post #272 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzen102
It's clear to me. OLN announced these three VOD "channels" (Hazardous, Hooks and Bullets, and OLN HD) back in Janauary. Hazardous and Hooks and Bullets went "live" in April.

Yeah, looking it at it again, I believe you're correct. One question... are those other VOD "channels" PPV or free?

I get Comcast HD, and I wonder if Comcast would offer OLN-HD as free VOD (highly doubt). I don't think they have any free VOD HD programming. Just PPV HD movies when I checked it before.
post #273 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveInBerlinNJ
Yeah, looking it at it again, I believe you're correct. One question... are those other VOD "channels" PPV or free?

I get Comcast HD, and I wonder if Comcast would offer OLN-HD as free VOD (highly doubt). I don't think they have any free VOD HD programming. Just PPV HD movies when I checked it before.
I currently have OLN HD VOD for free (or at least included with something) on my Comcast right now. I think I've had it for a few weeks.
post #274 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkwjr
Tim Panaccio, the writer from the Philadelphia Inquirer who broke the Comcast Deal, was just on The Fan 590 in Toronto. He believes ESPN will negotiate with the NHL to carry some games this year. Tim said this will be good for the league and TV viewers, competition will keep everyone on their toes.
For the people with satellite, he said the NHL has told Comcast the NHL games they broadcast, must be made available to all dish users.

I wonder if this means they'll lose their loophole? I'd been thinking they might have to give it up if they signed on for NHL, assuming they'd have to release to satellite to appease the NHL areas that don't get Comcast.
post #275 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaudot
I currently have OLN HD VOD for free (or at least included with something) on my Comcast right now. I think I've had it for a few weeks.

Well, thats the best bit of news I've heard for a while... now I just gotta find out why I don't get it yet! I live in the heart of Comcast Country!

beaudot, where you at? (if you don't mind sharing)
post #276 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveInBerlinNJ
Well, thats the best bit of news I've heard for a while... now I just gotta find out why I don't get it yet! I live in the heart of Comcast Country!

beaudot, where you at? (if you don't mind sharing)
Richmond,VA
post #277 of 567
I'm curious if they'd have to release HD feeds of the games to satellite? If only SD that would blow.
post #278 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by aldiesel
OLN is part of Total Choice on channel 608.
MY BAD! I stand corrected on that...still want to see NHL in HD though!!!
post #279 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitzen102
Why do you think that?

Comcast could put the HD games on one of the INHD channels or on another HD "special events" channel.
No Comcast HD will EVER be provided to D*TV!!! (EDIT -- However, have read that part of the deal with Comcast is that EVERY NHL game broadcast MUST be provided to the satellite companies...now does that include the HD broadcasts or only the SD-version of the SAME GAME!!!??? Hmmmmm.....)
post #280 of 567
Since the NHL seems almost frantic to get its product out in HD, one would assume that would include satellite.

Of course if ESPN/ESPN2 matches the Comcast deal none of this speculation will matter.
post #281 of 567
According to one website it appears as if ESPN will not match Comcast's offer and Comcast will get the NHL. Source: www.hockeyrumors.blogspot.com
post #282 of 567
In my mind if the NHL can't make a deal with ESPN and actually does migrate off to OLN (OLN????) it will cement its image as a far less than first-rate American sport.
If it wants to be a niche attraction -- somewhere between beach volleyball and women's soccer -- leaving ESPN is the right thing to do.
But to give up all the ESPN cross-promotion is insane, even if the dollars were to stack up in a slightly smaller pile.

A Soured Relationship Could Be Sweet Again
TV-RADIO: By Mike Penner Los Angeles Times August 12, 2005

At least hockey fans are familiar with the strategy ESPN is using in its off-again, on-again interest in NHL television rights.

It is called dump and chase.

Dump the contract in April, let Comcast do the dirty work and make the NHL a tangible offer, then chase the contract again.

Comcast dropped the puck this week with its two-year, $100-million offer to televise the NHL on its Outdoor Life Network, which is the kind of found humor Gary Bettman's league seems to pride itself in.

Ice hockey, the quintessential indoor sport, on the Outdoor Life Network?

That makes as much sense as having more NHL franchises south of Kentucky than in Canada, but that's the NHL.

Of course, the Outdoor Life Network prefers to cloak itself behind its initials, OLN, a handle that became popular among cycling enthusiasts, who came to know the channel as the Only Lance Network. The NHL on OLN? It does have a ring. Say it fast enough and no one will have the chance to make any more outdoor hockey jokes.

Then again, the issue could be moot if ESPN exercises its right to match any offer. Earlier this week, the network, which declined an option to televise NHL games on ESPN2 for $60 million this season, issued a statement, saying: "We have a matching right and remain interested in continuing our relationship with the NHL, as long as the deal is commensurate with the value of the rights being offered."

Now ESPN has a number to work with — a smaller number — and the NHL and ESPN have motivation to reach an accord.

For the NHL, the incentive is obvious. For better or worse, ESPN is the leading brand name in American sports television. In today's media culture, the ESPN logo has a legitimizing effect on any activity — even non-sports — it chooses to air. Look what the network has done for poker, fishing and competitive eating.

Without its long-standing ESPN rubber stamp, the NHL risks becoming more of a niche sport tucked away on a niche network.

But ESPN also needs the NHL. What kind of "Worldwide Leader in Sports" allows the sport of Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull to leave the building, quit the family, vacate the premises without a fight?

Keeping the NHL makes economic as well as promotional sense for ESPN, which has had a virtual monopoly in the national cable sports market ever since it squashed Fox's challenge. Let the NHL slip away to OLN and ESPN will essentially assist in birthing a new cable rival.

At the moment, OLN is available in about 61 million U.S. households. That figure lags behind ESPN2's 70-million-plus homes, but OLN should be able to increase its range by adding the NHL to its portfolio.

Comcast has big-time aspirations for OLN, which earned recognition and respectability among sports fans with its outstanding Tour de France coverage. OLN has already acquired such former ESPN properties as the America's Cup and the Boston Marathon, and its Gravity Games are an obvious rival to ESPN's X Games.

Journalistically, ESPN benefits by keeping the NHL. Unlike certain other higher-profile sports, ESPN knows how to cover hockey. It has 20 years of experience to bank on, and over that time it has assembled the network's most impressive roster of single-sport commentators: Barry Melrose, Bill Clement, John Davidson, Darren Pang, Gary Thorne.

ESPN needs to do more of what it does well, not less.

To paraphrase the old industry axiom: If it ain't broke, don't let it traipse off to OLN.

Familiar Strategy

Terms of the Comcast deal call for two nationally televised NHL games a week on OLN for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. The NHL would have the right to opt out of the agreement after the 2006-07 season. Should the NHL decide to stay on after two seasons, Comcast has a one-year option followed by a three-year option.

Comcast's interest in the NHL extends beyond its desire to pump up OLN's profile. Comcast is a major owner of the Philadelphia Flyers. Its designs on the NHL echo those of Disney's a decade ago, when the owner of the Mighty Ducks had a vested interest in propping up the sport, eventually signing off on an outrageous five-year, $600-million deal to televise NHL games on ABC and ESPN.

That agreement wound up harming the NHL more than helping it, creating the false impression that the NHL was a "boom" league in the United States when in fact it had legs only until Gretzky put aside his skates.

It also contributed in an increase in player salaries, which led to the 2004-05 lockout, which led to ESPN's dumping the television contract in April, which led to Comcast's jumping into the game, which led everyone to where we are today — waiting for ESPN to make the next move.
post #283 of 567
They have to be on ESPN to be taken seriously? ESPN was putting on poor hockey broadcasts and making fun of it on Sportscenter and the 'editorial' style shows. Still, despite all that ESPN has done to try and drive down the NHL, they should sign with them anyway?

NHL would try to make sure that the programming is available to CI subscribers at a minimum, regardless of platform. The situation may be that Comcast makes it available, but D*, E*, and other providers simply decide not to carry it.
post #284 of 567
People, repeat after me: hockey IS a niche sport, hockey IS a niche sport, hockey IS a niche sport...

I got these from a, frankly, unknown to me website, but I have little doubt the numbers are accurate. here's the site: http://www.andrewsstarspage.com/NHL-...TV-Ratings.htm

NHL U.S. TV Ratings

Stanley Cup Finals
Year Network Teams Games Carried Rating

1995 Fox New Jersey-Detroit 2 3.4
1996 Fox Colorado-Florida 2 3.6
1997 Fox Detroit-Philadelphia 1 4.0
1998 Fox Detroit-Washington 1 3.3
1999 Fox Dallas-Buffalo 3 3.4
2000 ABC New Jersey-Dallas 4 3.7
2001 ABC Colorado-New Jersey 5 3.3
2002 ABC Detroit-Carolina 3 3.6
2003 ABC New Jersey-Anaheim 5 2.9
2004 ABC Tampa Bay-Calgary 5 2.6

Regular Season
Season Network # of Dates Rating

1994-95 Fox 5 2.0
1995-96 Fox 6 2.1
1996-97 Fox 6 1.9
1997-98 Fox 11 1.4
1998-99 Fox 11 1.4
1999-00 ABC 4 1.3
2000-01 ABC 5 1.1
2001-02 ABC 5 1.4
2002-03 ABC 5 1.1
2003-04 ABC 5 1.1

Recent ESPN/ESPN 2 Ratings (Regular Season)
Season Network Rating Network Rating

2001-02 ESPN 0.49 ESPN2 0.23
2002-03 ESPN 0.46 ESPN2 0.23
2003-04 ESPN 0.47 ESPN2 0.24

NHL All-Star Game Ratings
Year Network Rating
1991 NBC 2.7
1992 NBC 2.3
1993 NBC 2.4
1994 NBC 2.5
1995 No Game Due To Lockout
1996 Fox 4.1
1997 Fox 2.8
1998 Fox 2.7
1999 Fox 2.2
2000 ABC 2.7
2001 ABC 1.7
2002 ABC 1.8
2003 ABC 1.7
2004 ABC 1.8


Just for fun, I found some wrestling numbers for this year, again from some unknown website: http://www.gerweck.net/ratings.htm


year RAW SMACKDOWN TNA? (never heard of it)
2005 3.83 3.30 0.22


So, your basic RAW or Smackdown TV showing easily gets ratings as good or better than the STANLEY CUP FINALS! These rasslin' shows CRUSH regular season broadcasts.

ESPN2 broadcasts are on par with "TNA" wrestling... and I NEVER HEARD OF "TNA" WRESTLING.

Someone, anyone, please enlighten me. Why does the NHL NEED to be on ESPN? Seriously, look at the ratings. Did anyone get the feeling that ESPN was providing NHL coverage that no one else could ever possible equal? If so, take a look at those ratings again.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind if the NHL was on ESPN again... personally. I get ESPN, and the duece, and ESPN-HD. I get a kick out of Buccigross. It'd be great for me. But ESPN clearly isn't helping hockey... and hockey ratings certainly aren't helping ESPN.

Hockey is a niche sport.

That doesn't make it bad. That doesn't mean we can't all hope that the rest of the world someday catches on, and recognizes the wonderful things WE see in the sport. It doesn't mean we can't all hope to be able to see more NHL on TV, and fervently hope for more HD broadcasts.

It just means hockey is a niche sport.

It also means that being on ESPN, or OLN, or satellite, or whatever, is not really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Not at this point anyway. It'll be available somewhere, somehow.
post #285 of 567
If NHL ever wants to climb out of that "niche sport" basement, I'd say more exposure, getting into more homes, especially in HD, is a key. That's why ESPN is the better option. Expanding into sunny climates like they tried in the 90s, clearly wasn't the answer. Like the preceding article said, coverage on ESPN can legitimize playing cards on TV.

Nascar never used to interest most people north of the Mason-Dixon, either. (I know some will say it still doesn't but the numbers don't lie.) NFL outshines MLB. Things can change if they market the product right.
post #286 of 567
I thought NASCAR exploded AFTER leaving ESPN.

Additionally, how come ESPN has not made other sports into a huge success simply because of their coverage? It is a myth that ESPN makes these things popular. At best, ESPN has shown as many sports that don't grow in popularity as ones that have.
post #287 of 567
I don't know if the Nascar explosion is coincidence or cause-effect...hard to say, I don't remember Nascar coverage on ESPN. Maybe that says something.

My biggest thing is HD, which is where I think ESPN has the advantage. Heck...just promise me widescreen. I guarantee I will not get OLN-HD this season, and I'm a Comcast sub. No bandwidth on my system (yet). That also means no ESPN 2 so I'm pretty much screwed either way for HD NHL until the analogs are gone. I really feel that of every sport, hockey benefits the most from HD because of the horizontal camera coverage and clarity. The whole reason the Fox glowing puck debacle happened was because the biggest complaint from casual fans was "I can't see the puck"...obviously that's less an issue in HD. HD could be a real driver for the sport - I don't even like baseball and will watch it b/c it's HD...maybe hockey can follow suit.
post #288 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
In my mind if the NHL can't make a deal with ESPN and actually does migrate off to OLN (OLN????) it will cement its image as a far less than first-rate American sport.
If it wants to be a niche attraction -- somewhere between beach volleyball and women's soccer -- leaving ESPN is the right thing to do.
But to give up all the ESPN cross-promotion is insane, even if the dollars were to stack up in a slightly smaller pile.
You post some great news here at AVS... thanks.

But your mini-editorial is ABSURD. Rediculous to anyone who actually follows the NHL.

NHL IS A NICHE!!!!!

ESPN has mishandled the NHL for years now. All the cross promotions in the world won't change that. BRING ON COMCAST! :)
post #289 of 567
ESPN has always had crappy NHL coverage, but COMCAST ? Please. That like NHL on Sportschannel america all over again. Don't know about the other cable companies besides Comcast, but my company requires you to subscribe to a seperate sports pack, outside of the $70 package I already subscribe to. nhl on an outdoor channel is just a joke. What the heck is wrong with USA Network, SpikeTV or even TNT if ESPN is not an option
post #290 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthJersey
ESPN has always had crappy NHL coverage, but COMCAST ? Please. That like NHL on Sportschannel america all over again. Don't know about the other cable companies besides Comcast, but my company requires you to subscribe to a seperate sports pack, outside of the $70 package I already subscribe to. nhl on an outdoor channel is just a joke. What the heck is wrong with USA Network, SpikeTV or even TNT if ESPN is not an option
I think the issue with what is "wrong" with them is that they don't WANT the NHL, whereas Comcast does. Ted Turner already carries Thrasher games on his Turner South channel, but I'm fairly certain that's as far as his aspirations to broadcast hockey go. USA has already been down the NHL path in the past... and evidently don't see a need to repeat that performance.

So the issue isn't really what wrong with those channels, it's more a question of what sells to the American viewing public. And the unfortunate fact is that it isn't the sport we all love. I don't really give a squirt which wonderful station carries the games, since I am an NHLCI sub, but yes, it sure would be nice to see more games in HD. Then again... I'm not an HD D* subscriber because I think $11 for about 2 hours worth of programming I MIGHT watch is a total travesty. But that's a rant for another thread. :)

Good luck to everyone's favorite teams this year and here's hoping that we all get to see LOTS of HD coverage,
Jeff
post #291 of 567
Because Comcast has a vested interest...large stake in the Flyers...could be the cornerstone of a national sports network.
Spike/TNT/USA are just making a good business decision. Why pay $100M for something nobody will watch when you can get better returns re-running Law & Order? Heck I love hockey but if I was Ted Turner I'd have no interest in picking up the package.

Sportschannel America. UGH. That sucked.
post #292 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthJersey
ESPN has always had crappy NHL coverage, but COMCAST ? Please. That like NHL on Sportschannel america all over again. Don't know about the other cable companies besides Comcast, but my company requires you to subscribe to a seperate sports pack, outside of the $70 package I already subscribe to. nhl on an outdoor channel is just a joke. What the heck is wrong with USA Network, SpikeTV or even TNT if ESPN is not an option
Jeez.... think outside the box for a minute and move on from the past...

OLN is an analog channel on my Comcast. You're probably on Cablevision which is another issue. :D

Maybe Comcast will get leverage to get and get OLN on "basic" cable instead of the dreadful "espn classic" or even "espn2". The only semi-useful ESPN (news) requires an upgrade to digital in most places. I'd wager heavily OLN puts more care into NHL then ESPN and their babbling buffoons have or will.
post #293 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian_Greer
The situation may be that Comcast makes it available, but D*, E*, and other providers simply decide not to carry it.
For the Early Bird price of $129 (goes up to $159 for the season after 10/31) they damn well better carries the OLN games. Welcome back NHL and thanks for the CI price break!!! :( (Sorry for going temporarily off topic)
post #294 of 567
Thanks for the compliment, Chinch.

But we'll have to disagree on the NHL.

It provides solid ratings in a number of local markets -- for that market's team.

It has never gotten even decent national ratings in a national package.

In fact, ESPN2 got better ratings with women's college basketball and poker last seaosn than hockey had ever done.

Even were Comcast to do a better production job on the NHL games, the lack of continual promotion on ESPN, SportsCenter, ESPN News, ESPN Radio and the rest will surely cost the NHL some casual viewers.

That is assuming they even hear about -- or can even find -- the games on OLN.
post #295 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredfa
Thanks for the compliment, Chinch.

But we'll have to disagree on the NHL.

It provides solid ratings in a number of local markets -- for that market's team.

It has never gotten even decent national ratings in a national package.

In fact, ESPN2 got better ratings with women's college basketball and poker last seaosn than hockey had ever done.

Even were Comcast to do a better production job on the NHL games, the lack of continual promotion on ESPN, SportsCenter, ESPN News, ESPN Radio and the rest will surely cost the NHL some casual viewers.

That is assuming they even hear about -- or can even find -- the games on OLN.
So are you saying the NHL should stick with ESPN because ESPN gets better ratings with women's college basketball?

That makes no sense. OLN is an up and coming station. I was all over it during Le Tour and have watched a few Survivor reruns.

OLN in HD sounds cool... Hey I might even watch some flyfishing in HD. I am sure the scenery would be beautiful.

NHL should try something new.
post #296 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by goman
So are you saying the NHL should stick with ESPN because ESPN gets better ratings with women's college basketball?

That makes no sense.
You are entitled to your opinion, even when it's so obviously wrong ;). To me, it makes perfect sense to get your games promoted during events that fans of team sports are actually watching, instead of during reruns of "Survivor" or "Ducks Unlimited TV."

Quote:
OLN is an up and coming station. I was all over it during Le Tour and have watched a few Survivor reruns.

OLN in HD sounds cool... Hey I might even watch some flyfishing in HD. I am sure the scenery would be beautiful.

NHL should try something new.
ESPN may not be "up and coming" :rolleyes:, but it is probably watched by more team sports fans in one week than OLN has had since its inception.

If your idea of sports excitement is watching a pack of skinny dudes in Lycra and Alien-head helmets, pedalling their two-wheelers around the countryside, or looking at the scenery while some other dudes in waders flick their rods you are not in the NHL's demographic, which is good reason for the NHL to stay away from OLN. :D
post #297 of 567
Now throw the waders on the lycra dude, pop on an alien head helmet with some lures and stick a couple rods and a shotgun on that there two-wheeler, and you gots yerself a Jim Dandy of a show, Cletus. If only they can race around turning left at 200mph and finish by crushing cars under their 10 foot tall tires and rasslin' some chick that looks like a dude... now THAT would be something to see in glorious HD. :)

Questioning what the heck is going to happen to his favorite sport in the next 55 days,
Jeff
post #298 of 567
This really highlights the problem hockey fans have with ESPN (after the fact that it treats it worse then college badminton).

Across the league - even in places where ESPN favors like Col, Det, NYR - fans would MUCH RATHER have local announcers for local games than ESPN fools taking over their broadcast. ESPN announcers and commentors know less about the NHL than the guy watching it! I've been at games where ESPN announcers are boo-d and heckled mercilessly during intermissions, etc. :)

That is a problem.

Local markets is not important to the equasion IMHO since NHL is a niche sport with perfect demographic and strong loyalty. Local fans will watch their team on channel 3 or channel 928. Local casuals won't watch hocky just 'cause it's ESPN if they're not interested. They'll be watching another local team (ie. football, baseball, basketball) or prime time programming.

No housewife is gonna watch NHL cause of a promotion they saw on ABC.

ANYTHING BUT ESPN PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #299 of 567
Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeykid
For what it is worth. Called D* customer retention & asked for a price on Center Ice. The rep said $129 for earlybird special until Aug 12th. Told him nothing was on website or advertised anyware. He was clueless so I wasn't about to ask him if there was going to be Center Ice HD.

As a subscriber, I've been checking their website daily and the message has definitely changed to positive. Check out their "sports subscriptions" page. Don't know if anyone's reported this here, but it now seems to be a done deal. New subscribers can now sign up and pay $129 till 10/31.

WHEE! WHOOPEEE! YEEEHAAAA!! :D
post #300 of 567
But they still say "Get the 2004-05 season of NHL® CENTER ICE® for only $129. That's a $30 savings off the regular season price. (Offer ends October 31, 2005.) "

I hope they really mean 2005-2006.
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