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Monday, September 08, 2008

Why Isn't the NHL on USA?

The biggest problem facing the NHL is still the lack of a major television deal in the United States. The league was dumped a few years ago by ESPN and rebounded with the nice but ultimately inadequate Versus.* I think we can all agree that the NHL needs a network with a little more panache and a little less rodeoing, but they can't by all rights go back to ESPN because one, ESPN sucks and two, they already have too many things going on as it is. So who does the NHL turn to? Why not the USA Network?

*Versus probably cries after sex.

Yes, USA, the network that loves characters and formulaic mystery shows. Some may be wondering how the USA Network is qualified to show the NHL, but USA already has some experience broadcasting sports (they had a lot of Olympics coverage and recently showed the US Tennis Open). Besides, did TNT have experience before they started showing the NBA? Or TBS, before they acquired the rights to Major League Baseball? Most other leagues have a deal with ESPN and a non-sports network to diversify their coverage, and the NHL should follow that. A weekly schedule with a major game on Monday on Versus and, say, Thursday or Friday on USA would be great for the NHL. Plus, USA is owned by the same company that owns NBC, so it would seem pretty easy to add something to that existing agreement.

The USA Network is perfect because it's high profile enough to garner notice among casual fans while still needing original programming to fill their time slot. NBC has to worry about the Stanley Cup Playoffs impacting sweeps, while USA only has to shuffle their weekly Monk marathon. Putting the NHL on USA would be a boon for hockey and would help spread the game to a wider audience. It should happen.

10 comments:

Earl Sleek said...

Good questions, really. I wonder if it's possible that the Pacific Division could make its own television deal, since Versus refuses to touch them with a ten-foot pole?

A side deal like that would be sweet.

RudyKelly said...

The Kings would still never be on.

Eric McErlain said...

You know, there was a time when the NHL was on USA, back in the 1980s.

Anonymous said...

Rudy you are a Genius.

Brandon said...

I owe Rudy a beer for that thought. To hell with Verses. Verses has horrible programming.Go Sharks!

Eric said...

USA is getting rid of all its sports coverage: http://awfulannouncing.blogspot.com/2008/09/usa-network-says-goodbye-to-us-open.html

Joe said...

I've always thought this was a decent idea, except for two things.

1) Tennis
2) God damn dog shows.

I can't remember how many times when I was younger they would cover either of those two instead of my precious WWF on Monday nights. I can just imagine the shitfest when a good hockey matchup is dumped for a bunch of retarded ass looking dogs.

RudyKelly said...

The Westminster Dog Show is elitist bullshit. The outdoor events are where it's at. Also, Greatest American Dog.

Joe said...

Well, I wouldn't mind the dog show as much either if it weren't ugly damn dogs all the time. Any remotely normal but good looking breed might as well not exist, its all about the ugly dog that has down syndrome and fur thats 10 feet long trotting down the runway to get its prize, while all the actually GOOD looking dogs are just to "normal" or something to actually win. That shit is stupid.

I also think Spike might not be a bad idea instead of USA, although it might be a hard sell, given that the league is trying to move away from fighting and physicality and more towards flowers and Sidney Crosby. Hard to air commercials for that during a Ultimate Fighting program, I suppose.

I'm not sure what other channel besides USA/Spike would be a good fit for something like this. Despite what all the "experts" say, I'd really rather not see the NHL crawl back to ESPN. If anything, actually start using the damn channel they have, get it onto normal cable systems, and air games constantly on that. As it is, they don't do enough in the way of normal games, its just all this 1980's retard-a-tenders getting burned by terrible moves by anyone who can skate as well as my grandmother.

Hockey Joe said...

You need to get out of my head here Rudy - I too was always for the NHL making a move to go to USA Network as well. Nevermind that it's an off-shoot NBC network, it's just got a much larger presence and general ready availability on most cable outlets as well as being in the basic cable tier. That sort of easy exposure is what the league should be aiming for.

Sure, it's the home of the Dog Show every year, big deal. Tennis was there but now ESPN is eating that up from them.

It'd be a stroke of actual intelligence for the league to approach USA about going there when the Versus deal is up, but I think we all know how that will go.