The Suitor Tutor, Part 4: Where the NHL Network Factors in This
August 9, 2010 8 Comments
With the NHL nearing a new TV contact, a multi-part series, “The Suitor Tutor”, takes a look at the potential bidders for NHL hockey.
One of the things that I am constantly self-inquisitive about is where the NHL Network can go next. What is the potential for this now nine years old (coming up on three in the United States) network to possibly grow.
It is obvious that something has to happen in the next contract to ensure NHL Net takes a leap forward. They’ve been lapped multiple times by NBATV, MLB Network and NFL Network in the past few years. All three of those stations are more professional, provide more informative programming for hardcore consumers of the product, have more HD production, more games aired, more originally produced games aired, and overall just look cleaner than the poor NHL Net. In a way,t he NHL Network has represented the NHL’s presence as a whole in the American sports marketplace.
Here’s three things the NHL needs to do in the next contract:
1. Get a Thursday night, originally-produced, Game of the Week
This is a must. In addition to the simulcast of Hockey Night in Canada, NHL Network should have a functioning Game of the Week every week of the season. Use some of your studio hosts as play-by-play men, and get Bill Clement or Billy Jaffe to do analyst work, since neither are tethered full-time to a team currently.
2. Call dibs on all previously un-televised playoff games.
NHL Network aired two playoff games during the 2009 playoffs, and none during 2010. This must end. Sorry to those who pay for NHL Center Ice, but that is simply something that shouldn’t exist during the playoffs. All NHL games in the post-season need to be available to as much of an audience as possible.
3. All HD, All the Time
In this day and age, no specialty network like the NHL Net should be going without as much HD programming as humanly possible. On the Fly, whatever radio shows are being simulcast, should look like a professional studio show, not a cheap ESPNews rip-off.