The NHL TV Set, Part 3: Let’s Do the Fox Warp Again


The NHL On FOX originally aired from 1995-99

The NHL On FOX originally aired from 1995-99

Editor’s Note: This is Part Three of Puck the Media’s four-part series “The NHL TV Set”

 As I said earlier in this series, I always felt FOX did the best job with hockey out of any of the three networks (FOX, ABC, NBC) that have taken on the burden of showing low-rated hockey games the past 14 years.  They promoted the sport, took some risks to attempt to drive up the ratings, and flat out showed some games that came close to bringing the NHL to consistent network coverage.

Now, there’s a lot that would need to be done to get the NHL back on FOX.  It’s long been a poorly-kept secret that FOX has no interest in negotiating with Gary Bettman after what happened in ’98 between the two parties and ABC.  So, FOX would not only mean the good news of a rejuvinated TV deal, but it’d mean that Gary’s gone for good.  Let’s get this deal done.

Pre-Game Show: FOX will go back to the practice that NBC and ABC did of starting games at 20 minutes after the hour, but it will be made very clear to all ticket holders, viewers and fans that this will be the case.  FOX games will be listed as, say, “3:20 PM” on schedules, not “3:00 PM”.  FOX will use the pre-game to do the typical pre-game features.

Game Coverage: FOX will air a game every Sunday from the week after the NFC Championship Game until the end of the season (with the exception, of course, being should FOX be airing the Super Bowl).  They’ll air 5 regional games with FSN crews handling production to save on costs.  These five regional games will be split between 1PM and 4PM every week, much like FOX’s MLB coverage.  So a Rangers-Bruins game would air at 1:20 PM ET, while a Kings-Ducks game would air at 4:20 PM ET.

Personalities: FOX will go with Mike Emrick and Pierre McGuire as their top team, and use a mix of current FOX personalities with hockey experience (Sam Rosen, Josh Lewin, Kenny Albert) and FSN announcers with knowledge of the two teams playing (Mickey Redmond, Jim Fox, sigh, Bob Errey) for the four other games.  

As for a studio team.  Hmmm… you know Joe Buck’s a hockey fan, and he’s pretty much a robot, so you could probably get him to do the studio host gig, though he doesn’t really watch sports.  But he’ll suffice, and he’ll have to endure listening to Bill Clement as his partner in the FOX studios in Los Angeles every Sunday.

Playoffs and Finals: FOX will air regional playoff matchups every Sunday, and air games on Saturdays and Sundays during the Conference Finals at 1:00 PM as a lead-in to baseball.  FOX will air games 3-7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, in primetime but with the possibility of moving a Saturday game to the afternoon.


3 Responses to The NHL TV Set, Part 3: Let’s Do the Fox Warp Again

  1. Jeff says:

    You are aware that the possibility of the FOX plan working on Sundays is less than zero due to their NASCAR committment. A FOX game of the week on Saturday in Feb – April is feasable.

  2. Keith says:

    With Fox having Nascar thru June on Sundays and a MLB Game of the Week for every week in the season and that the start time for the baseball games are at 4pm, that basically limits the NHL to a 1pm start time, similar to the current NBC situation, including lack of Western Conference games that could be shown. Thus Fox can’t work until 2014 at the earliest.

  3. Kyle The Sports Fanatic says:

    MLB Game of the week doesn’t start til April, so for February and March it’s open game. Then April-May is when they’ll be limited to a 1pm start time, or MLB could be shifted to 1pm and NHL could be 4pm. I just wish that FOX never got NASCAR, really who gives a shit about NASCAR.

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