Playoff Viewership Nothing to Do with Broadcasters

You know, often during the Stanley Cup playoffs, we feel really useless as bloggers, because we don’t really breakdown the ins and outs of what happened in the Carolina-Pittsburgh series, or why Dan Cleary’s becoming yet another beastly Red Wing to emerge this playoff year.  Frankly, we don’t think we’re that good at talking about the game, so we talk about the people who talk about the game instead.

But let’s step outside ourselves to point out that Stanley Cup Playoff hockey is as good as it’s ever been in the 14 years we’ve watched it.  We’re biased in thinking that our hockey tournament is the best tournament of any in the world of sport, but this year, a year in which the NBA is actually getting kudos for it’s post-season, it needs to be reiterated again and again how lucky we are as puckheads to be seeing such great stuff.

The point that needs to be made to people like Gary Bettman, John Shannon, Sam Flood, and anyone else with a hand in how hockey’s being broadcast, is that this ratings uptick on VERSUS and NBC has absolutely NOTHING to do with VERSUS and NBC.  The 2.0 could’ve happened on the freakin’ CW if the games were this good.  The VERSUS ratings could’ve been on ESPN, where they let an unqualified moron like Steve Levy call the games.  

What these networks need to learn is that it isn’t about them.  It’s about this game and these athletes.  They are the reason the ratings are getting better and better.  Yes, HD has helped and the players are becoming more fan-friendly and VERSUS and NBC have done some good things.  But the only thing that’s gonna’ flat out sell our game is our game, and our athletes have been Monty Hall out there this entire playoff year.

5 Responses to Playoff Viewership Nothing to Do with Broadcasters

  1. Chief says:

    I tend to agree. The people who think that the NHL HAS TO BE ON ESPN have no clue. Versus has significant issues in terms of clearance throughout the entire country but it has improved. The glamour players and teams will sell this, not the TV outlet.

  2. Chris B says:

    FIrst of all, I agree on the fact that the NHL doesn’t need ESPN. The ratings prove that there is a nicely sized audience for hockey that’s willing to do the 12 seconds of research necessary to find out what channel hockey is on in the US and tune to it.

    Secondly, in my opinion (and probably that of several other readers)Steve Levy was and is a hell of a lot better than Joe Beninati. I’d kill to hear Levy call a conference final over Beninati like the so called “good ol’ days” on ESPN. That’s pretty much the only big beef I have with Versus is that they let him call a conference final (as well as many other games) while guys like Dave Strader, John Forslund, and Rick Peckham are told “we’ll see you next year.” Yeah the studio show is also incredibly boring, but I do other stuff during the intermissions anyways.

    Keep in mind those are my only problems with the coverage we currently have. We still could use more coverage in the way of a third weekly game and more games from the west coast.

    So in other words, the NHL is doing fine in the US on TV. Yes, it could be better, but going exclusively back to ESPN to be the red headed stepchild once again is not the answer. Now, if we could get some games on ESPN/2 or another national cable network in addition to the ones on Versus, we’d really be talking.

  3. Brian says:

    You’re exactly right. Often I tune it DESPITE the channel its on. Its not about the channel. And for the channel its not about the hockey – the game is just a billboard for them to sell more ads. So we have to learn to live with each other.

    I just wish they would come up some kind of new script for the games so we don’t have to endure screaming lunatics, non-stop chatting and stat reading, and over-loaded graphics (most of which are gratuitous just to say the name of some sponsor).

  4. Brian says:

    PS- I like the fact that hockey is on a channel that is not ESPN. I never enjoyed their revolving way of doing highlights and all the poems.

    • Dave Sullivan says:

      If I ever meet Bud Selig, I’d like to give him a high five for selling the Division Series TV rights to TBS.

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