ESPN Exec Doesn’t See Much of an Outcry for More Hockey Talk

From an interview with Vince Doria, SVP and Director of News at ESPN, with Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report:

It’s a sport that engenders a very passionate local following. If you’re a Blackhawks fan in Chicago, you’re a hardcore fan. But it doesn’t translate to television, and where it really doesn’t transfer much to is a national discussion, which is something that typifies what we do.

Baseball fans are interested where Albert Pujols is going. NBA fans are interested in the Miami Heat. For whatever reason, and this is my unsubstantiated research on it, hockey doesn’t generate that same kind of interest nationwide. You look at national talk shows. Hockey rarely is a topic. People in Boston aren’t that interested with what’s going on with the Blackhawks.

We’ll be out at the Stanley Cup. If you watch our show, we do highlights and report scores.

But if you go to our radio and television shows, there’s not a lot of hockey talk. It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of yammer out there to give us hockey talk.


24 Responses to ESPN Exec Doesn’t See Much of an Outcry for More Hockey Talk

  1. Sharks Fan from East says:

    Just because his network chooses to ignore the sport doesn’t mean hockey fans across the country don’t care about the sport in general. Yes, I care what happens with Detroit, with certain players, the Lunongo situation but since ESPN chooses to ignore the NHL, it thinks no one cares about it.

    That statement just summed up how pathetic ESPN really is. That guy pretty much said “We don’t show hockey because we don’t like to talk about it a.k.a. the fans out their don’t care about anyone or team besides their own”. Seriously dude, get your head out of your ass. With record numbers in ratings this playoffs, you really don’t think people outside of these 8 cities care? You really don’t think people care about Crosby or Ovi (as much as I and everyone else trash talks them)? This is why ESPN is a joke and never deserved the NHL broadcasting rights in the first place. Almost sounds like a jealous baby making fun of something they can’t have.

  2. No one wants to talk hockey with a bunch of people who don’t know hockey.

  3. BishopQ says:

    Bottom line is they don’t know “how” to talk about hockey. A few do, like Buccigross and Melrose, although Melrose makes blatantly boring obvious hockey comments.

    I was happy listening to Don and EJ up until this season. Always fun, insightful, and talking about the real hockey issues. Not just comparing meaningless stats on a player vs. player or team vs. team basis.

  4. Yet just this afternoon, ESPN The Magazine’s Twitter feed posts this:

    “Our informal poll reveals that playoff hockey can hold its own against America’s pasttime (even a no hitter).”!/ESPNMag/status/198097053228863488

    Seems like Doria is more intent on generating a self-fulfilling prophecy over a product for which his employer doesn’t hold broadcast rights.

  5. Matt says:

    Shocking. ESPN doesn’t understand why hockey fans aren’t tuning in to ESPN for their whopping 30-second segments riddled with the butchering of players names and frequent pot shots the announcers take at the game. ESPN doesn’t respect hockey, so why would hockey fans give ESPN the time of day? ESPN should stick to what it’s good at and continue providing non-stop coverage of what some retired player thinks about Tim Tebow’s latest lunch date with someone who was seen at a Miami Heat game wearing a Yankees hat.

    • Kevin says:

      It’s not only hockey fans, nobody is tuning into ESPN for their shows. Ratings for their shows are terrible. In the past, people would go to ESPN and Sportscenter to find out news and highlights from sports. Not anymore. Now ALL of that is online. There is more content online and you can get it faster. At one point, Sportscenter had millions of viewers, now it barely cracks 500,000. None of their shows have over 1 million viewers. The internet has killed Sportscenter and their other shows.

      For ESPN, if it’s not a Live sporting event, people aren’t watching it.

  6. If they at least tried his statement would be more believable.

  7. Pablo says:

    I chuckle when people complain about the lack of hockey coverage on ESPN. If you are a hockey fan, why are you going to ESPN for your fix?

    Totally agree that I am happy NBCSN kept the NHL rights. No way would ESPN show every playoff game, and they sure wouldn’t dump Sportscenter to show a dedicated hockey pregame show.

    That said, I actually think Pardon the Interruption HAS talked a fair amount of hockey this season, especially in the playoffs.

  8. Jeff says:

    Who cares about ESPN….Being a Wings fan and though they have been knocked out I am still intrested in the Stanley Cup playoffs and continue to watch along with several other people I know. The NHL made the right move sticking with NBCSN, it has been great with every playoff game on of course you needed to have the NHL Network for that to happen in the first round. The NHL would be put on the backburner if they were still on ESPN and treated like a red headed stepchild….

  9. Matt says:

    His comments reach a conceited/ignorant level when he discusses the idea that hockey fans are a hardcore set, yet they don’t pay any attention to what happens beyond their team of choice. This seems to fly totally in the face of his networks showing Major League Baseball (a distinctly regional sport with very localized interests) in a prominent fashion.

    Add that to the increased viewership numbers for the Stanley Cup playoffs and Doria’s comment seems more like a dismissal of an up-and-coming rival sporting network rather than a statement of fact. I feel that the more accurate statement would be: “ESPN would like for hockey to lack a national following or conversation because we’re not really in on it whatsoever.”

  10. dyhrdmet says:

    hockey doesn’t translate because ESPN and sports radio never made it translate. it’s not that people don’t care. more people would care if ESPN back in the early days had done with hockey what they do now with football.

  11. eddie says:

    I’m expecting big things from last night’s game 3. Ny better step up. Better see 1.8-2mill. No knicks competition, tied series and o.t.

  12. bomber says:

    I am a bruins fans still watching and will continue to.That Doc Emerick is the best five hour later and still sounded fresh.

  13. John says:

    ESPN is in the business of promoting ESPN. Even when they had hockey it was not promoted as one of the driver sports,such as the NFL or NBA, it was filler programming. Ask any former radio hosts who used to work on ESPN radio and they would tell you that they were discouraged from talking about hockey. They never truly attempted to grow the sport like the NBC group seems to be attempting.

  14. eddie says:

    Trust me after ESPN didn`t get the rights and their seeing what it is doing for nbc sportsnetwork. And the return. They will continue to take cheap shots and dismiss the NHL as a sport. But to give credit to some of the espn color personalities on air on radio have talked more than I can remember.

    • DM says:

      Van Pelt does talk about hockey from time to time. And PTI and Around The Horn do as well. But other than that? It’s a wasteland.

  15. DM says:

    I’m a Blackhawks fan and have watched nearly every game of the Semis.

    How dare I fly in the face of ESPN’s line of thinking

  16. kevin says:

    Why don’t they just be honest…it makes no sense to promote someone else’s product. Why talk about how good the NHL playoffs are when they are on a different channel? If ESPN didn’t have a contract with the NFL they wouldn’t talk much about football either. My only question is what is Barry Melrose doing there…he should have quit 10 years ago.

  17. A Moose says:

    he actually used the word “yammer”.

    That’s why if ESPN magically disappeared from my cable system I wouldn’t notice.

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