Memo to the NHL – time to wave the white towel

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by MiamiScreamingEagles, Dec 12, 2006.

  1. MiamiScreamingEagles

    MiamiScreamingEagles Man with No Name

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    I haven't read this article in full as of yet but here is the link (note: I think this website changes info daily so the link may not be the intended article):

    http://www.sportsbusinessnews.com/

    Memo to the NHL – time to wave the white towel

    Try as they may – there is no one watching National Hockey League games in the United States, and the sooner those entrusted with the responsibility of operating the league understand why this has taken place, the sooner the NHL can responsibly deal with the crisis. How bad are NHL American NHL TV ratings – the last time those interested in watching the NHL on American television held a get together, they went home in the same cab. The National Hockey League – the sport that television forgot.

    When you consider the total number of hours people watching sports on television continues to grow at unprecedented levels, a report in The Vancouver Province should force Gary Bettman and company to finally wave the white flag and admit they’ve failed at building a television audience for hockey in the United States.
     
  2. puckhead103*

    puckhead103* Guest

    another anti-bettman proproganda piece....ho hum....

    people have been saying for years that majority of americans don't like hockey on tv.....

    i bought the book, The Hammer, about Dave Schultz, former enforcer of the Flyers; at the end of Schultz's story an epilogue written by the fisherman with the white beard mentioned that american tv ratings were dismal in the decade of 1970's.....and this book was written in 1981......

    its old news for a new day...
     
  3. burstgreen

    burstgreen Registered User

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    The ESPN issue is way overplayed. The article makes it sound like ESPN's refusal to broadcast NHL advertising is because of the NHL's low popularity. That's absurd. ESPN will not advertise the NHL for the same reason CBS won't advertise for Grey's Anatomy. Networks do not generally allow advertising for their competitors' shows.
     
  4. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    I find it a little odd that you just brush this off as no big deal and as proof you use the fact the league has been facing this problem for the better part of 30 years... There are a lot of places hockey just won't work because it isn't ingrained as part of the culture. I won’t name specific teams but the league as a whole might just be better off moving teams to Canadian markets and maxing out on the Canadian TV contracts…it’s not like they’d be losing a whole lot of money from the US contracts.
     
  5. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    I know this guy didn't get the NHL ratings from Andrew's Dallas Stars page... or did he?
     
  6. puckhead103*

    puckhead103* Guest

    probably....if i were you, i'll check it...
     
  7. Slats432

    Slats432 Registered User

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    That site is Anti-NHL. Anything they say is skewed.
     
  8. puckhead103*

    puckhead103* Guest

    in fact i support more canadian teams....but we have to be realistic.....majority of the owners are american and would like to see more americans watching the sport....which translates more american dollars....
     
  9. rekrul

    rekrul Registered User

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    Ok Not sure where "unprecedented eyeballs" watching sports comes from. Every major sport has seen a dip in the ratings as viewer chioces have risien. Even NASCAR has seen a dip, so that white hot sport that ran against the wave is starting to slide a bit. As hopless as the dimwits that run the NHL marketing, Hockey will need grow slowly in the newer markets and let fans learn the game, expose their kids get them playing in rinks, get more D1 programs on board and then it can grow. Unlike Soccer many kids participate but the best in the world play elsewhere and there is little history ouside of the 70's NASL craze of legions of fans supporting the their local teams. The NHL is still far more established in places in the states above MLS, Arena Football and the WNBA. It though needs a lot more time to gain the entire country, most franchises haven't been in new cities to get new fans and grow their fanbases at the local level.

    Miami and Atlanta are traditional horrible sports markets for anything other than Football and Car racing. I would love to hear how the Marlin's TV ratings do even with two championships and a desent young team that should appeal to the region's demographic. Carolina should now sport a rise in ratings, infact the article does not mention the new markets of Dallas, Denver, San Jose or Anaheim so I have no idea if past great teams or rising winners has the effect of interest.

    Despite the writers plea for the owners and Bettman to do something, what exactly can be done marketing wise to get american's interested in Hockey? First you have to rise above the blatant hatred of the NHL in the Mainstream sports media. You can't hear a national sports discussion that mentions hockey hardly with out "hockey sucks". Next you have to figure out a way to market players that do not seem to be "urban" (hardly) or even "NASCAR Country". WHo exactly, as in casual sports fans, should Hockey players appeal to?

    No I think the game just has to grow and evolve on its own and work at the local level to develop more american kids, and expose more people to an awsome game. Who takes people to the a game for the first time and have them amazed at the speed and skill of NHLers. No one but a knob like skip bayless can argue that the Stanley cup playoffs are the best thing to see live. I have many people who I have pleaded with to watch hockey and they never get into it, now love the game in HD. I think the whole "too fast to follow" can get helped a lot by HD.

    Plus Get more kids into the D1 programs, raise the level of local minor leagues. Fact is Many NCAA D1 hockey programs are of the few revenue makers and new D1 programs are in the works to come. Thats the only way to rise above the noise of the media and no marketing campaign is going to overcome that, right now if some person is not hating the game, they are pointing out how little people are watching it. American sports fans hears nothing but bad news about the NHL, if they hear any at all. No I hope that the level of participation and rink building continues to a point where an "American Gretzky" can transend the sport into national sports landscape.
     
  10. puckhead103*

    puckhead103* Guest

    to get more kids to play.....make it cheaper for kids to play it.....

    the way the US economy is structured now...many parents can't see paying a fee of $500 dollars just for a kid who wants to skate and play hockey.....
     
  11. SPARTAKUS*

    SPARTAKUS* Guest

    Exactly! Exactly! Excactly! This is the best post I have read in a long long time, you my friend have hit the nail right on the head. Thank you :clap: :clap: :clap:
     
  12. KeydGV21

    KeydGV21 Registered User

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    Well yes but A) that doesn't explain you first brushing it off as unimportant since it's been around forever and B) if we're going to be realistic we may just have to come to the conclusion that the expansion to non traditional markets, in an effort to raise television ratings, backfired and we have to look at tapping out all available Canadian money as thats income that has proven to always be there.
     
  13. kdb209

    kdb209 Global Moderator

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    The direct link to the piece is: http://www.sportsbusinessnews.com/_news/news_355147.php

    When I first saw this post, I thought it read Sports Business Journal - a very reputable source, with an occasional HF poster SBJScribe- it was one of the first sources to disclose the details of the new NHL Revenue Sharing system.

    Talk about disappointment when I opened the link and then saw that it was Howard Bloom's rag the Sports Business News. Howard definitely has a strong anti-NHL / anti-Bettman bias, as anyone who has read any of his previous pieces can attest.

    I will give credit to Howard (even if it was only repeating coverage from the Vancounver Province) for at least mentioning that the bulk of US TV dollars comes from the aggregated local cable deals, not the national OLN/VS and NBC deals - an important fact that is frequently overlooked in all the NHL TV deal the-sky-is-falling discussions.

    Of course, Howard (as usual) is lite on facts - witness his disparagement of the Isles cable ratings on FSNY (a valid point) after making the link between local RSN ratings and broadcast revenues, but fails to mention that the Isles are locked into one of the most lucrative local cable deals in the NHL - $15M+/yr through 2030.
     
  14. ColoradoHockeyFan

    ColoradoHockeyFan Registered User

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    As well as anyone who has heard him on the radio. He appears fairly regularly on a mid-day sports talk show here locally in Denver, and his disdain for Bettman and the NHL brass is palpable. He always gets into good topics on the business side of the NHL, but he spends half of his time taking pot shots.
     
  15. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    There is not much there, look at the CFL... Canadian League, gets good ratings, not making much money.
     
  16. Timmy

    Timmy Registered User

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    They'd better not.


    They'd have to fine themselves...
     
  17. Egil

    Egil Registered User

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    CFL games get an average of 300-400 thousand viewers. That is about what TSN gets for its national NHL package that consists mainly of US teams playing each other. HNIC gets about 1.2 mil for an average Saturday night game, and 600-700k for the late game (which is at 10:00 on Saturday night for the east). First round Playoff games involving a Canadian team get over 2 mil, and even a small market Canadian team in the finals get over 4 mil fans. There is a reason the NHL makes more money off TV in Canada than the US.
     
  18. TorontoSports

    TorontoSports Registered User

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    Sure, that's a lot Canada wise, but it's still doesn't warrant billions of dollars which the NHL wants and all the other leagues have. TSN/CBC would definitely lose money. With the 1 billion dollar rumor, if you read the rumor properly, even the experts were saying that Globe Media would lose money on it. I don't see how more teams will bring those numbers up substantially, honestly the other teams may have to go the ppv route or something to get a lot of their games on TV. The reason why there are so many teams in the US is because there is a lot more economic potential in the US, but I'm sure most know that.

    Also, a lot of people on this board really deny the effect of the year long lock out for the NHL, in my opinion that was the last blow the media needed and so far it seems like that's true. People here are just starting to come back to Baseball in recent years after the 1994 strike, in my opinion it's going to take the NHL a lot longer to get back to stabilization (hearsay wise) if that's even possible now.

    No offense, but I really don't see how much more Canadian teams can do for this NHL other than have legit fan interest where at times could (and most likely will) wane whenever a team goes through hardships (product wise) if History is any indication.
     
  19. Jazz

    Jazz Registered User

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    This is roughly what I have been saying for years.

    • The sport has to grow into the culture of the local area, and then eventually for the majority of the nation. The point of expansion is to start this process.

      An area gets a new team. The team builds for a while, becomes an elite team and hopefully wins a championship. It is during this rise that the sport becomes popular among the kids. The league has to grasp this and make sure that the kids become enough of fan (either by participation, or simply watching) so that as they grow older, they will take their kids to the games, and eventually their grandkids. But the point is this all takes time!

      Look at Pittsburgh - a team that entered the league in 1967, was an everage team at best, became an elite team in the late 80s to mid 90s (with 2 championships), and now look at how the area has finally started to produce NHL players (ie Ryan Malone and RJ Umberger), but look at how long it took.

      San Jose has a better model, starting a grass-roots program from the minute they arrived in 1991. The Kings with Gretzky popularized hockey in California just before that time. Now look at all the WHL players who are from California. Soon you will see these players enter the NHL.


    • My other main point is this. The problem the American sports media has is not simply with the NHL, but with the sport of hockey in general. This is why I think it is vitally important for the NHL, AHL, ECHL, (and EVERY other league in the US), along with NCAA hockey, and USA Hockey to get together and start a coordinated grass-roots program in very city/town that has any type of hockey team, and grow that program from there.
     
  20. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    Maybe, but I think it's fair to say that the promises Bettman has made, aside from the salary cap at the expense of a lost season, have been widely unfulfilled.
     
  21. WalterSobchak

    WalterSobchak Blues Trololol

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    Can anyone explain how something BECOMES ingrained in a culture boys and girls. Thats it, thats RIGHT. Exposure. Constant, enduring exposure.

    And the this is brought to us by the letter Q. As in "Quit using dumb effing logic to explain marketing demographics and to make business decisions with."

    at one point it was the general concensus that the earth was flat too. Bah, who wants to listen to these kids these days with their round earth stories. pfffft I say.
     

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