Wednesday, May 19, 2004

NHL Gets Minor League Deal from NBC

The NHL signed a deal with NBC on Wednesday for its TV rights, which guarantees it nothing - no upfront money. The league and the NBC will split advertising revenue. However, NBC gets to cover its expenses plus the money the network could have gotten for selling the bulk time to other programmers.

The Arena Football League got the same basic deal from NBC. This is just another sign that the NHL is quickly sinking to "minor league" status. Add a players strike to this and the NHL goes down to the AA Baseball level as far as fan interest.

The Bachelor featuring a 2nd string quarterback in search of love will have millions more viewers than NHL semi-final hockey.

NHL management and the players now need to get their act together regarding their contract. Then they need to start finding new ways to promote a great sport and compete for the attention of an audience that thas a large number of alternatives. Or else the sport of pro-hockey will continue downward in a "minor league" tailspin.

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