Saturday, April 14, 2007

NHL Turns Its Back On Canadian TV Audience

The most lucrative national TV deal for the NHL is the CBC's Hockey Night In Canada deal. The national TV deal the NHL makes the least money from the NHL on NBC where NBC pays nothing up front and shares profits (if any) with the NHL. Given a conflict between the interests of the two, obviously the NHL should go with that of CBC. They paid more money for the rights and the higher money represents a higher viewership. That's not how things are done in the NHL.

CBC shows its Hockey Night In Canada games on Saturday night. Among the games scheduled for Saturday (today), CBC imagines that that Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh game will score the highest ratings. Ottawa is the remaining playoff team from Ontario, Canada's most populous province.

NHL on NBC shows a game on Saturday afternoon. They imagine that showcasing young superstar Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins is the best way to maximize viewership.

Both broadcasters want the same game, but they want it at different times of day. So who wins? In the NHL, it is NBC that wins.

The main thrust of Gary Bettman's reign as commissioner of the NHL has been a fruitless search for a lucrative US national TV deal. Decisions are still made in search of the elusive deal, even if they go against the desires of the Canadian TV deals that they do have. Hockey is a great game, but it seems it will not play nationally in the US. It has strong regional support, but it also has regions that are completely apathetic to it.

My grandmother used to say that A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, this wisdom is something that Gary Bettman should learn. You don't chase a non-existent national TV audience in the US if it means acting against the very existent national Canadian TV audience.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?