Originally Posted by OneForTheToe
I have Dish Network and I just got Versus added to my package for no charge. Go figure
Hey, Gary Bettman...I hear ESPN is looking for a major championship to be won on its network, since, you know, FOX and CBS have the rights to the World Series and the Super Bowl, and ABC has the rights to the NBA Finals. You guys had a good relationship before you decided to put hockey on an obscure network that not everyone gets even WITH DirecTV in the fold. How about hooking up again? Your ratings might actually improve as well, since ESPN is only on every major carrier in every major market in the country. But of course, we all know you won't do it, because that would actually make sense.
I agree with you to an extent XT. I would like to see some games on ESPN. The SCF are mostly on NBC, so I don't think that would change, but a weekly package of a few games through the conference championships would be good. But, ESPN getting exclusive rights is problematic to me.
First, I don't think Versus does that bad of a job comparatively speaking. Second, if you go exclusively to ESPN, the NHL will be delegated "the red headed step child" both financially and viewing wise to the the NBA. It is just a fact that the NBA is a bigger draw and Disney is paying major bucks to show it on ESPN/ABC. Besides, I have a feeling if ESPN/ABC got exclusive rights to the NHL they might want a deal like NBC, who pays no rights fees. I don't think another no fee deal works for the NHL. That's why I say a game of the week during the regular season and a few games a week during the playoffs for ESPN/ABC. Versus could then also keep a package and most importantly, "the mullet" could be in the booth for ESPN.:
I'd have no problem with a scenario like that. It's kind of similar to what MLB does now with their contracts with ESPN/FOX/TBS. Versus could still be the NHL's hub (MLB - ESPN), NBC would show a game of the week similar to Hockey Night In Canada (MLB - FOX), and ESPN/VS/NBC would split games during the playoffs, with NBC getting exclusive rights to the Final (MLB - ESPN/TBS/FOX). A bit convoluted, but it would work. The NHL gets more exposure and more money, and ESPN gets to show championship round games. Bettman should get right on that, but again, I know he won't.