Blog Entry

NHL seeks new U.S. TV contract

Posted on: February 11, 2009 8:33 pm

According to the same Ken Campbell article as posted in my previous blog entry, the NHL is seeking a new TV contract in the states.

MONTREAL – The free lunch for NBC is over. That’s the message the NHL will give to the network when it begins negotiating a new national television contract to replace the one that expires after this season.
Since the lockout, the league has had a deal with NBC that essentially gave the network its NHL property for free. In a deal similar to the one that the Arena Football League had, NBC doesn’t pay the NHL any money, but guarantees that it will cover production costs. Any money made by the broadcasts first goes to covering those costs and if any profits are left over after that, 80 percent go to the league and 20 percent go to NBC.
But that arrangement for NBC is about to end, according to those who are familiar with the league’s television contract. With paying customers in the form of TSN and CBC in Canada and Versus in the United States, the league feels it has the leverage to begin charging a national broadcaster for its product.

That's good news. The bad news is the economy.

A new deal likely wouldn’t be a financial bonanza for the league, but it would provide some revenues and, more importantly, place some tangible value on the television product. Even though all facets of the business are bound to be hurt by the economic downturn, the NHL sees its television presence as an area of potential growth, particularly with the upcoming 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
It’s doubtful that CBS or NBC would be interested in the product, but there are indications that Fox might want the NHL back. Obviously the league would need more than one network bidding for its product in order to have any leverage and as long as Fox doesn’t want to reintroduce its glowing puck, the league would welcome its interest in the game.

The leverage might come from the recent ratings increase as reported by the Sports Business Journal .

National and local TV ratings also improved compared with the midway mark in 2007-08. U.S. broadcaster Versus saw total viewers increase to an average of 310,732 through 31 games, compared to 265,314 over the same period in 2007-08. NBC benefited from the tune-in of more than 4.4 million for the 2009 Winter Classic, making it the most-viewed NHL regular-season game in 34 years and drawing a 2.5 rating and 5 share.
Ratings also increased in Canada where the CBC averaged 868,000 viewers a game through 34 telecasts. That number is up from 850,000 viewers a game in 2007-08 but down from 1 million viewers in 2006-07.TSN averaged 483,000 viewers, a 7.2 percent increase, and RDS averaged 648,000 viewers, a 31 percent increase.

If Fox gets the new contract, no glowing puck please. That was annoying.
I also hope the League stays away from the Disney-owned networks. They still haven't shown me, not that I watch them much, that they would treat the NHL with respect and dignity. More importantly, I seriously doubt they would give the League the coverage it needs.

NHL local TV ratings for mid-point of 2008-20009 season.

Category: NHL
Tags: Ratings, TV

Since: Jul 7, 2009
Posted on: July 7, 2009 9:52 am

NHL seeks new U.S. TV contract

I must say I know little about professional football. however I wonder with the contracts the NFL signs with the major TV networks the following qestion:  when they had the old football league founded by the Mcnair guy of WWE  what was the real reason that his league never succeeded?: was it that the NFL and AFL outmarketed him? was it that if the NFL or AFL let him survive then that would cut into their profits? I gather that they still have the Arena football league and the Internaitonal of US football leagues (  Coach Schnellenberger's outfit in New jersey generals) but how have they survived and the WWE 's Mcnair outfit failed?  was it about TV profits. I gather his football was not the same as the NFl/AFL or even the Arena league's. please tell me your thoughts about this. thanks from a novice.

Since: Jul 8, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2009 2:19 pm

NHL seeks new U.S. TV contract

NBC's coverage is ok.  I would like to see them end the practice of putting the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals on cable (especially when that network is Versus).  My stupid cable company finally moved Versus from the Sports tier and lower in the lineup, but they took away the HD channel after the Golf/VS was split.  I am considering getting Directv, because it has the NHL Network in HD as well. 

Anyway, I hope they can get a good contract.  The four letter network is lost as long as it has the NBA.  The NHL will always fly under the radar over there.  It got adequate coverage prior to the NBA. 

Since: Aug 13, 2008
Posted on: February 12, 2009 3:08 pm

NHL seeks new U.S. TV contract

About the drop in viewership:  One, I know that the whole Fox Sports Plus thing has confused a lot of people; they either didn't know it existed or couldn't find it.  Two, are you counted as watching the game if you are DVRing it?  I don't see how you could since you can DVR and watch something else.  (Don't look at me - the only time I record games is when there's no way for me to watch it.  I couldn't hold out long enough otherwise!)

Since: Nov 29, 2007
Posted on: February 12, 2009 11:48 am

NHL seeks new U.S. TV contract

Detroit viewship is down, but the Red Wings attendance is up. With the economy, I'd think it'd be just the opposite. Of course the Wings are the defending Cup champs, and attendance usually goes up for the team that won it all.

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2009 4:22 am
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