Bettman's vision of NHL crumbling - Xtratime Community
 
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old May 27th, 2007, 19:01 Thread Starter
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Bettman's vision of NHL crumbling

So allowing for possible revision down the road, let's go out on a limb and say that it is quite possible that we have just witnessed the beginning of the end for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's dream.

His vision of his league as a popular sport with a solid television package, a sparkling image and franchises all across the United States lies in ruins.

Jim Balsillie, the co-CEO of the company behind the Blackberry, is about to purchase the Nashville Predators, and for Bettman's vision, this may turn out to be one step too far down the slippery slope.

Bettman's dream of major network television was already a travesty, having suffered the ultimate embarrassment last Saturday when NBC dropped coverage of a Stanley Cup semifinal playoff game after three periods with the score tied.

There's only one person to blame for that and it's no one at NBC. It's Bettman himself, who authorized the TV deal knowing full well that NBC was contractually bound to a pre-race show for the Preakness.

The network didn't even drop overtime for the race itself, just for the one-hour pre-race hype and some taped features.

Would it have been too much to expect Bettman to exhibit enough foresight to start the Anaheim-Detroit game at 1 p.m. rather than 2 p.m. and thereby minimize the risk of such an occurrence?

Apparently it would. Gary is big on legal matters but not so good on understanding hockey. Oh, they can have more than five minutes of overtime in the playoffs? Who knew?

Bettman had already embarrassed himself and his league with his overall network "strategy," which puts most of the games on Versus, a nondescript network that hardly anyone seems to get, despite the network's assurances to the contrary.

He sold the NBC playoff rights for zero dollars, then let NBC dictate the schedule. Bettman professes his concern for Canadian fans, but in this move alone, he showed the disdain that more accurately represents his feeling. The concerns of Hockey Night in Canada, a national tradition, were shoved aside as he groveled to NBC.

This was a move that not only infuriated Canadians from coast to coast, but did severe damage to the hospitality segment of many urban economies. A playoff game on television is a huge draw for many Canadian bars and taverns. But even Canadians, despite their legendary thirst, aren't going to sit in a bar to watch a hockey game on one of the first sunny spring afternoons after a long winter. Well, some of them are, but nowhere near as many as would have been the case had the games been played at night.

Thanks to Bettman's network-TV fiasco, combined with his astonishingly stupid decision to kill the 2004-05 season to please a few wealthy owners who wanted to become wealthier, hockey is now viewed as a niche sport in the United States.

In 1994, after the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, there existed another universal view of the game, a view that was diametrically opposite to the one held today. At that time, the NHL was seen as the league poised for stardom.

So naturally, Bettman did what he does best. He shut the league down. It was only half a year that time, but it brought the league's momentum to a screeching halt.

And it has gone downhill ever since.

As for his expansion program, it too has been a spectacular failure. Now that Balsillie has entered the picture, the tide might be about to turn and leave Bettman's vision as flotsam.

Last year, Balsillie tried to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now he appears almost certain to get the Nashville Creditors. In neither case has he expressed any particular interest in keeping the team where it is.

He would love to have a team in his home town, the major metropolis of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

The legal requirements for such an eventuality are so boring that only Bettman could love to recite them, but this much is certain. A move to Waterloo is possible.

And if the NHL is ready to move an American franchise back to Canada, then you should be able to figure out just how bad the league's American position is.

For decades, American owners have been doing everything the can to minimize Canadian involvement, not because they have anything against the country, but simply because their every action is financially motivated.

This is a league that does not share its attendance revenues. So a Canadian team might draw well at home, but an American owner couldn't care less. He's not going to see any of it. What he does know is that Canadian teams are traditionaly the NHL's worst road draws. An owner in a major American city doesn't want to try to sell tickets for games against teams from places like Winnipeg, Quebec and Waterloo — or even Calgary and Edmonton for that matter. He wants visits from New York, Boston, Los Angeles and so on.

Now, once Balsillie purchases the Predators, the battle will be on. He will want to move that team out of Nashville and into Canada. Perhaps, down the road, some other entrepeneur will try to follow a similar pattern with the Atlanta Thrashers or the Florida Panthers, and some of the other cities that Bettman brought into the NHL.

And while Canada is a nice place, it's not the place to be if you're trying to establish your sports league as a major league in the United States.

This is what Bettman has wrought.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old June 6th, 2007, 14:56
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LOOSE CHANGE: CHANGE OF PLANS?
by Charlie Teljeur

The following is purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laugh while reading this, while framing this, or while burning this. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?

Maybe we’ve been going at this thing all wrong. A player like Chris Pronger attempts to decapitate an opponent, the league acts self-righteous and embarrassed, then suspends said offender in an attempt to clean up the sport’s image to a vast majority of people who simply don’t care about athletes who wear thin strips of metal on their feet.

Meanwhile across town at the UFC, essentially the same thing happens but this story ends with a victorious champion collecting a belt, a vanquished opponent collecting brain cells and people who run the league collecting mansions.

So, on the one hand we have – no rules, lots of money – and on the other - lots of rules, no money. Do I need to connect the dots here?

Think about it: the UFC has Cro-Magnon jarheads going at it at relatively pedestrian speeds while the NHL has the potential of monumental collisions at breakneck speeds – with padding!

We already know it’s relatively safe. They have but three rules (no biting, no gouging, and no litigation) and there has yet to be one competitor seriously maimed (admittedly though, college, for some, is now out of the question).

The NHL insists on keeping a clean image by mandating this respectful on-ice decorum, yet generates all its publicity when someone breaks from the script.

Dave Shultz and Don Saleski whet the American appetite for destruction way back in the ‘70s and we’ve been denying their hunger ever since. So, their thirst for blood goes from hockey to the WWE to the UFC. Hockey has been the big-boned girl trying to fit into the little black cocktail dress. It has not only been denying its past but its destiny as well.

The UFC could be knocked off so easily. They have 12 athletes sparring over the course over an entire evening. Hockey can have the same number fighting to submission on every shift.

It’s such a natural progression from where we’re already headed. The rules change every year, no one sticks to them even when they do change and the Chris Prongers and Jordan Tootoos of the league are already morphing their abilities and showcasing their talents in anticipation of the coming dramatic shift.

Epic Warriors of The Rounded Rectangle Unite. A new day is coming. Let’s get it on – this time, legally.



Very good article and it shows you how much Bettman and the NHL have screwed up the their marketing for the sport. You give the hockey fans what they want since they are the ones watching the sport and not the 65 year old grandma who Bettman is trying to keep a "clean image" for.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old June 6th, 2007, 16:53
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you know in NYC the nationally televised WNBA game almost beat the NHL in ratings.

NYC is somewhat a hockey town (not as big as Detroit, Pittsburgh etc..) but these teams don't interest us.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old June 6th, 2007, 17:17
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NHL U.S. TV Ratings Stanley Cup Finals:

Year Network Teams Games Carried

Rating
1995 Fox New Jersey-Detroit 2 3.4
1996 Fox Colorado-Florida 2 3.6
1997 Fox Detroit-Philadelphia 1 4.0
1998 Fox Detroit-Washington 1 3.3
1999 Fox Dallas-Buffalo 3 3.4
2000 ABC New Jersey-Dallas 4 3.7
2001 ABC Colorado-New Jersey 5 3.3
2002 ABC Detroit-Carolina 3 3.6
2003 ABC New Jersey-Anaheim 5 2.9
2004 ABC Tampa Bay-Calgary 5 2.6
2006 NBC Carolina-Edmonton 5 2.3

Red Wings-Flyers had the best US TV ratings but it seems like over the past 4 years they have been getting worse and worse... the best all time ratings for CBC was game 7 of the 1994 SC final between the Canucks and Rangers.


Turned off
Game 3 of Cup finals equals NBC's lowest rating ever

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...ycup.ratin.ap/

I doubt the NHL will ever get another national TV contract after NBC drops them, it has got to the point where anything would get better ratings.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old June 6th, 2007, 17:54 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambis

I doubt the NHL will ever get another national TV contract after NBC drops them, it has got to the point where anything would get better ratings.
and that is just fine by me. the league nees to finally see that the NHL is and always will be a regional sport in the states. nothing wrong with that either. the game was great in the 80's then they HAD to "grow" the game, only problem there was the person in charge of growing it couldnt even grow a proper lawn, never mind a sport.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2007, 04:02
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NHL won't go to Vegas soon


ANAHEIM, Calif. (CP) - NHL hockey in Vegas? Don't bet on it any time soon. But if Hollywood mogul Jerry Bruckheimer has his way, it will happen one day.

Sources confirmed to The Canadian Press on Wednesday that the film and television producer has had informal talks with the NHL over the past few months about one day owning an expansion team in Las Vegas.

A source close to the talks said it's still "4-5 years away."

That goes along with what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters last week during his annual news conference at the Stanley Cup final.

"At the present time we're not looking at expansion. At the present time we're not looking at relocation," Bettman said.

Still, the league has spoken with Bruckheimer, an avid hockey fan who was slated to attend Wednesday night's fifth game of the Cup final.

If the league does expand, it will likely be from 30 to 32 teams. Kansas City could be one option. A new arena is being built there and the city that has also lobbied the NHL for a team.

Bettman also told reporters last week that he was "intrigued" by a possible return to Winnipeg one day.



They have to be kidding no way in hell should the league expand to 32 teams, if anything we should be cutting teams and at best relocating.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2007, 13:05
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A good Canadian team beaten by the Orange County Mighty Ducks, what a joke! Screw Bettman!
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2007, 13:16
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A good Canadian team beaten by the Orange County Mighty Ducks, what a joke! Screw Bettman!
Did you see Bettman sucking up to the crowd before the Cup presentation? he was just having an orgasm out there with his quote "sounds like hockey is doing pretty will in California, don't you think?" plus he had to mention that the Ducks were the first West coast team to win it "and they did it in only their 14th year", as if his expansion experiment has worked to perfection.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2007, 16:37
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yeah that was horrible to watch....those fans who went to the game will forget everything in a day

its not like when the Rangers won the cup which is still today considered one of the best sporting moments in NYC sports history, even over the Yankees dynasty and the Giants superbowl
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2007, 17:15 Thread Starter
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vegas is more suited to the NBA. the NBA has all the glitz and glamour that so very vegas. the NHL....well, not so much glitz and there has been no glamour since ron duguay..lol.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old June 7th, 2007, 21:33
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Las Vegas will never get a major league sports team (they do have a AAA baseball team)

especially after that disaster in the NBA all-star game where it looked more like a thug convention than an all-star weekend
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old June 8th, 2007, 00:35
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Originally Posted by lions67
vegas is more suited to the NBA. the NBA has all the glitz and glamour that so very vegas. the NHL....well, not so much glitz and there has been no glamour since ron duguay..lol.
The thing that irks me more than anything else with Bettman is he came here as some marketing guru. But he's three steps behind everyone in this category.

Why didn't we have our All-Star game in Vegas. It would've gotten us good ratings and some free Vegas advertising. But no Bettman is 3 steps behind Stern and hell Major league Lacross in marketing.

I've been hearing rumblings that Bettman wants out of the 2014 Olympics:rollani: Olympic hockey is the only thing that gets ratings anymore. I know that Canada US game in 02 drew like a 12 or 13. Thats a huge number.

Bettman should've been fired years ago his over expansion was stupid. And his drift away from promoting players to promoting markets was a disaster.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old June 8th, 2007, 02:37
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:broken:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ambis
Did you see Bettman sucking up to the crowd before the Cup presentation? he was just having an orgasm out there with his quote "sounds like hockey is doing pretty will in California, don't you think?" plus he had to mention that the Ducks were the first West coast team to win it "and they did it in only their 14th year", as if his expansion experiment has worked to perfection.
Once the score the game ended I stopped watching due to heartbreak:broken:, plus I knew that if I had seen that ****'s face, I would've smashed the TV. The current state of the league is a joke, instead of having teams in the OC, Dallas, Nashville and Atlanta, Bettman should be trying to put the NHL in Canada and the northern US.
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old June 14th, 2007, 13:58
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Trying to grow the game in the southern US is futile, that's like the MLB putting teams in Europe, it would flop badly.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old June 16th, 2007, 17:28
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VERSUS Themselves
In another comedy of errors, VS screws up NHL awards show, and now will be shown on tape delay at 11pm.


I picture in my mind, as I stare at Kickboxing on my TV...Gary Bettman's simpering grin, his tongue lolling out from his lips, giving empty words to another of his fiasco's due to the NHL's choice of TV carriers in the United States. VERSUS screwed up the feed and the NHL Awards that was supposed to be shown live is now on tape delay to be shown at 11pm.

Another slap in the face to US fans...those few who actually desire to tune in and see accolades be given. To celebrate the sport they love one last time, that final trek of the 2006-2007 season.

Instead...I see two small men flailing about like the NHL on US soil.

Mistakes happen. Technical difficulties happen all the time. But this comedy of errors hits a nerve to most US hockey fans. Another brick in the wall of what keeps interested American fans from the sport of hockey.

Will Bettman laugh it off? Of course he will. He laughs away as Comcast offered 65 million last year and another 70 million this year, overpaying for what ESPN was offering half of. So Bettman merrily left ESPN and their 20 million viewers to languish in the ratings dumper.

VS already exercised their option for 2007-2008. NHL holds the rights for 2008-2009. Don't expect things to change, just try to laugh instead of crying.


http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=8034
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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old June 17th, 2007, 14:09
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I even heard some MLS games do better than hockey on VS

Call me crazy but I have a theory on why hockey is not covered on the news or ESPN deeply, its all PC. They see a sport which is 99% white players, 99% white fanbase and they don't want to cover that. That is just my theory on one of many reasons why these networks don't cover it. I mean seriously, who cares about basketball anymore, but they have their target audience there
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old June 19th, 2007, 02:52
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Also lets put our ratings in some perspective. The NBA Spurs Cavs series was awful and even when the Series was still up in the air in the first three games. Also that series was hyped up and had Lebron.

I think with the internet, cable/satelite every sport is fighting for a spot except for football. I mean our US sports market is so diluted and so over flooded with so many options. Back 20,30 years ago their were only a handful of sports on TV. Now we have a professional food eating channel for god's sake.

I think the NHL should really get an NHL TV station up and running on most cable and satelite providers
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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old June 19th, 2007, 05:44 Thread Starter
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they do.
it's called centre ice.
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old June 22nd, 2007, 03:39
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I'm speaking more of something along the lines of NBA TV, NFL TV. A network that is dedicated to hockey 24hrs a day. I think we have somehting called NHL network but I think its only online. But if tennis, golf, soccer can all have it we should too.

Center Ice is great but I would love an NHL sportcenter at 11pm giving me only hockey news and highlights. I order Center Ice its great it really is but I just hate the minute the game is done the screen turns blue and its over. I would like to have some type of postgame, highlight show like other sports-only channels have. The NHL really should be more creative with their marketing.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old June 22nd, 2007, 03:55
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Originally Posted by croatian batman
I'm speaking more of something along the lines of NBA TV, NFL TV. A network that is dedicated to hockey 24hrs a day. I think we have somehting called NHL network but I think its only online. But if tennis, golf, soccer can all have it we should too.
Yes they have the NHL network in Canada and its great, last time i was at my cousins in Toronto i watched it all day long. They show classic NHL games all the time plus its so much fun to have shows that only concentrate on hockey like there is on the NFL Network with NFL Access. Last time i called Comcast and requested the channel they said there is not enough interest in the US and its gonna take a while for it to come to the states. As far as the Center Ice package goes i have ordered it for 2 straight years and its awesome you get every game (HNIC coverage on saturdays) and sometimes they even include world juniors but they need to lower the price and make it under $100 if they really want more people to buy it especially the non-hockey fans.
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