ESPN America did want NHL for UK…. AND BID MORE

Posted: November 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

After speaking to a source working within ESPN about the hockey situation and the broadcast mess, I learnt an interesting fact about the coverage deal for the UK. For understandable reasons I cannot name the source, but the source does work for ESPN and is credible.

It appears that for the UK ESPN America actually bid more for the rights to broadcast NHL than Premier Sports did, but what clinched the deal for Premier Sports was that they promised the NHL and the rights holders that they would be doing more promotional work around the game and that they would make a hard push to get more people interested in the game.

ESPN America was really interested and wanted to carry on showing the NHL in the UK, but as MarkUKLeaf mentioned on his blog: “Commissioner Bettman said to me on the phone that they didn’t want to deal with ESPN America as hockey had to compete with other US sports like baseball and basketball.”

Where I am sure Premier Sports is doing its best to do this, there are people out there who feel disappointed by the coverage so far. There has been numerous calls for half time analysis shows instead of adverts or the interview segments (I’m sorry I forget what it’s called as I automatically change channels for the break). After tweeting Premier Sports about this during their first Hockey Night In Canada broadcast, which I eagerly anticipated with pre-game and the stunning intro videos that CBC is renowned for, I was disappointed to learn that these will not be shown.

The tweet from Premier Sports read: “we are only allowed to take the games at the moment not studio as the rights for that are separate. We are trying for CBC.” Encouraging, but not really ideal. Though please do bear in mind that there was a similar issue with NASN/ESPN America a few years ago where they couldn’t show the CBC feed of the games.

Now here is the real kicker in all of this. According to my source, the deal was in place WEEKS before the games went on air with Premier Sports. So a deal was in place weeks before the season even started and Europe was left in the dark for nearly A MONTH into the season. I can’t help but feel a little bit cheated by the all parties involved. Surely it would’ve been beneficial for both the league and Premier Sports to get off to a better start with the new programme.

I can’t help but feel that the NHL wanted to have the Nordic region deal in place before allowing other media partners to release the fact they carried the sport.

Just a shame that us fans were cheated with this.

Comments
  1. Donald King says:

    We don’t want it on ESPN because it competes with baseball & basketball, says Mr Bettman. This seems an absurd reason – baseball is over by the time the NHL season is less than a month under way. Not that Mr Bettman was to know that the NBA was going to fold up. How Premier Sports are going to be in a better position to promote hockey than ESPN is a mystery to me. If you are a Virgin customer, you cannot get NHL – full stop. If you are a Sky customer, you have to subscribe to Premier separately. Premier are about a year old – I’d never even heard of them before all this started. I shall not watch NHL this season, Mr Bettman, and I doubt that I shall again for a very long time unless 1) NHL reappears on ESPN or 2) Premier Sports appear on Virgin.

    1) Why is it that NFL games appear on both Sky and Virgin (and the Superbowl on free TV), while the NHL are confined to one channel?

    2) Could ESPN America show college hockey, which I’ve seen once or twice before?

    (There’s always the Spengler Cup on Eurosports to look forward to.)

    • fyz1kz says:

      They say they want to increase fans of this sport, but they sold the rights in uk to a unknown channel instead of using the already well-known broadcaster espn am who have shown us GREAT coverage over the last few years (between espn and former nasn) and in HD so are they Really trying to reach more viewers? i think not. lets just say they made a bad decision when it came to this deal..

      As regards to letting the EU fans know about this, YOU should BE ASHAMED of your business,YOU knew and told us NOTHING!

      And as a long time fan of NHL and obviously rely on TV to view matches i find this awful, it sickens me that i will miss a season after last years Awesome season provided by espn am. To think that my favourite sport is now on SKY who dont even care about the coverage which has been talked about in MANY forums that the early coverage is CRAP, SKY=ADVERTS, thats all sky is, SELL OUTS.

      And for those that say ‘watch it online’, im sorry that isnt a real option for me, i DONT want to see streamed crap, my internet has better uses than watching what Really should be on TV, and what i should be watching LIVE, because this is what a UK FAN is used to, LIVE NHL, staying up late as a tradition to watch the coverage of HNIC,Versus,etc.. It made me feel like i was a part of a sport…

      Im telling Don Cherry about this….. Totally pissed NHL FaN :(

  2. Graham says:

    After reading the previous comments it seems that my worst concerns are true. I wishfully clung onto the hope that ESPN were just delaying the start of their coverage. I’m a Virgin customer and look forward to the Hockey season to see me through the long dark nights indoors with the telly. The wife watches her soaps and I get to watch a real mans game. I feel robbed! Its going to be a long winter…. Shame on you ESPN!

    • fyz1kz says:

      Well i just HAD to give in! Gamecenter live it is..its actually pretty gud,i get to see soo many more games than wat i did with espn or formerly nasn, and i get to choose which games and when i want to view, i recommend it if its purely the games you want to see and not all the pre shows,hnic etc, although some channels ive seen the pre game show and adverts..best thing is i can watch whenever i want, live or recorded, and surprisingly the quality of picture is very gud,my pc goes thro my hdtv and its WELL watchable compared to Lo-bit streamed alternatives

      But Shame on YOU ESPN America!

  3. fyz1kzf says:

    Well i just HAD to give in! Gamecenter live it is..its actually pretty gud,i get to see soo many more games than wat i did with espn or formerly nasn, and when i want, i recommend it if its purely the games you want to see and not all the pre shows,hnic etc, although some channels ive seen the pre game show and adverts..best thing is i can watch whenever i want, live or recorded, and surprisingly the quality of picture is very gud,my pc goes thro my hdtv and its WELL watchable compared to Lo-bit streamed alternatives

    But Shame on YOU ESPN America!

  4. A. J. Auzins says:

    Situation is more absurd in Latvia – one of the countries that has a couple of its own playing in the NHL. We used to be able to get NHL via ESPN, especially HNIC the definitive hockey broadcast. Now ESPN America ir not only not showing the NHL, they are also not showing the NFL!!! Some North American sports network.

    Looking at the “Russia” TV program for ESPN the clearly show that both the NHL and the NFL are available…

    The viewership size is nowhere near comparable and it’s likely that the small markets will continue to be excluded. Way to go NHL! Great penetration and good work popularizing your game.

    Dear NHL: Go pound sand up your ass!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s