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The last piece of the (rebuilding) puzzle, MO • 27 Years Old • Male

Why ESPN needs the NHL

Posted 11:31 PM ET | Comments 15
Sure, we all know that the NHL could use the national exposure on ESPN. But why does ESPN need the NHL?

Because ESPN is terrible.

Think about all the "sports" programming that airs in place of hockey:

I'll admit, the World Series of Poker was entertaining for about a day and a half...in 2003. Yet, the number of times I've seen poker reruns exceeds the number of times Brent Johnson let one through the five hole. Yikes.

And the World's Strongest Man is funny for like, 3 seconds. It also loses its significance when you figure that Rod Brind'Amour could probably beat all of them.

The Spelling Bee probably is only entertaining to the parents of the kids in them, or really sadistic people who like watching the hopes, dreams and confidence of little kids get crushed get crushed faster than the 2007 Atlanta Thrashers playoff hopes.

Who could forget the time when ESPN aired Roger Clemens' rehab assignment in the minor league, when Clemens would pitch and analysts would provide commentary in studio during the other half inning? It so insignificant that it was sort of like turning on the TV and watching the news crew film an NFL wide receiver doing something mundane like sit ups on his lawn...oh, wait...

And please, the NBA and WNBA? Seriously? Need I say more? Not even the departure of Gary Bettman could bring the NBA into the big time.

So, with that being said, I think the NHL is the perfect match for ESPN, because, well, it's an actual sport and not a sideshow freak like the Little League World Series. And hey, if you're Chris Drury, Ray Ferraro, Stephane Matteau, or Pierre Turgeon, we all know the Little League World Series is really just a starting point for an NHL career, so maybe they should just call it the "NHL Prospects Tournament."

ESPN needs hockey because it needs legitimate sports programming. Too many other stations can pick up stupid little things like trick shot billiards with the dude that looks like Mark Twain. But only ESPN can carry a bona fide competitive sport...that is, when they're not airing the professional bowling championships.

I know, I know. Hockey gets lower ratings than professional lawn darts. But let's be real with ourselves for a minute...if ESPN thought such sophomoric sports coverage could sell better than the NHL, would they be willing to take us back? The fact that ESPN is rumored to want the league back on the air is proof they see the need to return to real sports, not quick fix. "ESPN 8 The Ocho" caliber programming that loses its appeal faster than an MTV reality series.

As much as I loathe ESPN for their sports snottiness and heir elitist attitude towards hockey, we need the exposure. I'm tired of being the only one in Kansas City who knows who Alex Ovechkin is.
Filed Under:   espn   nhl   stephane matteau  
December 5, 2007 11:49 AM ET | Delete
I saw ESPN had a dog show on the other day. I also watched a few seconds of figure skating from Paris. There were 50 or so people in the stands in attendance. Amusing.
December 5, 2007 12:22 PM ET | Delete
While I wish Sportscenter looked more like Sportscentre, it's clear that ESPN does not need hockey. Apparently, it has been proven that whatever they were to spend on hockey rights isn't justified by the financial return it gets,(got). Until the rest of North America can see hockey as we do, the greatest team sport of all, ESPN is right not to air it. It's a bummer that their lack of a contract with the NHL gives them license to completely ignore hockey, but there has to be a demand before a supply. In the end, it's not really that bad that hockey isn't that popular in some parts. We can 'keep it real.'
December 5, 2007 12:29 PM ET | Delete
God I hate watching ESPN now or as I call it ESPNFL. It's really annoying to watch sportscenter on a Wednesday and see "updates" about how Brady will pass for this many yards, or how Owens is doing this. It's all NFL this and that. Then they bring on Butthead Melrose for 1 minute and show one NHL game. It's pathetic and embarrassing for the NHL. Screw ESPN!
December 5, 2007 12:46 PM ET | Delete
ESPN wants the NHL back. They have been trying to get them back. I am not sure why they haven't gotten them but I think it has to do with the current contracts the NHL has with Versus. I remember reading an article about how ESPN has pitched the return of NHL many times and it hasn't been able to be accomplished. I expect the NHL back on ESPN within the next few years.
December 5, 2007 1:23 PM ET | Delete
I think the Versus contract expires come this Jan 1st. So maybe then ESPN will sign on. Once ESPN gets the NHL back, there will be more coverage on Sportscenter. Gotta think about how they market the leagues.
December 5, 2007 1:39 PM ET | Delete
If ESPN has soccer then it should definitely have NHL hockey.
December 5, 2007 1:59 PM ET | Delete
I stopped watching Sportscenter the day I saw their top ten plays of the night a couple years back. There were 2 hockey highlights, the rest were NBA/College Basketball. The 2 hockey ones were of an incredible goal being scored and an unbelieveable save by Brodeur (I think). But neither one were the top play. Top play, 7 foot tall Pro basketballer making a slam dunk, wide open, no twist in the air, no reversy. Just someone that only had to jump 3 inches into the air to put a round ball in a round basket. TOP PLAY! That's talent! Screw ESPN until they realize hockey IS the greatest sport invented by man.
December 5, 2007 2:11 PM ET | Delete
as long as they dont do like the NFL and have its own network where only satellite subscribers can get it
December 5, 2007 2:55 PM ET | Delete
Hockey will be back on ESPN before you know it. The reason they don't cover it on ESPN or have shows, is because of the whole situation with the NHL. They have to carry it a little bit, but its more of a if you aren't with us.. you will be without us. So they don't carry much Hockey at all. That will change when they get the sport back. You will see those NHL specialty shows back and everything.
December 5, 2007 3:19 PM ET | Delete
""Because ESPN is terrible.""Couldn't have said it better myself.Yes, when the NHL gets back on the four-letter, their coverage will very much increase.
December 5, 2007 3:32 PM ET | Delete
Who needs ESPN when there is the Center Ice Package? Screw them, screw Bettman. I'm tired of trying to sell the sport to people that don't care. Even as a U.S. citizen I say the Coyotes, Thrashers and Panthers all should move to Canada where they would draw 100% all the time! Bring back the Nordiques and Jets!! Quit trying to change the sport.
December 5, 2007 3:50 PM ET | Delete
^^^ Totally agree
December 6, 2007 12:15 AM ET | Delete
ESPN should take over the NHL Network in the US, develop it just as a hockey only channel ESPNHLESPN has so many other channels, the cross promotion would be priceless
December 6, 2007 12:16 AM ET | Delete
easier read: ESPN should take over the NHL Network in the US, develop it just as a hockey only channel ESPNHL * ESPN has so many other channels, the cross promotion would be priceless
December 6, 2007 10:56 AM ET | Delete
the new guy in charge of programming at espn wants hockey.. it wa previous programming groups that ditched hockey.. its adifferent group headign espn now.. so hockey has a spot now
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