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Philadelphia, PA • United States •
This article im about to share proves part of my therory this league is a)this league is in trouble, b) Bettman still doesnt get it and c) proves that causal fan still doesnt care about NHL

Can’t Follow The NHL

Seriously, here they are, playing the conference semifinal games of the playoffs and I had no idea that the season wasn't over. Have we as Americans completely forgotten about a sport that was once so prominent in this country? I'll admit I'm not much of a hockey fan, but usually when playoffs hit, I'll at least keep track of who's playing and who's winning.

Don't act like I'm the only one either. There are plenty of others out there just like me. So I began to ask myself, why doesn't the NHL have any viewers these days? Why are the ratings on the Versus Network a measly 0.2 (which is 60 percent less than when ESPN carried the games)? Why is it that Arena Football can get more people to watch?

I came up with several reasons why. First of all, it's on a station that most people have never heard of which means only die-hard hockey fans will turn the channel to watch it. Secondly, the only time ESPN will talk about it is when they bring in that loser Barry Melrose who spends most of the time talking about his mullet which, by the way, looks like road-kill on the top of his head.
Filed Under:   nhl   flyers   tv   playoffs   stanley cup  
May 10, 2007 8:56 AM ET | Delete
I agree with you on the channel issues...it took me about 2 mos to get used to tuning into Versus for hockey (and finding the damn station). I disagree with your Barry Melrose comment. He's not the best ambassador for the sport, but he's passionate about it and any face time for the NHL is good. I can tell you're not a huge hockey fan b/c he doesnt spend any time talking about his mullet.
May 10, 2007 9:17 AM ET | Delete
It's obvious that NHL viewership in the U.S. is suffering because the games are on Versus, instead of ESPN. The reason hockey has not grown is because its rarely talked about on American TV. ESPN gives it no more 2-3 minutes of air time per SportsCenter and NBC doesn't promote its televised games at all. ESPN spends its time on the NBA, NFL and MLB...even NASCAR and Arena Football get more love. If the NHL wants viewership, it has to pay up and be on ESPN. And what's not to love about Melrose? And like hAbfAn33 said above me, he may not be the greatest ambassador for the NHL in America, but he is very passionate about it. Non-NHL fans need to see the passion for the sport or they'll never give it a shot.
May 10, 2007 10:25 AM ET | Delete
I have a few friends back in the own I went to college in. They do not even carry VS. They are not big hockey fans but they have been following the scores thanks to the bracket I made. I sent them the youtube video of the Ott/Buf brawl from this year.....needless to say they wish they had VS or someway to watch the game.
May 10, 2007 11:44 AM ET | Delete
Football builds up to the Super Bowl. Baseball builds up to the World Series. By the time the Stanley Cup Finals come around in the US, 9 out of 10 people on the street will say "They're still playing hockey?!?!?!?" I'm not sure hockey is ever going to gain more fan support and viewership in the US as it is viewed as a winter sport but doesn't draw to a conclusion until the summer. Only the diehard fan is going to watch a Saturday or Sunday afternoon playoff game.Is it out of the question to adjust the schedule to have two weeks of Training Camp at the end of August and begin the season Sept 1 and bring it to a conclusion by early to mid May?
May 10, 2007 4:48 PM ET | Delete
it's time for the nhl to ditch the causal fan, go back and make the hardcore fan base happy. what ever stupid idea they come up with next it isnt going to work.Bettman is a poison apple and things in the NHL arent going to get better until he is gone. people remember him for the lockout. i more respect for goddenow now then i did during the lockout becuase he did the horonable thing by resigning and while the small market owner giving bettman a new contract
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