Monday, May 21, 2007

The NHL is on NBC...Unless it's a tie game

Turd Ferguson: Give me "Sports on TV" for $200, Alex.

Alex Trebek: The question is, "What is the lowest rated, and worst treated, sport in TV broadcast history?"

Sean Connery: What is, "Me plowing your mom?" Suck it, Trebek!

Turd Ferguson: What is, "The NHL on NBC?"

How far has the NHL fallen? When the NHL has fallen to the point where I can make a really bad "Celebrity Jeopardy" joke, I don't think it could fall any farther.

The NHL playoff game between Buffalo and Ottawa is dropped after regulation time by NBC in order to cover a horse race. I never thought I'd write that about ANY legitimate sport. What's even stranger is that the NHL has their own version of the Heidi game, and save for a few hockey hotbeds, no one really cared.

I guess it's kismet that NBC was the culprit in both cases.

The whole situation between the NHL and NBC is almost pitiful. The NHL is acting like a high school kid desperate to keep their hot girlfriend. They are so desperate, they'll agree to anything in order to continue the relationship, even if that relationship is self destructive.

Gary Bettman is sacrificing an already shaky future in order to say that his sport is carried on a major network. Even if NBC is the lowest rated of the Big 4 networks, and is behaving as if they are doing the NHL a huge favor by even allowing such a low rated sport on their precious airwaves. Other niche sports are treated better by their networks than the NHL is treated by NBC.

The following list is what I'm guessing are NBC Sports' priorities, in order of importance, when it comes to the sports properties on which they hold the broadcast rights.

1. NFL - The king of all sports, whatever they say, goes. The NBC Sunday night football pregame show has a higher on screen population than most small towns.

2. Notre Dame football - The crown prince to the NFL kingdom, NBC isn't called the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company for nothing. When Charlie Weis eats, expect NBC to be there with exclusive coverage.

3. Olympics - In actual Olympic years, move it to number 2. If the summer games are held in the USA, all bets are off, the sky is the limit.

4. PGA golf- Has a small, but high income, demographic. Plus, Tiger Woods = Ratings.

5. Poker - On Saturday, 3 hours of network airtime was devoted to their "Heads-Up Poker Championship." 'Nuff said. When network TV devotes an inordinate amount of time to something as faddish as tournament poker, you know it's reached the saturation point. Saturated market or not, NBC still runs the tape to its conclusion.

6. Figure skating - Notice how skating is always shown as alternative counter programming when a huge sporting event is on another network? Plus NBC has to push to get a few prepubescent skaters known in preparation for their Olympics coverage.

7. Horse racing - An entire afternoon is devoted to the Breeders Cup. And we all saw what happened on Saturday for the Preakness coverage.

8. Tennis - NBC carries the French Open and Wimbledon. Americans only remotely care about 2 tennis tournaments, NBC has one of them in Wimbledon.

9. Dew Action Tour - I have no idea what this is, but NBC sure shows plenty of it.

10. Pro rodeo bull riding - Somebody must watch this, as NBC seems to use it as filler.

11. NHL - Has any of the above sports and activities been treated as shabbily as the NHL?

If the NHL and NBC believe ratings are bad now, just wait. As someone who enjoys hockey, I hate to say this, but if the Stanley Cup finals turns out to be Anaheim vs. Ottawa, which even as a Red Wings fan I have to say is very likely, no one the USA but a handful of fans in SoCal will watch.

We could see national ratings in the negative numbers, if such a thing is possible. Despite the record low ratings, bad publicity, lack of respect and horrible treatment, at least the NHL is on an American broadcast network, right?

1 comment:

  1. Gary Bettman has got to go!!!