Ovechkin/Crosby Snubbed by NBC

Posted by curve in Columns,Editorials on March 8, 2009 — 3 Comments

For the life of me, I don’t understand how the NHL did not have the Penguins/Capitals game from this afternoon on NBC.  Is there any reasoning for this?  If so, is it any reasoning that fans would actually believe?

Today, NBC decided to broadcast the Bruins/Rangers game nationally, instead of Alexander Ovechkin and Company versus Sidney Crosby and Company.  This decision is incomprehensible. 

First off, the Rangers and Bruins are not exactly the most exciting teams in the NHL.  That isn’t to say that they are boring, but there are no Crosby’s or Ovechkin’s on those teams.  I know they play in large markets but let’s market the game here.  Fans want to watch Crosby and Ovechkin, especially so when they are playing each other.  Moreover, these two players just came off a game where they bashed each other (first physically and then verbally) and the hype for today’s game was palpable.  But instead, the NHL, for some reason, scheduled to broadcast the Rangers/Bruins.

The NHL has had this problem for some time now.  While the NBA broadcasts include the game’s top players, regardless of market size (see: Chris Paul, Tim Duncan and LeBron James), the NHL merely schedules games that include teams playing in the largest markets.  For years, we were subjected to the Rangers on national television–yet they hadn’t made the playoffs in eight years, or a mediocre Bruins team. 

The NBA markets its stars perfectly.  They put them on the national platform; and in the process they market the game itself.  It is time the NHL took these steps.  They need to broadcast good exciting hockey, regardless of where that team is based.  That is how your market the game.  We know the Rangers and Bruins will always have their hardcore fans, but a novice turning on hockey for the first time, won’t exactly take to the game if it is slow and without much action.

On the other hand, if a novice turns on a Penguins/Capitals game or a Sharks/Blackhawks game then they are probably more likely to comeback and take to the game.

It is simple, the NHL needs to make sure its top teams and top players are on national television, regardless of their franchise location.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com david

    Big hits, bigger goals and huge rivalries. Crosby ends it in the shootout with Ovechkin having the opportunity to keep the Caps in it. Are you kidding me? How or why the NBC execs didn’t make an executive decision to change the channel is beyond me.

  • davem

    It has to do with timeslots. NBC had a golf match to show in
    the afternoon (much higher ratings than hockey, like it or not)
    so it had to be an early afternoon game which the Pittsburgh/Caps
    game was not.

    If you don’t think ratings and timeslots matter, remember that it was
    NBC who switched to a horse race as a NHL playoffs game they were
    covering was about to go into overtime.

    Besides the Avery return along with Torts as the new coach was a
    good story line too.

    I thoroughly enjoyed both games.

  • http://www.illegalcurve.com Richard

    That is a good point, but at the same time, NBC should have that game scheduled at 12 EST or whatever time they prefer when they are making the tv schedule. The fact that it was on the same day and not on national television is ridiculous to me.