News & Notes

06 Dec

Here’s a few news items.


First off, let’s start with a quote from David Shoalts’ latest column

NHL chief operating office John Collins will have good news to report about the league’s business in Europe and Asia. After a slow start, the television rights to the league’s overseas markets are now sold, with a deal in Russia the latest to fall into place.

In a confidential memo to the governors two years ago, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league took in $14-million (all figures U.S.) in European television rights, which it split 50-50 with Comcast, which then owned Versus, the league’s main U.S. carrier. Bettman also outlined a strategy of building the league’s presence on multiple platforms to show international advertisers it has a substantial audience in European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

Last summer, the deal with ESPN America, which covered Europe and the Middle East, expired and Bettman decided to negotiate deals individually in each country. He took some heat for the slow start but Collins is expected to tell the governors the NHL will now earn more than double the previous deal, some $30-million, from its overseas broadcast revenue on different platforms.

Whether this number is true or not, who knows but the NHL has already been spinning its new                   international TV deals as huge victories. The fans might feel otherwise but its all rosy in New York. If these dollar figures are correct, don’t expect the NHL to go back to its old way of selling international rights. All that matters to them is dollars and cents, at least when it comes to this issue.


Regional ratings continue to get leaked out. The New York Rangers are the latest and again, it shows some gains. From Sports Media Watch

Through 20 games, Rangers games have averaged a 0.80 rating on MSG Network in the New York market, up 7% from the comparable point last year (0.75).

Tuesday’s game between the Penguins and Rangers earned a 1.60 rating, a season-high.

Those aren’t great numbers, but more importantly, the numbers are up. As long as the Rangers can continue their strong play, the team should see some very high ratings, especially come playoff time.


  • The New York Times is featuring a terrific series on Derek Boogaard. The series will have three parts in total. It’s some of the best hockey writing of the year. Props to the Times for all their hard work on this story. It’s a must read for anyone whether you’re a sports fan or not.
  • Condolences to Detroit Red Wings play by play man Ken Daniels. His father passed away at the age of 96 on Friday. A familiar face to Wings fans filled in on Sunday – Dave Strader. Strader got his NHL start with the Wings before moving to ESPN. Matt Shepard will be on the air Tuesday. Shepard calls college hockey for Fox Sports Detroit along with his main duties as the voice of Michigan Wolverines basketball.
  • For those looking for previews of HBO’s 24/7 and the schedule, you can find them here. The schedule isn’t complete yet but HBO: 24/7 Flyers/Rangers Road to the Winter Classic will premiere every Wednesday, beginning on December 14. Liev Schreiber will narrate the series once again.
  • And speaking of the Winter Classic, Puck The Media has the details on this year’s NBC ad campaign. One of the ads feature Will Arnett and Luc Robitaille, among others singing “The Hockey Song.” It’s a clever campaign and lets hope it gets plenty of airtime during the NFL on NBC.

Posted by on December 6, 2011 in HBO, MSG, NBC, New York Rangers, NHL, Ratings, Television


6 responses to “News & Notes

  1. Joe M

    December 6, 2011 at 4:09 am

    You have to give the NHL some credit. John Collins deserves a raise. 187.5 million a year from NBC and an additional 30 million from international deals is moving things forward. I am hopeful that Versus (NBC Sports Network) can get beyond the 75 million households in the near future. That is the only way the new NBC contract can work long term for the league. NBC is a great partner but every year is lags 24 million households behind ESPN is many lost opportunities to gain new fans.

    • paranoidpuck

      December 6, 2011 at 4:29 am

      John’s already making pretty good money. You can find his salary in an earlier post. He’s done plenty of good things. I think he’s a marketing genius but I do have a few issues. I don’t like all the hype he builds up but it gets people talking and I respect that.

      While many people on this site really ripped the AMI/Medge deal he came up with, I defended parts of it. I just think it was executed very poorly by the league. I’m really interested in the marketing side to that deal which is always forgotten. People just think about the TV rights but marketing was just as important.

      I certainly agree with you on Versus and cable carriage. I was amazed when I had a hotel room that carried NHL Network but not Versus. In the end, Versus needs better programming though. That’s perhaps the key to it all. Bundling NBC channels will help but the network needs some higher profile sports.

  2. JP

    December 6, 2011 at 8:43 am

    While the League may have doubled their income from Europe, that shouldn’t be taken as any kind of measure of spreading popularity or providing a better service, at least as far as TV goes. The deals most of us have ended up with offer a very poor substitute for the service we all had with ESPN the last few seasons. Many of us are still without any form of intermission programming, with zero support programming either, and no HD element in the UK, bearing in mind a lot of UK viewers now don’t receive it at all due to Premier Sports not being part of the Virgin Media package.

    All the NHL has done is up the cost of the broadcasting rights in Europe – not surprising they’d make more money as a result. If they got the financial equivalent of the actual service provided to customers instead then they’d be seeing a financial crisis in Europe this year over the last few seasons’ figures.

  3. JPL

    December 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

    The UK deal is poor for fans – increased costs, requiring subscription to a Grade 2 channel that broadcasts little else of interest, is ignored by the listings magazines, and doesn’t even have 24/7 rights to its channel no. It is hard to believe that anyone of sane mind could call this good marketing by the NHL, although it seems they are making enough money now not to care too much about the long term.

    • paranoidpuck

      December 6, 2011 at 10:49 am

      I’m beating a dead horse here but you need to look at this long term. The same complaints were made when the NHL linked up with OLN. If you looked back to when that deal was signed, the comparisons are pretty close. Fans were very upset.

      As I’ve said before, fans should give this some time to work out. I’m not saying its perfect but this is part of a long term strategy that the NHL has lacked. In the end, it might be very wise. Time will tell. Either way, the league got its money and the suits like that.

  4. JPL

    October 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Almost two years on, and UK viewers are still restricted to an SD-only channel that is available via only one of the major pay TV services. I subscribed to Premier Sports in its first season, and it was poor, therefore I have not renewed. Is that what you mean by time will tell?


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