Yes, I am sure the money is right. If nothing else is important to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, money is. The bigger question is “is the television contract with NBC good for recruiting new and more hockey fans?”
I would say emphatically NO after the past two days. First off, this year’s Stanley Cup Championship Finals are being aired on both Versus (cable television where the regular season airs) and NBC. This partnership between Comcast and NBC seems perfect except now. Versus does not mind that teams host viewing parties. NBC does.
How does a team recruit new fans? There is the draft a local kid idea but that is hard to do. So, teams cash in on good play. When a team makes the Stanley Cup Finals, that team should be able to draw in as many spectators as possible.
Last night, a critical game six and possibly Detroit’s winning of the Cup, saw NBC screw with both Pittsburgh’s and Detroit’s ability to broadcast the game on large screens. Pittsburgh was told NO to showing game six on the big screen outside Mellon Arena. Detroit was told NO to showing the game on what is known in Hockeytown as “Joe Vision” – a viewing party at Joe Louis arena on the big screens. NBC’s reasoning for these denials – something that was allowed during games three and four at Pittsburgh when the games were televised on Versus – is simple and money oriented. It screws with ratings to have large group viewing parties.
If I were in Buffalo or Niagara Falls, I would protest. I would watch the Stanley Cup Finals on Canadian television. Since I live in the Southern Tier and do not get Canadian channels, I will suffer through making good ratings for NBC for game seven on Friday night. Then, I will go back to not watching things on NBC.