SBD/31/Sports Media

WITH FOX-BOTS AND ALL, IT'S SHOWTIME FOR THE NHL

     With Fox debuting its coverage of the NHL this Sunday at
3:00pm (ET), many columnists offer final advice and critiques.
In Toronto, Rob Longley writes, "Hockey purists consider this a
warning:  Fox Sports' NHL debut this Sunday will look more like
Super Nintendo than Hockey Night in Canada."  Longley, noting the
Foxbots, animated characters that will appear after each score:
"Fox learned that hockey is the second-highest selling video game
in the U.S.  The network also decided it was after a young
audience, so why not keep the kids happy?" (TORONTO SUN, 3/31).
"NHL on Fox" Exec Producer Ed Goren: "Our graphics will have the
video game look.  Kids play those games.  They're the ones
wearing NHL sweaters, playing street hockey on roller blades in
California and Florida" (TORONTO STAR, 3/31).  In New York, Phil
Mushnick calls Fox's targeting of a younger audience a "wise"
move.  Mushnick on the Foxbots: "If it's clean entertainment for
kids and it doesn't hurt older fans' view of the game, we'll deal
with it" (N.Y. POST, 3/31).  Rangers Goalie Mike Richter was
quoted on "ET" last night saying that hockey is perfect for the
Fox audience:  "It's fast paced, it's a lot of hitting, it's a
team sport, I think it's a game that can capture the imagination
of a lot of the kids" ("Entertainment Tonight," 3/30).
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