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SPIKE SITTING RINKSIDE? CAN NHL CAPITALIZE ON NBA LOCKOUT?
Published November 2, 1998
The NHL has an "opportunity" to reach more fans during the NBA lockout, according to Joe Lapointe of the N.Y. TIMES. Lapointe: "Will television cameras find the celebrity basketball buffs Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson in the front row, behind the glass, supporting the Rangers and the [L.A.] Kings? Don't hold your breath. ... There is not a great overlap among the two sports' audiences, and if the lockout drives N.B.A. fans elsewhere, the beneficiary might be college basketball." ESPN Exec VP/Programming Dick Glover: "If there were to be any single programming beneficiary, it would more likely be college basketball than anything else." NHL Senior VP & COO Steve Solomon said that the league "has no plans" to add games to ESPN, ESPN2 or Fox. Solomon, on whether the NHL will attract NBA fans during the lockout: "There is some crossover between N.B.A. and N.H.L. fans. But there is more crossover between N.H.L. fans and N.F.L. fans." Sports marketing consultant Jon Spoelstra: "There is some crossover, but I don't see a big benefit for the N.H.L. If the N.B.A. went out for a year, and they canceled the season, maybe. But not substantive" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/1). N.Y. STORY: MSG Network/Fox Sports NY Exec Producer Mike McCarthy said that more hockey will air in place of lost Knicks/Nets games. McCarthy said "we'll have more hockey on the primary channels" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/1). WORLDLY GAME: The '99 NHL All-Star Game will have stars from North America face stars from the rest of the world for the second consecutive year. The game will be held January 24 at the Ice Palace in Tampa, and broadcast on Fox (NHL).