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NHL SAYS IT'S NOT SURPRISED BY ABC'S SCALED-BACK TV SCHEDULE
Published May 10, 1999
ABC Sports announced its plans to air "just four days of NHL coverage next season -- the minimum required under its agreement with the league." The "NHL on Fox" had 11 broadcasts this past season. NHL Exec VP Steve Solomon said the league understood the network's decision: "Frankly, it's been very, very difficult for regular season games to demonstrate their importance on over-the-air network television, week in and week out" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/8). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote that ABC's decision means Disney spent $600M "to beef up hockey on ESPN and ESPN2." Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson: "Disney did this deal for ESPN and mostly ESPN2. Not for the good of the NHL." Jones: "Good news for the league: more money for its TV deal. Bad news: less exposure. And the bad news is worse than the good news is good" (ST. PETE TIMES, 5/9).