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SBD/Issue 54/Sports Media
Blocked Shots: Bettman Fields Questions From Callers
Published November 28, 2007
|Bettman Fields Questions From Callers|
During Debut Of XM's "NHL Hour"
GETTING TO THE ISSUES: Listeners could also submit questions via e-mail, and the only e-mail read during the hour asked if there is a chance that the NHL will return to ESPN when the league’s contract with Versus expires. Bettman said Versus “treats us as their most important product, and while we had a good relationship with ESPN, coming out of the work stoppage [in ‘05] we had different objectives. They have everything on ESPN, and we felt we need a primary importance that perhaps they couldn’t give us. We gave up some distribution in the short term. … Versus will continue to grow, we expect to be with them for the long term. But we never say never to anything, and maybe an opportunity will come up in the future to maybe have ESPN join in the mix.” Another caller asked Bettman what the NHL could do about the Maple Leafs management, with the team currently in last place in the Northeast Division. Bettman claimed the Leafs management "is very strong" and noted "winning isn't easy to do." Co-host Bill Clement also asked Bettman about issues surrounding the sale of the Lightning and the Predators. Bettman said sales of teams “all have twists and turns. There’s never one that is like any one that preceded it. There’s always some issue with the closing, there’s always some issue among partners. The easiest sale is when a very successful person comes up and writes a check and we call it a day.” Bettman also conducted a quick interview with Stars G Marty Turco, asking him about working for new co-GM Brett Hull, the size of goalie equipment and his favorite NHL arenas.