SBD/Issue 168/Franchises

Simultaneous Red Wings, Pistons Games Create Dilemma For Fans

Daly Says Conflicting Dates For
Detroit Fans Were Unavoidable
Detroit-area fans will be "left to choose between watching the [Red] Wings or the Pistons" on both Saturday and Monday night, as both teams are scheduled to host playoff games starting within 30 minutes of each other, according to Tim Twentyman of the DETROIT NEWS. The Red Wings will host the Penguins for Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, while the Pistons will play the Celtics in Games 3 and 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Red Wings Senior VP/Business Affairs Steve Violetta: "It's out of our controls, meaning the Red Wings and Pistons both. The league dictates who plays on what playoff schedule and a lot of that is driven by television" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/21). NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly: "If we could have avoided it, we would have, so the people in the Detroit market who might want to watch both could. But we established our schedule weeks ago." Daly added, "The NBA was aware of what our days were, but I guess they have to do what's best for them."  NBA Commissioner David Stern said that the dates for the NBA Conference Finals were "locked in last summer." Daly said that the NHL's "chief concern" is that "casual fans will have to make a choice rather than boosting the ratings of each game" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 5/21).

BLAME CANADA? ESPN.com's Eric Adelson wrote while the NHL "gets a mulligan for scheduling" the Amp Energy Winter Classic against college football bowl games on January 1, it now has committed a "far worse offense: The first three games of the Stanley Cup finals will be played at the same time as Games 3, 4 and 5 of the NBA's Eastern Conference finals." NHL VP/Media Relations Frank Brown said of the scheduling, "We have rights-holders. CBC has aired 'Hockey Night in Canada' on Saturday night for 50 years." But Adelson wrote does "anyone really think the Knicks and Rangers would be pitted against each other three times in six playoff nights?" Brown said the scheduling overlap is "one of those freakish things that happen" (ESPN.com, 5/20).

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