SBD/Issue 19/NHL Season Preview

NHL Media Notes: Winter Classic Could Help League In TV Talks

Capitals-Penguins NHL Winter Classic Should
Help NHL In TV Rights Negotations In Offseason

YAHOO SPORTS' Sean Leahy wrote with the NHL's TV deals expiring after this season, the league is "putting all of its chips in and banking on a mega-rating" for the Jan. 1 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic featuring Sidney Crosby's Penguins and Alex Ovechkin's Capitals. Leahy: "And they'll get it. Easily." Even before the NHL and HBO announced a "24/7" series around the game, the Winter Classic "would attract the casual and non-hockey fans because of its uniqueness and, especially this year, star power." Leahy wrote Jan. 1 "isn't what it used to be for college football, as hockey is beginning to own the day; and what better way to stamp your arrival than by bringing the superstar draw?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/6).

BUSY SATURDAY: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted the Blues regular-season opener against the Flyers and the Colorado-Missouri college football game are "set to be played simultaneously Saturday night, leading to some channel shuffling to accommodate both." KMOX-AM "has the rights to each game and will air hockey," with the Missouri game going to KFNS-AM. The TV situation, in which FS Midwest "has the rights to both, is more complex." Colorado-Missouri "will air on secondary" FS Midwest channels in the St. Louis market and in Cape Girardeau, Mo., while all FS Midwest subscribers in those markets and throughout Illinois will get Flyers-Blues "on the normal" FS Midwest spot. Outside the St. Louis area, the Blues game "will air on the regular" FS Midwest slots on DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse (STLTODAY.com, 10/6).

MANY STILL IN THE DARK: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reported new channel Sportsnet One as of yesterday afternoon was "rumoured to be adding Bell TV, the satellite carrier, to its roster of Rogers, Shaw Direct and Cable, Telus., Novus and Cable TV of Camrose." However, customers of Cogeco, Videotron and "smaller carriers are still not going to have access to the considerable NHL schedule Rogers has dedicated to their new channel." Rogers was "hoping pressure from disgruntled viewers missing their team's games would put pressure on the carriers, not back on themselves," but if the "standoff continues long into the season, disgruntled will be one of the polite words to describe the wrath of hockey fans denied their home team." Meanwhile, Dowbiggin rates the local broadcast teams for the six Canadian NHL teams (GLOBESPORTS.com, 10/6).

GOING OFF THE AIR: The CBC has cancelled online Punjabi-language NHL broadcasts. The net began airing Punjabi commentary during the '08 Red Wings-Penguins Stanley Cup Final "to enthusiastic response." CBC Head of Media Relations For English Services Jeff Keay said that it was a "'successful experiment' but not one the beleaguered corporation can sustain 'given current resources.'" The cancellation "follows deep staff and program cuts at the CBC," which faced a C$171M "deficit last year" (CP, 10/6).

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