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SBD/April 22, 2011/Media
Ebersol Plans For NBC/Versus To Go After More Rights After Securing NHL Deal
Published April 22, 2011
BACK IN THE GAME: In Albany, Pete Dougherty writes the NHL's new TV deal shows the league "as a viable player again in the TV landscape." There is "no question Versus ... has improved its hockey coverage." Yet there is "still the perception that a sport needing to resonate with more mainstream sports fans needs [ESPN] to become viable" (Albany TIMES UNION, 4/22). In Detroit, Jamie Samuselsen wrote, "The NHL's new TV deal with Versus and NBC is actually a good thing. Versus takes the sport seriously and dedicates the resources to it that the sport deserves. ESPN treats it like an afterthought and employs a slew of announcers who can’t even pronounce some of the names correctly" (FREEP.com, 4/21). Meanwhile, the GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reports the NHL's new contract does not include a "discount for the potential loss" of the Coyotes and Thrashers to Canadian markets. Sources indicated that NBC/Versus "has no recourse for compensation" should the Coyotes, Thrashers "or any other troubled franchise decamp." The possibility of "losing Phoenix (No. 12 media market in the U.S.) or Atlanta (No. 7) is an assumed risk in the deal" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/22).