WAS NHL EXPERIMENT WORTH IT? LATE NIGHT SHOWS THINK SO
Although Team USA came home without a medal, the
Olympic "experience wasn't a waste, at least according to
the NHL. They say the purpose was to get worldwide exposure
for the sport," according to CNBC's Don Dahler. NHL VP
Bernadette Mansur: "Over eleven billion people across the
planet watched the Olympics." Dahler: "Even though the
games aired late, delayed, and to relatively small ratings,
they were some of the highest rated hockey games ever seen
on U.S. TV." Mansur: "We have a very young demographic.
We're stronger than any other sport in the 18-34. And that
demographic stuck with us." Dahler: "When word got out that
some of Team USA's superstars acted like superbrats, some
observers began to question if the great experiment was
worthwhile." But sports marketing consultant Scott Carter
said that for the league, "Ultimately the benefits far
outweighed the shortcomings" ("The Edge," CNBC, 2/23).
ANOTHER VOTE FOR A RETURN: In N.Y., columnist Dave
Anderson supports the league's return for the Salt Lake 2002
Games: "Don't let those who trashed the room spoil what is
the world's center stage for hockey" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).
LAUGH TRACKS: On the "Late Show," David Letterman: "I
thought the Olympics and the closing ceremonies generally,
kind of ended up on a bad note when the U.S. men's hockey
team drank several cases of beer and tried to extinguish the
Olympic flame" ("Late Show," CBS, 2/23). On the "Tonight
Show," Jay Leno said, "Even though war has been avoided, the
word is out that the Clinton administration may try some
covert action to try and topple Saddam Hussein. What
they're gonna do is send the U.S. Olympic hockey team over
and have them just trash the place" (NBC, 2/23).
AS OPPOSED TO? Canadian Hockey Association VP Bob
Nicholson, on his team's fourth place finish: "I don't think
it was a disaster at all. We certainly didn't get the gold
medal we were after, but the players themselves were
outstanding" (Grant Kerr, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/24).
MLB: USA TODAY's Hal Bodley writes MLB "can forget
about sending players to the Olympics. The [NHL] proved in
Nagano it doesn't work." MLB President Paul Beeston: "When
we talked about this, we said we had the benefit of being
able to observe what happened with the NHL in the Olympics.
Sure, there are some concerns now" (USA TODAY, 2/24).