NHL SAYS IT'S NOT SURPRISED BY ABC'S SCALED-BACK TV SCHEDULE
ABC Sports announced its plans to air "just four days
of NHL coverage next season -- the minimum required under
its agreement with the league." The "NHL on Fox" had 11
broadcasts this past season. NHL Exec VP Steve Solomon said
the league understood the network's decision: "Frankly, it's
been very, very difficult for regular season games to
demonstrate their importance on over-the-air network
television, week in and week out" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 5/8). In
St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote that ABC's decision means
Disney spent $600M "to beef up hockey on ESPN and ESPN2."
Pilson Communications President Neal Pilson: "Disney did
this deal for ESPN and mostly ESPN2. Not for the good of
the NHL." Jones: "Good news for the league: more money for
its TV deal. Bad news: less exposure. And the bad news is
worse than the good news is good" (ST. PETE TIMES, 5/9).