The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin noted the NHL's conference realignment means fans will be able to see every team "play the locals on their home broadcaster." Also, the new "intra-conference playoff format will create a more equitable travel schedule for all teams, not simply Eastern teams whose limited travel gave them a huge advantage in the past." So in the first two playoff rounds Vancouver "wouldn’t be playing three times zones away in Detroit, or Edmonton would not have long trips to Nashville or St. Louis in the central time zone." The "downside for the seven Canadian teams is that they’re almost all in two divisions, meaning that while CBC and TSN will have plenty of domestic matchups in the early rounds the teams could wind up eliminating each other before we get to the Conference Finals" (GLOBE & MAIL, 12/7).
NATIONAL BLACKOUT: In DC, Michael Lee noted the NBA's TV partners -- ABC, ESPN and TNT -- "didn't bother to schedule the Wizards for any games this season." The "snub is understandable and justified, considering the Wizards won just 23 games and didn’t prove to be primetime players last season." Even with a "potential star" in G John Wall and the slam-dunk champion runner-up JaVale McGee, the nets are "looking for more than a few highlights" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/7).
KICKING IT UP: The GUARDIAN's Matt Scott reports the accounts of England's FA "are set to be swelled by a minimum" of US$31M every year as "negotiations over its broadcast contracts enter their final stage." A two-year domestic contract has been agreed to with ITV, and it exceeds the US$62M-a-year "target set by the FA's commercial division." It is "expected that a new six-year deal with overseas broadcasters -- initially comprising all England and FA Cup matches between 2012 and 2014, before covering only England's friendly matches and the FA Cup through to 2018 -- will also raise in excess" of US$62M each year. The overseas figure currently "is a projection, since one territory remains to be completed." However, "having signed contracts on the lucrative European market, the FA is involved in negotiations only with the Asian broadcasters" (GUARDIAN, 12/8).