Another media type weighs in...states the obvious and basks in self-glory...
Wes Goldstein weighs in...
The league's goals heading into the lockout of 2004 were simple and clear cut: Create a more level economic playing surface, produce a more exciting product and give every franchise regardless of location and revenue stream a legitimate shot in the brave new world spawned by an overhauled collective bargaining agreement
Hi! My name is Wes. I could take some time and conduct some research that would require a skill set beyond the level of an intern, but that would be different than my other thinktank brethren Teddy "Ballgame" Montgomery...and I dont want that. So enjoy the unoriginal and predictable drivel and whining that states that the NHL just cant do it, because it's ratings are worse than an Esteban infomercial.
I can teach the beautiful ways of the Spanish Guitar, as well as how to kick the culo of the NHL in the Nielsen Ratings
So what does all this mean?
The NFL conducted this parity experiment a few year's back with the implementation of a salary cap. It was not an overnight success, but it had an inherent level of interest within the US that did not even allow a remote chance of failure for this parity experiment in the NFL. However, the NHL will have a longer climb. Why? Because of ratings...No Wait....because of the absolute dependence of major station media types on these ratings to make their decisions on programming, due to ratings. Dont get me wrong, I agree that there is unarguable reasoning to make money off of the advertising, during the programs. Regardless, sports programming and normal produced/scripted programming are two different animals. If this was always the practice, ABC would have never placed Wide World of Sports on Saturday afternoons with a totally unmarketable mix of cliff diving and underwater basket-weaving.
The fact is that sports programs need to be shown regardless of the ratings, and the NHL will make a return to the primetime on whatever major network will eventually carry them in the future. These things are cyclical in nature. I can remember watching Glen Hanlon beats the Leafs in a Game 7 after school, because the game was tape-delayed on ESPN from the previous night (By the way Leafs fans, the Wings won that game coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the series.). I can point to specific marketing campaigns that made the NHL's popularity rise to extreme levels during the mid-90s. EASports marketing for the NHL series on Sega Geneisis ("I make goalies look like swiss cheese"..."Bure?"), the old ice Bud Ice Penguin commercials ("That call is coming from inside the house...Do be Do be Dooooo"), the black and white ESPN Hockey promos, and the Nike Hockey commercials (Sergei Fedorov....bring it on long-haired Russian freakboy!!) Every NHL playoff game was on ESPN or ESPN-2 and the game was entertaining as "all get out."
The NHL will definitely come back strong in the next 2-3 years. We have been witness to some of the best hockey that we have seen in years. The neutral zone has opened up and different strategies are being design and implemented across the league. Sloth-like players that cant skate are now a liability and the game moves at a pace that rivals the games from the mid-80s, where the losing teams could score 5 goals on the short end of the stick.
Understandably, as a marketer, it is much more profitable to sell advertising time for Survivor than a playoff hockey game. However, Survivor will eventually run out of steam. Its inevitable...you cant argue science baby. The NHL or some form of Professional Hockey will always be here, and that is a simple fact. Everything in TV these days seems to be about the short-term profit and success, but the long-term is about the relationships built between network and the league, which will have greater overall success on the bottom line and in public for the league and the network.
The question remains, which major network will work with the NHL on a relationship, instead of placing "Deal or No Deal" or a re-run of "Will & Grace" ahead of it for the uneducated morons that fail to realize the beauty of a sport, which doesn't involve making left turns for 2.5 hours on a Sunday afternoon.
Labels: My NHL