The Round Mound of (Hockey) Rebounds

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Turner Sports just reached a 7 year agreement with the NHL, putting three NHL Finals on TNT over the next seven years. I don't really care what TV entity hosts the hockey playoffs, as long as I can watch them.

What I do care about is this:

View: https://twitter.com/MikeAsti11/status/1386788008444272642?s=20

(Text: Turner Sports should, and will, use Charles Barkley to help promote the NHL joining the network. I’m sure some hockey purists probably feel Chuck doesn’t really know the game, but that doesn’t matter. He’s a notable figure who supports the game. Embrace that as much as you can.)


I have no idea who Mike Asti is. His bio states: Pittsburgh Sports Live PD, lead host. Steelers Now manager. WVSportsNow, WV MetroNews, 93.7 The Fan contributor. Past: TribLIVE Radio, WPXI. WVU alum. PFWA.

I'm not sure if this is confirmation that he'll be involved with hockey broadcasts ("Turner Sports should, and will, use Charles Barkley", emphasis mine...)..but I really, really hope he is. How awesome would this be? How much could this help promote the sport? Would hockey purists rip into him? What about the advanced statistic community?

I don't care. I need Chuck doing NHL pregame/intermission/post game work.

I. Fucking. Need it.
 

Mooch

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I too, LOVE this idea. From a pure broadcasting standpoint, you partner Chuck with someone like Ray Ferraro who really knows the ins and outs of the game? Home run.
 

Zososoxfan

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It's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's not like hockey is bereft of colorful guys. I get that this is Turner getting the most bang for their buck with their talent, but I think it does the sport a disservice.
 

kenneycb

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It's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's not like hockey is bereft of colorful guys. I get that this is Turner getting the most bang for their buck with their talent, but I think it does the sport a disservice.
Hockey's done itself a disservice but not allowing those personalities to flourish. This is the result. More eyeballs the better and Chuck brings more eyeballs.
 

cshea

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He'll be involved, as he should. Since he said he loved hockey playoffs, they've always brought him on set for a game during the finals. I imagine his involvement will only grow with Turner having rights. I rarely watch the NBA, but love Barkley in any setting. He's been great on the handful of golf events he's worked (the made for TV Tiger/Phil matches). He can only bring good things to the NHL.

View: https://youtu.be/c4fFOu8nyeM
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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It's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's not like hockey is bereft of colorful guys. I get that this is Turner getting the most bang for their buck with their talent, but I think it does the sport a disservice.
Why do you feel this way?

I'm in favor of Charles being involved, and he would too I bet.

https://www.bardown.com/charles-barkley-s-unapologetic-hockey-fandom-has-been-going-on-for-years-1.772137

I hate the idea of the Stanley Cup Finals being on cable however. That's where they put the finals of small time, niche sports and is a disaster as cutting the cord becomes more and more of a thing. Championship games should be on over the air TV.
Do you feel the same way with ESPN picking up the other Stanley cup years? Or does the ESPN promotion engine outweigh the loss of standard cable providers showing games? Also, how do you see something like Peacock or ESPN+ affecting the Stanley Cup?

For monsters like the SuperBowl, I don't think there's any concern that it ends up on a subscription service anytime soon. But for something like the Stanley Cup, I wonder if ESPN takes the gamble to put it onto ESPN+ in the hopes of driving subscriptions. Their focus certainly seems like its shifted to streaming. While the SB would lose too many viewers - as a large, large chunk of the SB is casual viewers - NHL followers would likely fork over the dough to watch.

As NBC has ducked out of the bidding, I'm curious if the cost association became too rich with the uncertainty of how the NHL can help increase subscription customers.
 

yeahlunchbox

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Do you feel the same way with ESPN picking up the other Stanley cup years? Or does the ESPN promotion engine outweigh the loss of standard cable providers showing games? Also, how do you see something like Peacock or ESPN+ affecting the Stanley Cup?

For monsters like the SuperBowl, I don't think there's any concern that it ends up on a subscription service anytime soon. But for something like the Stanley Cup, I wonder if ESPN takes the gamble to put it onto ESPN+ in the hopes of driving subscriptions. Their focus certainly seems like its shifted to streaming. While the SB would lose too many viewers - as a large, large chunk of the SB is casual viewers - NHL followers would likely fork over the dough to watch.

As NBC has ducked out of the bidding, I'm curious if the cost association became too rich with the uncertainty of how the NHL can help increase subscription customers.
My understanding is that the Finals themselves will be on ABC, however if they are on ESPN then yes I would feel the same way. Having your sport's championship on cable instead of over the air indicates that you're a small, niche sport. As someone that loves hockey and wants it to grow, I believe having the championship on cable makes potential fans think hockey is not worthy of their time and attention.

One thing I am concerned with is just how much the ESPN and Turner promotion engines will really work for the NHL. In some ways the NHL runs up against their more valuable NBA properties, and I wonder if the NHL will be given the full weight of the networks attention or if it's just something that will be treated as a second class league where they can throw games on when they have nothing else to show. If these networks want the NHL because they believe it's valuable and want to help it grow or if they're viewing this as a way to fill in scheduling gaps when they can't show NBA games but want to keep sports fans tuned to their station.

Streaming should be done as something to augment content and give fans more options, not as the primary means of delivering a sport to people. To me streaming would be an even further step down in seriousness from cable.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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My understanding is that the Finals themselves will be on ABC, however if they are on ESPN then yes I would feel the same way. Having your sport's championship on cable instead of over the air indicates that you're a small, niche sport. As someone that loves hockey and wants it to grow, I believe having the championship on cable makes potential fans think hockey is not worthy of their time and attention.

One thing I am concerned with is just how much the ESPN and Turner promotion engines will really work for the NHL. In some ways the NHL runs up against their more valuable NBA properties, and I wonder if the NHL will be given the full weight of the networks attention or if it's just something that will be treated as a second class league where they can throw games on when they have nothing else to show. If these networks want the NHL because they believe it's valuable and want to help it grow or if they're viewing this as a way to fill in scheduling gaps when they can't show NBA games but want to keep sports fans tuned to their station.

Streaming should be done as something to augment content and give fans more options, not as the primary means of delivering a sport to people. To me streaming would be an even further step down in seriousness from cable.
All valid concerns.

But we're starting to see streaming hit mainstream sports now. The NFL has already had games that are only available via streaming. Major broadcasting corporations are investing heavily into streaming services. It could also be argued that the only remaining programming where viewers need to experience it live for full effect is sports.

Companies are continuing to push towards streaming. As we've learned it is, as currently constructed, the best way for them to bring in revenue and retain viewers. The biggest hurdle to retaining viewers is providing content that keeps them coming back. Sports is its own content creation engine, and already has a significant number of viewers that will pay to watch their sport. I mean, if a league decided, "Hey, if you want to watch our games, you need to buy the NFL/NBA/NHL/etc network", they'd be able to do it. And broadcasting companies know it, which is one of the reasons they continue to spend an exorbitant amount of money to stop it from happening.

In other words, I'm not entirely sure having the Stanley cup on a streaming service is necessarily a bad thing. Being the guinea pig for that process, though, is not ideal.
 

RetractableRoof

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Before the NHL returned to Espn, they were so far down the 'fold' on the ESPN sports news/infotainment website, that women's synchronized paired table tennis was easier to find. That is an indication that hockey is considered marginal by entertainment professionals (or they were being punished by ESPN because they didn't have an agreement in place).

The NFL and the NBA could do anything they want really, and the number of eyeballs is going to be roughly the same. MLB has an aging/demographic issue and should be doing everything they can to retain eyeballs. I think for different reasons, hockey is in the same boat - anything that generates eyeballs is good, even slapstick in the case of Barkley. Conversely, anything that makes it harder to acquire or retain eyeballs is bad given where they currently are - and that includes subscription only services/streaming. If the finals are the best hockey has to offer, it would be less than optimal for it to not be on a main sports channel or an over the air channel. Just my two cents.
 

Zososoxfan

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Why do you feel this way?



[snip]
Because even though I love Charles and his personality, he doesn't know the pro game like a former player/coach. Charles can certainly add humor and maybe even some insight on a show/broadcast, but I love when broadcasters and analysts say something about how the sport is played at the highest levels.

For example, I was watching a soccer match within the past few months and the broadcaster said something about how a player's shot that was blocked should've been across the goalkeeper's body in that situation and explained why. I played soccer growing up and watch it fanatically, but I'd never heard that point before. Chuck can't do that for hockey unfortunately, and if he can then I'll take back the sentiment.
 

RIFan

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Streaming should be done as something to augment content and give fans more options, not as the primary means of delivering a sport to people. To me streaming would be an even further step down in seriousness from cable.
Streaming today is where cable was 25 years ago. Seemingly not viable for a primary outlet due to limitations on who has access, but an opportunity to create rights bidding competition to increase the size of the pie. It won't take nearly that long before a streaming outlet has a big slate of exclusive games. It's not a matter of if, but when. Way too much money out there for the leagues not to try to maximize.