Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals is finally on a channel tonight that everyone in the country actually can see (not that we condone which channel it is on). You would think that the NHL would do everything in its power to make sure that their entire championship would be on network TV but they can't get that done. That being said you would think that they would at least go all out to make sure they created a lot of buzz before tonight's game.
So as a producer at a local TV affiliate you would think it would be easy to get lots of preview sound about tonight's Game 3. Do you know how much was available from the two feed services we have? The answer. Nothing.
Let me explain. The feed service is what supplies a lot of TV stations with their materials for their sportscasts. For example a press conference about the playoffs. In comparision the NBA has on the feeds multiple interviews about their playoff games. As well immediately following the game we have multiple interviews with the key players in that game. The NHL is lucky to get us some postgame on the feeds.
The powers that be in hockey just have never gotten how to market their sport. These two teams in the finals are as exciting as anyone. The Penguins are on the cusp of becoming the next great NHL team. They have young stars everywhere. Sidney Crosby should be a household name and yet if you walked down the street and asked most Americans who Sidney Crosby is they would probably say an actress or singer. There are numerous other young stars out there to market and yet they can't do it.
The NHL could be an important player on the National sports stage. The game is as exciting to watch as it has ever been. The pieces are all there for success. But as long as Gary Bettman and company are in charge it will NEVER happen.
Tonight is just a little example on how the NHL doesn't understand what it needs to do to make the game a bigger part of the national sports scene.