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Thread: NBC is about to get real serious about the NHL

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    Default NBC is about to get real serious about the NHL

    Starting this Sunday apparently...

    Comcast Melds NBC, Versus For Hockey Coverage

    Source: MediaPost
    17 February 2011
    Author: David Goetzl
    Hockey coverage will meld both the NBC network and Versus on Sunday, serving as an example of the potential synergies between newly combined assets under Comcast, both on the programming and promotion front. Comcast has created a programming unit that includes NBC Sports, along with Comcast's Versus and regional sports networks.

    NBC Universal said nine hours of hockey will begin with a pre-game, magazine-style show on NBC. It is followed by a doubleheader on NBC, then an outdoor Heritage Classic game on Versus. Regional Comcast SportsNet channels in Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia will also play a role with their announcers appearing.

    The NBC Sports Group's hockey streak will be promoted across 20 NBCU channels and on 40-plus of its Web sites. Comcast's NBCU has formed an NBCUniversal Marketing Council to marshal company assets behind select initiatives.

    NBC's "Today" and "Nightly News" will also feature stories about hockey in America this week.

    Sunday's coverage will carry a "Hockey Day in America" moniker, with McDonald's as a sponsor. NBC will offer three regional games, followed by a national game at 3:30 -- all available live on

    Outdoor games garner considerable attention, and the Versus match-up will have Montreal playing Calgary in an Alberta stadium.

    And here's an article that's about a month old to give you a look at the big picture.

    Comcast-NBC Merger Approved: What Could This Mean For The NHL On TV?

    by Travis Hughes Jan 18, 2011 3:01 PM EST
    The FCC and the Justice Department today each approved the proposed merger of Comcast and NBC Universal clearing the way for the final completion of a deal that's been in the works for over two years.
    It could be done by the end of the month, even, and no matter what your opinion is on the controversial combination of two of America's largest media companies, there's no doubt this move will have a big impact on sports television in general.

    Specifically, it's going to have a major impact on the NHL's television future. Comcast has made no bones about it's intention to use the NBC Sports brand to create a rival to the market leader, ESPN.
    This still-relevant Richard Sandomir story from the New York Times in December 2009 explains how NBC and Comcast plan to use their collective power to turn Versus into a legitimate challenger to Bristol, Connecticut's best-known residents.
    Long story short: NBC Sports and Dick Ebersol will take control of Versus (as well as Comcast's Golf Channel). They'll change the name to a more recognizable NBC brand, use more NBC talent and most importantly, they'll pump money into the network that will allow it to challenge ESPN for television rights deals.
    The NHL, of course, is in on the ground floor.
    After the lockout in 2004, ESPN wanted nothing to do with the NHL, so without much bargaining room of their own, the League signed on to a national TV deal with Outdoor Life Network, which was, needless to say, slightly embarrassing. Now, a little more than six years later, the NHL is growing and they've helped turn OLN into Versus, a not-well-known but now at least respectable sports destination.
    ESPN knows all of this. They know that the NHL is growing and that it's beginning to turn into a product that sports fans want to watch. They know that this NBC-Comcast merger will be complete eventually, and they know that with this, Versus will be able to draw rights deals away from them.
    The first salvo in this soon-to-come war between the two parties? It's hockey. The NHL's rights deals with NBC and Versus are up at the end of this year, and ESPN has made no secret of the fact that they want in. Easy to understand why.
    But if the NHL sticks with Versus, or whatever the hell it will be called next year, they'll be ensured something that ESPN cannot give them. While the Worldwide Leader's lineup is crowded with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and more, Versus will still be without many of those properties. They'll have the NHL, though, where it will still be the premiere product on the network.
    The NHL will become the foundation for whatever Ebersol, NBC and Comcast hope to build at Versus, and with that, the League will be in a very enviable position.
    "Nice catch, Hayes. Don't ever ****in' do it again." -Lou Brown

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    Default Re: NBC is about to get real serious about the NHL

    Any hockey coverage is welcome... and after hearing Barry Melrose's comments about Mario's post Islanders diciplinary comments... I give up on ESPN!

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    Default Re: NBC is about to get real serious about the NHL

    I pretty much never watch ESPN. **** them. I think it's great that NBC is stepping it up!

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