The commercials are at the bottom of this post. But if you’ll allow me just a moment, I’ll explain what got me thinking about ’em in the first place.
As a lifelong fan of all things hockey, I’m well aware that it’s the black sheep of the United States professional sports “family”, viewership-wise. To illustrate, the NBA’s playoffs ratings are destroying the NHL’s right now; it’s not even close. Even the NFL draft (the freakin’ draft?!?!?) crushed the Boston/Montreal Game 6 Semifinal in the ratings by a 5-to-1 margin.
And this has been the trend, unfortunately. Heck, the first two games of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals (both nationally broadcast on NBC, by the way) got soundly thrashed by RERUNS of the following programs: ‘Dogs In The City’, ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’, ‘Secret Millionaire’, ‘America’s Got Talent’, ‘Grimm’, ‘2 Broke Girls’, …and a rerun of the rerun of ‘America’s Got Talent’.
That’s the difference between getting beat …and getting a beat-down.
And yet, both the league and the sport are positioned for success, perhaps now more than ever before.
First of all, the NHL just received the 2014 Sports Business Award for League of the Year and inked a massive new media rights pact up in Canada. Both accomplishments signal stability and future financial strength. But more importantly, the technological landscape is changing at lightning speed, and the NHL could greatly benefit from those changes.
Television’s revenue comes primarily from commercials, but “cord cutters” (people who cancel their cable subscriptions) are increasingly damaging that revenue. This current decline of broadcast television, plus the rise of DVDs, DVRs, Roku, Hulu, and mobile viewing on smartphones and tablets, is resulting in fewer and fewer folks ever even seeing a broadcast commercial. When you can stream ‘Iron Man 3‘ or ‘Game of Thrones‘ anytime you want, or skip commercials on your DVR, you aren’t gonna know (or care) about what time it supposedly “comes on TV”.
But not sports; sports is different. Who’s gonna sit through yesterday’s game after you’ve already seen the score or YouTubed the highlights? Nope, with sports we still wanna watch it as it’s happening.
Which could spell O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y for the NHL. If television viewers continue to abandon broadcast TV in lieu of more convenient options, that leaves ‘live’ televised sports (including hockey) as the most attractive remaining options to broadcast advertisers. Conceivably, commercials during sporting events could end up being the only ones largely not being DVR’d over or bypassed altogether online. In many respects, it’s already happening.
This could (repeat: could) end up being the “break” the NHL has been trying for my entire lifetime.
So enjoy the commercials, gang, and here’s hopin’ we see lots more of them. Soon:
I love all them. if I had to pick my favorite it would be the bowling.
The problem with hockey on television is so much happens away from the puck that the camera does not reveal. I liked hockey before I went to a live event…then I loved it.
Been a fan since I was a toddler, but became an even bigger fan as an adult.
Largely, much of the NHL’s challenges have been by its own hand: losing the deal with ESPN, the numerous work stoppages, etc….
And I lay 90% of that at the Commissioner’s feet.
Keeping my fingers crossed that (A) they can get out of their own way if all this comes to pass, and (B) someone gives NHL commissioner Gary Bettman a 1-way ticket to Cuba, or Russia, or anywhere, as long as he can’t come back here.
I hear Crimea is nice. 😉
“Bubble Hockey” will go down in history as my FAVORITE of all time!
Gary Bettman couldn’t market space heaters to Eskimos. Still, the NHL suffers from the fact that MOST kids in the U.S. don’t grow up playing hockey. It’s getting better, but it’s still WAY behind baseball, football, and basketball. Face it, you need a LOT more “stuff” to play ice hockey than you do those other sports.
Plus, Americans just are NOT used to M-a-r-t-I-n being pronounced “Marr-tahn”, or being told that R-o-y is pronounced “Waaaaaaa”. C’mon man! Give ’em American sounding names, will ya??!!
Frankly, given all of the attention that professional football is getting with regard to injuries and concussions, the NHL may be GLAD that it flies somewhat under the radar.
Sadly, IMHO, NHL players are the best athletes on the planet. It’s a shame that for the most part, a team’s players are only recognized in the city they play or have played, in.
Well, there was Bobby Orr and Gordy Howe. Of course, I was a San Diego Gulls fan so what do I know. 😉
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