Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Syndication, Baby

Taking a page out of the Big Ten Network's playbook(I believe Page 2. Page 1 just has the word SUCK in giant letters), ESPNU has decided to enforce their exclusivity clause and will be burying most of the tournament gmaes on a network that most viewers don't get, rather than allowing other networks to also show the games.

The only games that will be on TV for normal folk will be a few games that coincide with other games, and will be tape-delayed by ESPNU. Fox Sports North will be showing Minnesota and North Dakota's first game of the tournament.

I'm not really sure what this accomplishes. I doubt that many people are going to run out and order ESPNU just for this weekend's games. All it does is inconvenience/turn away college hockey's fans, and limits the potential for the sport to pick up new fans.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Do you think that opens the door for the Jets to move to Owatonna with the Fargo Force coming in with an USHL team?

Anonymous said...

Wrong thread but great idea and I hope they can move the team. It would be best for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone really surprised?? Let's be honest.....hockey, and more specifically college hockey, is a very niche sport. We all love it, but the majority of Americans have zero interest. they would rather watch NASCAR, football, baseball etc. That's the sad reality.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if it was football or basketball they were keeping to themselves and forcing people to subscribe for, but hockey? I find it hard to believe they'll make more on the increased subscriptions than they would have selling the rights to all games to other stations.

RR said...

Sounds as though the NCAA formed a circular firing squad for this one. Selecting ESPNU indicates zero marketing savvy on the part of the NCAA.

Does the NCAA feel any obligation at all to ensure that the largest audience possible is able to view the games? What about the advertisers? Do they really think they are getting a good buy for their ad dollars?

I'm really getting tired of the NCAA treating D-1 hockey as the red headed step child. They instead are more comfortable dictating their assinine political correctness by fiat than serving the fans that have followed and supported D-1 hockey.

Yet women's basketball gets broader coverage on cable and broadcast networks. Nice. I'll be sure and not watch.

Chris said...

If college hockey's popularity was as low as the commenter above assumes, ESPN would have sold the syndication rights and made a buck. The fact that they didn't shows that there must be some profitability in showing the games.

Oh, and I have access to all the games and I'm pretty normal.

Anonymous said...

There surely is some profitability in ESPN showing the games. So what? That's not the point. If this stuff appealed to a broader and mainstream audience (a la the NCAA basktetball tournament) it would be available to everyone and networks and advertisers would be one big happy family. The fact is hockey is way down on the list. Like or not, college hockey does not matter to the average sports fan. Hell, NHL hockey doesn't matter to the average fan. Until that changes the sport we love and its loyal fans will be left out in the cold.

Anonymous said...

Nascar fans should stay in North Dakota.

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that all of these games that ESPNU has on a delayed basis were also going to be available elsewhere. The Notre Dame/UNH game, for example, is on Altitude (available to anyone with DirecTV or DishNet) as well as local over the air channels in both Indiana and NewHampshire.

Anonymous said...

My DISH package does not include ESPNU. So unfortunately I will be missing Hockey this weekend. One more reason to loathe ESPN, as if Jim Rome, Stephen A. "Cheez Doodles" Smith, wall-to-wall bouncyball weren't enough.

Anonymous said...

Then change the programming package for the weekend. Then change it back. I do this every year for my Dish Network system. I add the sports package and other things in the winter to get college hockey, etc. then in April, after the season is over I revert back to the most basic package for the summer.

blah blah blah said...

I think ESPN would be more interested if the field was more CCHA, ECACHL, and especially HEA teams.

For example, if:

Michigan, MSU, Notre Dame, BC, BU, Northeastern, UNH, Maine, UMass (wth, both of them), Minnesota, Harvard, Yale, UConn (more for the connection to the bouncyball than anything else), Cornell, and perhaps, say, Army to represent the small conferences were to get into the tourney and you can guarantee BU, BC, Northeastern, and Harvard would constitute the Frozen Four, it would make ESPN2.

ESPN has nothing to do with sports provided it is not:

1. Basketball
2. Football
3. Baseball
4. Nascar
5. Tiger Woods
6. Poker

rr said...

I have Comcast and I will be able to see only two games this weekend. UND v. Princeton and UM v. BC. Since ESPNU is not part of the Comcast offering a huge chunk of the market is not being served (MPLS suburbs). Not knowing the particulars it would seem logical that ESPN could do quite well by syndicating the broadcasts to providers in the markets not served by ESPNU.

There just seems to be a level of inflexibility that makes no sense. I don't think the advertisers are getting the best bang for their buck and I don't think ESPN is doing themselves any favors in the public relations end of this.

The rational may be that D-1 hockey is a niche offering that has too small of an audience. But by not offering the product to a larger audience doesn't that just become a self fulfilling prophecy?

Just one of many reasons to dislike the NCAA and ESPN.