NBA coverage dwarfs a riveting Stanley Cup Finals

Should the NHL alter it's schedule to get out of the NBA's shadow?

6/17/13 in NHL   |   GFortier   |   520 respect

Blog Photo - NBA coverage dwarfs a riveting Stanley Cup Finals

It's Thursday morning, June 13th. The previous night, Chicago beat Boston in a triple overtime thriller to take a 1-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. What's featured on the first twenty minute of Sportscenter, however? Speculation on the upcoming Game 3 between the Spurs and Heat. In the shadow of the NBA, it seems the NHL doesn't stand a chance.

As it comes to drawing interest in the Stanley Cup Finals, there are very few match-ups the NHL could have hoped for more than this one. The Bruins and Blackhawks, two of the original six teams, have a rich history and rabid fan base. Boston and Chicago are both big, relevant markets, and each squad had come into this series red-hot. Game 1 not only lasted six epic, end-to-end periods, but featured a total of 7 goals. The only thing this series has going against it as that the mainstream sports fan would simply rather hear twenty minutes of conjecture on the Heat versus the Spurs than see extended highlights and analysis of a Stanley Cup game from the night before.

The argument as to whether or not the NHL should adjust it's schedule to get out of the shadow of the NBA can go two ways. Many diehards would claim that hockey will always be a niche sport, and that to alter one's schedule in an effort catch the attention of casual sports fans would be too big a concession (and would make no difference in the end). 

The other argument simply acknowledges the natural order of mainstream sports in the US, admits that the NHL can't compete with the NBA but believes that if given the right exposure, more casual fans would find themselves taking interest in the game. This Bruins Blackhawks series would the right exposure. Two games have seen two ventures into overtime, fast-paced hockey, and goals and hits aplenty. With the series tied at one game a piece, the excitement is only going to build from this point on.

While the NHL already alternates nights with the NBA (The NBA Finals has been scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays while the Stanley Cup Finals is being played on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) the average fan might be inclined to tune in if ESPN was giving the series more than five minutes of coverage. If the NHL were to begin it's season a week or two later, the end of June would belong to the Stanley Cup Finals. Would it be worth the concession?
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6/25/13   |   ML31   |   3675 respect

I feel I ought to point out that this season was a bit of an aberration.  The season was short and delayed.  The Cup Finals are usually a week or two ahead of the NBA finals. 

If I had my way, I'd shorten the regular season.  Then start a couple of weeks later and end a couple of weeks earlier.  But, the NHL relies on gate more than nearly any other sport so we know that's not going happen.

It is what it is.  I love hockey but know the national US sports media is going to ignore it almost no matter what.  I too have abandoned ESPN almost completely because, as what has been said earlier, they seem to devote 80% of their air time to the NFL and NBA exclusively. 

Thank God for the NHL and MLB networks.  If it weren't for them, I would get nearly no national coverage.

6/22/13   |   Jess   |   35061 respect

VolcomSteel wrote:
This just reiterates the reason we are using FanIQ. Because NFL and NBA rule ESPN. 

yes

6/18/13   |   VolcomSteel   |   10 respect

This just reiterates the reason we are using FanIQ. Because NFL and NBA rule ESPN. 

6/17/13   |   Jess   |   35061 respect

GFortier wrote:
All valid points, I just feel that ESPN would have less of an opportunity to be so negligent if they didn't have the NBA Finals to over-cover. 

True...although, they'd probably simply find something else. Underwater basket weaving, perhaps?

6/17/13   |   GFortier   |   520 respect

Jess wrote:
Honestly I don't think the schedule has anything to do with it. For whatever reason, ESPN has never given the NHL the attention it deserves (one reason I don't watch it at all anymore). The games have been staggered all through the playoffs, and even though there was no NBA action on the first night of the Stanley Cup Final, there was nothing at all on ESPN about the NHL.

Why should anyone have to change their schedule? There's enough air time to go around for everyone. Unfortunately, the major sports media network chooses to replay the same stuff 27  times and exhaust every perspective of the same topic rather than cover everything going on. I don't think ESPN and their ineptitude (they're not even great covering the stuff they DO cover) should dictate any sport's schedule. Rather than changing their schedule around to "get out of the NBA's shadow", the NHL needs a better broadcasting contract than the dismal NBC one they have now.

All valid points, I just feel that ESPN would have less of an opportunity to be so negligent if they didn't have the NBA Finals to over-cover. 

6/17/13   |   Jess   |   35061 respect

(Edited by Jess)

Honestly I don't think the schedule has anything to do with it. For whatever reason, ESPN has never given the NHL the attention it deserves (one reason I don't watch it at all anymore). The games have been staggered all through the playoffs, and even though there was no NBA action on the first night of the Stanley Cup Final, there was nothing at all on ESPN about the NHL.

Why should anyone have to change their schedule? There's enough air time to go around for everyone. Unfortunately, the major sports media network chooses to replay the same stuff 27  times and exhaust every perspective of the same topic rather than cover everything going on. I don't think ESPN and their ineptitude (they're not even great covering the stuff they DO cover) should dictate any sport's schedule. Rather than changing their schedule around to "get out of the NBA's shadow", the NHL needs a better broadcasting contract than the dismal NBC one they have now.