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Another NHL ratings flop

Scott Jagow Apr 20, 2007

Another NHL ratings flop

Scott Jagow Apr 20, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: I’m spending a lot of time in sports bars right now. It’s about the only way I can watch my beloved Buffalo Sabres in the hockey playoffs ’cause most of the games are on a little-known network called Versus. And even though people are filling arenas around the country to watch the playoffs, the NHL’s TV ratings are abysmal. Our Business of Sports commentator Diana Nyad is here. Good morning, Diana.

DIANA NYAD: Scott how are ya?

JAGOW: I’m doing good.

NYAD: You hockey buff you.

JAGOW: I am a hockey fan, but apparently I’m one of seven people watching the playoffs, right?

NYAD: It’s just about that small. I mean the recent numbers I got for this first round of the playoffs: 267,000 people per game. Nationwide on television. You know and I understand the love and the passion for the game, but the numbers just aren’t there. The fans are not there.

JAGOW: I guess there’s a disconnect between the casual sports fan and the people like me who love the sport because to me it’s the most exciting time of any sport is playoff hockey.

NYAD: And I hear that from you, I hear it from friends, I respect the game so much, I know what conditioning it takes . . . it’s more than that though. It’s the puck. I was watching a replay from a playoff game the other day and the announcers, they were out-of-their-minds excited, saying ‘Oh my God! Look at the speed on this guy! Look at the turn of this guy’s stick! Look at ..’ And I’m looking, I look at the replay like six angles and I cannot see the puck. I watched it six times I had no idea where the puck was so you know how can I relate?

JAGOW: I think it’s kind of like one of those puzzles where they have the green and red and blue dots and you’re supposed to look into it and see a spaceship or something? Well I see the spaceship.

NYAD: I wanna like it. I’ve gone with friends, when I lived in new York, to Rangers games and you know, by the way, this past weekend NASCAR in New York City beat by 38 percent the Rangers playoff game. In New York City? NASCAR? It’s just . . . poker! Last weekend poker on NBC beat a playoff game in hockey.

JAGOW: Well what does the NHL do about this? I mean they talked about having an NHL Network. Is that the answer?

NYAD: Honestly they’ve been talking about it for years and I would think logically it would be the answer. Take a dedicated 24-hour channel where you don’t have to go out and beg advertisers, and The Tennis Channel’s done fairly well. They’re still working hard to make sure they’re in all markets. But the NHL has promised its fans a dedicate 24 hours but like we said before, if you’re only carrying less than 300,000 people per playoff game, how are you gonna support 24 hours of programming?

JAGOW: Alright well I will go back to watching hockey now.

NYAD: Go Sabres.

JAGOW: Thanks Diana. Our business of sports commentator Diana Nyad. In Los Angeles, I’m Scott Jagow. Thanks for listening and have a great weekend.

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