Do we still want the NHL?
Today, Jeffrey Flanagan wrote this in his column.
Still want hockey?
Is hockey’s popularity falling even further, or is the league just suffering the effects of a bad decision to shift its cable rights to OLN?
Consider that only 610,836 households watched game one of the Stanley Cup finals last Monday. It got worse on Wednesday for game two when only 605,501 households tuned in.
Poker and paintball do better.
I love hockey, but do we still want it for the Sprint Center?
Jeff, Jeff, Jeff...you are a devout hockey fan and Kevin Constantine's friend, I expect so much more from you. I guess I can classify Flanagan with all the other Kansas City journalists that just don't get it. Hockey needs an advocate in this town. Someone with a positive spin. Who is it going to be?
Yes, OLN, soon to be Versus, ratings are bad.
But, this is a result of two things:
#1 -- OLN is hard to find and, on most cable systems, it is on the extended or digital tier rather than the basic tier.
Those of us who are sports fanatics don't think twice about purchasing the extended or digital tier, but we must realize that most people don't buy the extra tier. Overall viewership of the NHL is suffering because OLN is on so many fewer households.
#2 -- This is what you get when you have market parity. You get two small markets battling for the Stanley Cup which negatively effects ratings. Two small market teams battling for the World Series title will never happen under MLB's CBA. This year's Stanley Cup Final is good news for KC.
- Gate receipts are germaine to the NHL's success, not television ratings. The new CBA, with the $39M cap, is built around this fact.
- Attendance at NHL games was up in 2005-06 over 2003-04.
- NHL teams drew an average of 91% of building capacity. (thank you, Bill Wirtz for throwing the average way off)
- Total NHL revenue was 2.1B or 300M more than the 1.8B projections.
- The salary cap will increase from $39M to $42M to $45M.
Do we still want NHL? Well, yeah. Personally, I think the AHL would be better, but of course we still want the excitement of the NHL.