Give the game to the fans

Author:
Publish date:

As a lifelong hockey fan, I've taken my share of blows from the follies of nationwide NHL coverage in the U.S.

The final straw came with NBC forbidding the Pittsburgh Penguins from showing NBC-exclusive broadcasts on their screen outside the arena, which became very popular in last year's playoff run.

Not only was this practice permitted by the network last season, it was often ballyhooed on air as an example of the infectious and fun atmosphere of a hockey game, even for people who were just watching it together.

Apparently, in the time since, corporate bean-counters realized that a few thousand extra TV sets could be tuned into their broadcast and this could possibly boost their numbers, or whatever they are calculating in this new media age.

While this situation is quite similar to a recent controversy where the NFL attempted to block churches from showing games, the NFL backed down when the media jumped on the story.

In the US, hockey fans have no such pull. I'm very disappointed that the NHL hasn't attempted to remedy this for the fans of Pittsburgh and other cities that may wish to follow suit.

The league appears content to allow NBC to trample on a great community activity that actually drew interest in the game among non-fans.

Sure, people can go to bars or restaurants to watch the game in a smaller scale group atmosphere, but the beauty of the group gatherings was the game-like atmosphere it created. Not only did this generate new fans for NBC's televised games, but it enticed many to actually spend money on a hockey ticket when they otherwise would not.

And people wonder why our sport struggles in so many U.S. markets...

Victoria Summerfield, Indiana, Pa.

TOP HEADLINES

Dudas_TW_CHL_2083
Play

No Bodychecking in the OHL This Year?

That's what the government of Ontario is proposing, but would it really protect players from Covid-19, or just drastically alter the game?

1
Play

Led by Coyotes, UND and USA Hockey, the hockey world failed Mitch Miller

They all knew, or should have known, that Mitch Miller had a past that included bullying and assault. Yet they welcomed him to their teams, until his transgressions were made public.

USATSI_12427931
Play

The best remaining destinations for free agent Mike Hoffman

Teams are running out of cap space while the second-best forward of the 2020 UFA class remains on the market, patiently awaiting the right deal. Which teams are best positioned to pursue him?