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Author Topic: The Rest of the NHL  (Read 302027 times)

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SD_Eagle5

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #60 on: August 18, 2005, 08:15:33 PM »

Saw on ESPN Bottom Line that Dainus Zubrus signed a 2 year deal with the Caps.
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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #61 on: August 18, 2005, 11:16:22 PM »

MDS, that's fine....Comcast never had a problem with advertising.  :-D
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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #62 on: August 19, 2005, 10:59:47 AM »

Quote
Also, as part of the deal, Comcast now must carry the NHL Network -- previously available only in Canada -- on its digital-tier subscriber packages. Games on OLN will be shown in high-definition TV, and Comcast plans to offer on-demand broadcasts and live computer streaming over the Internet.
[/b]
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PhillyGirl

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #63 on: August 19, 2005, 11:05:37 AM »

More good info in this article:

Quote
Comcast lands TV rights for NHL
By Don Steinberg
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. today made its biggest splash yet in national sports television, and the resurrected National Hockey League found someone willing to pay millions to put its games on TV in America.

The league and the cable company unveiled details of their new TV deal, under which Comcast-owned cable channel OLN will dedicate Monday and Tuesday nights to NHL games beginning in October.

OLN, available in 54 million U.S. homes, will show at least 58 regular-season hockey games, the NHL All-Star Game, and the playoffs up through Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals (when NBC will pick up coverage).

NHL and Comcast officials would not comment publicly on financial details, but sources involved in deal have said OLN is paying about $65 million, $70 million and $72.5 million for the first three years.

The first NHL on OLN game will be Oct. 5, opening day of the 2005-06 season, when the New York Rangers play the Flyers at the Wachovia Center. It will not be blacked out locally. Comcast says no Flyers games carried on OLN will be blacked out locally, even to satellite customers.

Flyers games will still be shown on Comcast SportsNet, although a few during the season will be shown on OLN.

Indeed, much of Comcast's payback for its investment in hockey, besides revenue from TV advertisers, will be its ability to charge cable providers more money to carry OLN, the former Outdoor Life Network.

OLN is in fewer homes than ESPN or ESPN2 (available in 90 million and 89 million homes, respectively), and in a few areas it is available only on digital cable or in extra-price sports tiers. Steve Burke, Comcast's chief operating officer, said a number of cable affiliates' contracts to carry OLN will expire at the end of this year and will be renegotiated.

"If you're in an NHL market, you have to assume your affiliate fee will go up," Burke said.

That does not automatically translate into higher fees for consumers, but the math is compelling. Sports TV consultant Lee Berke calculates that if OLN can get carriers to pay an extra 10 cents per month per subscriber, as a rough example, at nearly 60 million subscribers, that's almost $6 million a month and $72 million a year in new revenue, covering the entire rights fee before one ad is sold.

"I don't think it's a tremendous financial risk for them at all," Berke said.

Comcast's rise to potentially rival ESPN as a national sports programmer makes for a good soap opera, but Comcast's bottom-line desire isn't to become king of sports. Its priority is to maximize the financial return on the multibillion-dollar investment it has made running fiber-optic cable to millions of U.S. homes.

Exclusive sports content has always driven media businesses, consultant Berke says. The cable giant is set to launch a New York Mets channel in 2006, adding to its collection of regional sports channels.

The NHL deal gives it credibility to pursue other leagues. It is considered a contender to get rights to some NFL games in 2006. ESPN's contract with Major League Baseball expires after this season.

ESPN charges Comcast more than any other programmer does. That may not change, but Comcast has gained leverage in fee negotiations.

Three months ago ESPN declined to pick up its $60 million option on this NHL season, citing poor ratings and the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 schedule. Mark Shapiro, ESPN's outgoing executive vice president, said at the time that NHL rights weren't worth half that much.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman described the new deal as a "multifaceted national media relationship" with the nation's top cable and broadband Internet company that "will allow fans to get closer to hockey than they ever have before."

OLN's broadcasts will include technology and gimmicks such as miked players, in-game interviews and net-cams to enhance a game whose rules have already been tweaked for the new season to encourage offense. Comcast and OLN will offer on-demand video highlights and archival programming to digital cable subscribers and produce at least one game weekly in high definition.

Comcast and OLN also will work with the NHL to make live game video available this season to broadband Internet users, probably as a pay service. Later they plan to collaborate to create a separate NHL Channel. It will have 24 hours of hockey shows and eventually carry live games, although, Bettman said, "OLN gets first choice in the schedule."

OLN and the league want to create a national hockey night. For the 2006-07 season, the league will devise its schedule so that on a certain night each week, probably Monday, only one game will be played in the NHL, and it will be on OLN. The strategy seems to put hockey night against Monday Night Football, which is shifting to ESPN in 2006.

There's work to be done. OLN does not have an HD channel. OLN president Gavin Harvey said it will produce games in high definition and "make those available to our affiliates and distributors." Some OLN hockey games may be carried on local sports channels.

OLN and Comcast must build a national hockey production team and hire announcers. OLN plans to produce a postgame hockey show that will air after its live games, so it must build a studio.

Other than Fox, Comcast produces more hockey games than anyone in the United States through its regional SportsNet channels, but its resources are scattered. Comcast's local hockey production capability must stay local, covering teams including the Flyers, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals.

Harvey said OLN has contacted announcers, but "we're not ready to talk about exactly who they are."

Meanwhile, OLN officially has expunged the word "Outdoor" from its name, going with just OLN since a July "rebranding." Harvey has been widening the channel's stated mission, saying it is about "competition of all types."

Bettman recalled the one NHL game played outdoors in 2003, on an iced-over football field in Edmonton, Alberta, with a windchill factor below zero. It was not televised in the United States.

"In the course of this [OLN] relationship, we'll probably endeavor to put on an outdoor game every season," Bettman said.
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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #64 on: August 19, 2005, 11:24:07 AM »

Outdoor hockey is bad-ass.
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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #65 on: August 19, 2005, 12:59:22 PM »

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #66 on: August 20, 2005, 03:49:25 PM »

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PhillyGirl

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #67 on: August 21, 2005, 08:31:23 PM »


Pretty bad photoshop job, but funny nonetheless:

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #68 on: August 30, 2005, 07:57:55 AM »

Quote
Consumer Watch | It's time to stand up to Comcast

By Jeff Gelles

Inquirer Columnist


Tired of constantly rising cable-TV costs but convinced you can't do anything about them?

I know the tug of defeatism. When my bill climbs, I do little more than grumble that I'm a prisoner of Comcast and its chokehold on local sports. Using a loophole in federal law, it refuses to provide Comcast SportsNet to satellite TV, my only alternative.

Maybe it's time for all of us to vent.

Last week, close to 12,000 people did so. Prompted by Free Press, a media watchdog group, they complained to the Federal Communications Commission about cable's rising prices and anti-competitive practices. They urged it to reject a proposed deal that would further enlarge Comcast and Time Warner, already the nation's top two cable companies.

I know what you're thinking: Why bother? Don't consumers always lose when they're up against big business?

Maybe so. But there are exceptions, especially when we, too, have business firepower on our side.

On the SportsNet question, we do.

More than the usual suspects

I'm not just talking about the usual suspects, though they are again speaking up.

DirecTV and Dish Network recently raised the issue in the case that drew those 10,000 e-mails. They urged the FCC to strike a blow for real competition before letting Comcast and Time Warner divvy up the cable systems of bankrupt Adelphia Communications.

Similar arguments come from RCN Telecom Services - the company that once offered to build a competing cable system in Philadelphia but was scared off by Comcast and city officials.

But in the SportsNet debate, the new star power pushing to close the loophole comes from another quarter: Verizon Communications.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not portraying Verizon as a white knight.

Verizon and the other descendants of the old AT&T monopoly have done all they can to ward off competitors, especially companies that want to piggyback on their local phone systems to deliver high-speed Internet service.

But ironically, in today's confusing telecom landscape, Verizon may suddenly be the best friend a disgruntled cable customer has.

To understand why, consider how our on-again, off-again system of regulation has basically left cable companies as unregulated monopolies, and allowed the price of standard service in many places to top $50 a month.

The latest deregulation came in 1996. Its goal was to free the market to do what it does best: stimulate investment and innovation, along with the discipline of competitive pricing.

Investment and innovation have come as promised. Cable has delivered a flow of new channels and technologies, including a high-speed link to the Internet. Even phone service.

On-again, off-again rules

But consumers have paid a price because, as a spur to competition, the '96 law was a bust. Consumers served by two cable companies enjoy prices averaging about 15 percent less than in noncompetitive markets. But only a tiny fraction have that choice.

That's where Verizon comes in. Until other new technologies come of age, its planned fiber-optic network will be alone in offering a cable-like bundle of services.

But to compete, Verizon needs access to SportsNet, and assurance that Comcast and other cable companies won't be able to use "must-have" local programming to lock customers into their cable services.

Comcast officials like to compare SportsNet to DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket, a package of out-of-town football games to which DirecTV has exclusive rights. But as any local sports fan will recognize, it's an apples-and-oranges comparison.

Personally, I'd prefer it if Comcast and Verizon had to offer me a path to the Internet, where I could buy their programming, and anything else, a la carte. Ultimately, that's what these technologies should promise.

But right now, the FCC may have enough leverage to close the SportsNet loophole. So if competition matters to you, it's time to speak up. (For instructions on how to comment, go to www.freepress.net.)


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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #69 on: August 30, 2005, 07:59:02 AM »

Quote
Feds Study Cable Sports as Companies Eye Adelphia Market
Bill McConnell
The Deal
08-23-2005


In early talks with competitors and public interest groups over plans by Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. to carve up Adelphia Communications Corp., federal regulators are trying to gauge whether control of popular regional sports networks will give the two cable giants too much power over the pay-television market.

The Federal Trade Commission recently has questioned executives at Comcast and Time Warner, as well as critics of the plan to split Adelphia between the two companies, on just how important regional sports networks are to luring subscribers. The agency is also examining whether Comcast's control of networks such as Comcast SportsNet Chicago and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic will hurt the competitiveness of rival satellite carriers DirecTV Group Inc. and Dish Network Inc., and of small cable "overbuilders," such as RCN Corp.

Comcast and Time Warner need both FTC and Federal Communications Commission approval to complete their $17.6 billion purchase of troubled Coudersport, Pa.-based Adelphia.

Andrew Schwartzman, president of public interest law firm Media Access Project, said he and consumer advocates met with FTC attorneys as they were gearing up for their review more than a month ago, noting that agency staff "asked more questions about this issue than anything else."

DirectTV, Dish Network and RCN all have asked regulators to require that Comcast submit any disputes over access to sports channels to arbitration by an outside mediator so that rivals have a chance of carrying networks at a fair price. There is already one precedent for such an arbitration requirement. As a condition of News Corp.'s acquisition of DirecTV in 2003, the FCC required that an arbitrator resolve any programming disputes between cable operators.

Regional sports networks are a critical component of any pay-TV provider because they typically have exclusive rights to a large slate of games played by local professional teams, a major enticement for subscribers. In Philadelphia, for instance, Comcast's network carries many of the games played by the local National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams.

In fact, the market power of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia is a key concern to rivals because the cable company has denied them any right to carry the channel by exploiting a loophole in a federal program access law. The loophole exempts cable companies from sharing any programming transmitted to local cable operators over land-based lines rather than through satellite feeds.

In previous rulings the FCC has said this practice may hurt competition, but the statue prevents it from closing the loophole industrywide. In a merger review, however, either the FCC or the FTC could forbid parties to the deal from using the loophole as a condition for regulatory approval.

"The FCC has already suggested that exclusive local sports deals with cable are not in public interest," said Paul Gallant, analyst with Stanford Washington Research Group, and a former FCC attorney. "Sports is must-have programming for cable sand satellite operators, so I have to think are looking very closely at that issue in this merger."

Comcast insists that there's no reason to impose the same conditions imposed on News Corp.'s purchase of DirecTV on the Adelphia deal.

"The transactions are vastly different from News Corp.'s acquisition over DirecTV," attorneys for the three merging companies said in a filing with the FCC. In the case of News Corp and DirecTV, the deal created an entirely new vertical industry relationship between the country's largest satellite TV provider and the leading owner of regional sports networks. The Adelphia deal, by contrast, causes "little change in ownership levels at the national level and no material vertical effects," the companies argued.
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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #70 on: August 30, 2005, 08:15:02 AM »

I don't think Comcast SportsNet vs. NFL Sunday Ticket is "apples to oranges".  Each service has something exclusive you can't get from any other television provider.  If true competition were enforced, that wouldn't be the case.
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SD_Eagle5

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #71 on: September 06, 2005, 06:52:44 PM »

Scott Stevens retires  >:D

He's probably my all-time most hated player, but I have to give credit where it's due, he was a great hockey player who played the game the way it should be.
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MDS

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #72 on: September 06, 2005, 07:44:34 PM »

Eric asked Carl if it was okay to be happy about Scott retiring. Carl said it was. Eric is happy.
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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #73 on: September 06, 2005, 08:06:35 PM »

Not sure if this is the right place to post this (or the Fantasy forum), but I'm playing in a hockey fantasy league this Fall for the first time, and the draft is this Saturday. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where there is good information (hopefully, free) for Fantasy Hockey? Having played FFL for years, I know of all of the better FFL sites...but, know nothing of where to get NHL player ratings, info, etc., especially since many players have changed teams this year.

Thanks!
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Seabiscuit36

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Re: The Rest of the NHL
« Reply #74 on: September 07, 2005, 07:56:00 AM »

I have to tell you its really involved because there are so many games to worry about.  I played 3 years ago and ended up just getting a Hockey Fantasy magazine and like FFL went with who i thought was appropriate.  Just go to your local newstand is your best bet. 

In other NHL news NHL 2006 comes out today one week ahead of schedule.  My buddy went to gamestop yesterday to pick it up and they said you may want to preorder it because they havent seen a demand like this for Hockey ever in they're stores. 
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"For all the civic slurs, for all the unsavory things said of the Philadelphia fans, also say this: They could teach loyalty to a dog. Their capacity for pain is without limit." -Bill Lyons
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