Monday, January 12, 2009

Capping Off the Minor Comeback...

Checking my blogs right after posting, I found this amazing article at the New York Times' Hockey Blog, Slap Shot.

Stu Hackel has posted a fantastic piece centering on the Phoenix Coyotes mess. It is a nice compilation of all the reported news of the past 2 months, along with a look back at financial troubles of past teams in a similar position like the Coyotes. It also digs a little deeper into some of the decisions Coyotes' heads have made over the past decade or so.

How Did the Coyotes Mess Happen? - By Stu Hackel

My favorite part of the article:
“Historically, the Coyotes are a symptom, not the disease,” Brunt writes. “They exist in their current straits because of the N.H.L.’s rose-coloured aspirations to conquer America, aspirations that had been kicked around for decades but really took flight after Gretzky was sold to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988 and set off hockey mania in Southern California. The Phoenix franchise shifted from Winnipeg because the league had in theory outgrown that city and the market. The question of solid, grassroots hockey interest was beside the point; the sport packaged properly, the conceit was that the league could sell it to anyone.”
A great way to put it.

Finally, great news about the NHL Network today from Sports Business Journal.
NHL Network is about to announce a distribution deal with AT&T’s U-Verse system, a small agreement that will see the league-owned channel add about 250,000 homes to its distribution platform.

The deal, which pushes the network closer to the 12.2 million-home distribution mark, could be a good omen as the channel tries to double its distribution and complete a relaunch by next fall.

Oh, but there is so much more:
“Our plans call for us to be in 30 million homes by the start of next season,” said NHL COO John Collins.
How to do all this?
Now, league executives will try to increase distribution by convincing cable and satellite providers to move the channel from sports tiers to better distributed digital tiers. To entice the distributors, the network is offering an equity stake in the channel, Collins said.
Yee Haw! Now so I don't get myself into any more quoting trouble, I'll do a quick summary. The Network will be launching Eight (Yes, 8) new shows over the summer, which range from talk shows to replaying classics. It is also adding programs with new deals involving CBC, USA Hockey, and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.


Along with this, a new studio that should be ready by mid-September for the Network re-launch. Looks like Puck The Media's message got to them.

I'm officially looking into ordering the NHL Network if this happens.

Have a good night, and I hope I can be around more.

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