This is kind of sad, but not surprising: The All-Star game looks like it’ll be on ESPN next season, rather than broadcast on ABC. It’s just more proof the NHL isn’t popular here in the states. Rudy Martzke at USA Today also says ESPN’s new TV deal with the league is expected to be halved, moving from $120 million to $60 – $70 million. I’m assuming the two deals are of comparable length.
That’s a huge hit for the league. I’ve also heard rumors that the Finals won’t be broadcast over ABC, either. While hockey obviously isn’t a big draw, ABC never really gave it a decent shot. They only show a couple of afternoon games each season, hardly prime sports viewing time. Then, when the Finals roll around, casual fans have no idea what the sport is. A couple of primetime regular season games might help score some fans. In theory, anyway.